Review: Lady Gaga - ARTPOP
The opening tracks ‘Aura’ and ‘Venus’ offer a thousand different ideas in less than eight minutes. This isn’t the product of an over-active imagination, it’s the product of desperation. Lady Gaga throws everything she possibly can into the mix; not stopping to think for a moment about what made her debut such a daring proposition.
But then, where the hell do you turn next when you’ve had your whole look and sound co-opted, dissected and disseminated so utterly throughout the whole of pop culture?
Do you shy away from the spotlight and become a hermit? Do you strip everything back and release an acoustic album? Do you turn 180 degrees and attempt an epic doom-metal album? Or do you go full on ultra-weird and set fire to a barn while shrieking Pam Ayres poetry at the face of a startled hen?
On ARTPOP, Lady Gaga tries none of those things. Not even the hen thing. Instead she offers a watered down approximation of her previous records with little of her obvious song-writing talent. ARTPOP's biggest crime is its inexcusable dullness.
‘Donatella’ has to be the stupidest song ever recorded about the fashion industry. What sounds at first like a damning indictment, actually masks a thinly veiled personal attack on the woman behind Versace. This is immediately followed by ‘Fashion!’, the most boring song ever recorded about the fashion industry. ‘Swine’ has what sounds like Skrillex doing some lacklustre drilling in the background. Perhaps Gaga needed some shelves putting up. Perhaps Gaga doesn't pay very much for rudimentary DIY.
‘Do What U Want’ opens with the same mechanical synth that The Chromatics made their own, than thrusts R. Kelly upon you as if R Kelly can’t do enough thrusting upon you on his own. Lady Gaga implores “Do what you want with my body”. Hopefully R. Kelly will spend so long drafting his blueprint of depravity that when he’s done, it’ll be time to go home.
‘Sexxx Dreams’ has the same whincingly infantile idea about sexuality as George Michael’s ‘I Want Your Sex’ did twenty years ago. Unfortunately it’s also the only track with any kind of a hook.
Everything just sounds so bloody samey on ARTPOP. I expected to feel many things listening to a new Lady Gaga album. Surprise. Revulsion. Amusement. I didn’t expect to feel boredom.