November 7, 2013

Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP' - What you need to know
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP' - What you need to know

Back with album number 3 and her first since 2011’s Born This Way, pop’s most outrageous dresser returns to wreak her particular brand of audio havoc once more.
Here’s the rundown.

ARTPOP has been in gestation since just after the release of her last LP, and the singer has been busy, with something like 50 songs being considered for inclusion on the new record. Some two years later and following a period of rest earlier this year while the singer recovered from a hip operation, the new album has been distilled down to 15 tracks in all.

Who’s manning the controls?

The majority of ARTPOP is co-produced by Gaga herself with either Zedd or DJ White Shadow, although there are some other guest writers and producers featuring on the record. Teenage house music sensation Madeon contributes 3 tracks to the album, while there are also stints at the mixing desk from David Guetta, will.i.am and even Def Jam legend Rick Rubin.

There are also a couple of guest appearances in the form of R. Kelly on ‘Do What U Want’, plus T.I., Too Short and Twista, all of whom appear on ‘Jewels N’ Drugs’. Sun Ra is also credited on ‘Venus’.

ARTPOP
ARTPOP Lady GaGa

What are the standout tracks?

Opening track ‘Aura’ sets the scene, featuring a truly insane guitar riff that sounds like surfer rock performed by Bedouin busker, followed immediately by ‘Venus’, the first of the Madeon-produced tracks, with its squelching synth bass and baffling lyrics.

‘Jewels N’ Drugs’ sends the album hurtling into west coast hip-hop territory, while ‘Do What U Want’ sounds influenced by the kind of 80s electro that has seen a bit of a resurgence recently via artists like Kavinsky and Tesla Boy.

‘Swine’ is destined to be a dancefloor-filler and again you can hear the ‘French touch’ influence on this record, then there’s ‘Fashion’ – imagine Madonna meets David Bowie with David Guetta at the controls and you’re in the ballpark.

‘Dope’ is a shift downward in pace, a piano-led ballad produced by Rubin – not what you would perhaps expect from someone who has worked with RUN DMC and the Beastie Boys, but there we have it.

Does it deliver?

Hardcore fans will probably love the record and it does definitely have its moments – particularly the Madeon and White Shadow-produced numbers – but does also feel a bit underwhelming at times, especially in the lyrics department. Musically though, it’s as varied and adventurous as you would expect from Lady Gaga. Somehow it feels like a bit of a plateau rather than a progression, but there’s plenty to enjoy here from a unique artist who is a one-off in the best possible sense.

 

ARTPOP is released on November 11 - available for pre-order now

Lady Gaga - Applause (Official)

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