I love me a good Lady Gaga song or even an album. Her last album, Born This Way, was a great album that was stuck in the CD player of my car for a very long time. I was excited to see that Gaga was releasing another album, Artpop. The first single, Applause, wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t like it at all. I thought it was just a corny, stupid song with a well-produced beat and nothing more. Then the song began growing on me. After multiple plays on the radio I started to like it. However, despite my liking of Applause, the entire album of Artpop is a major disappointment and an utter failure on Gaga’s end.
I don’t know how to tackle this review fairly since I have so much disdain for the project. I see where she was trying to go with the project, an Italian Renaissance-inspired form of music. She was on the right track. Each song, mainly the first four songs, ooze Italian Renaissance and Greek/Roman mythology to the point where it becomes a concept. The cover alludes to the infamous Venus painting by Botticelli. But Artpop doesn’t feel natural; the concept of the album feels contrived.
Jewels n’ Drugs, a song which features Twista, T.I., and Too $hort, has the headbanging, turn-the-bass-up-loud-in-my-car tempo and for the most part the song works. Manicure feels like song cut from Born This Way. By far the best song on the album is Do What U Want with R. Kelly. The song clicks and just works on every level. Say what you want about R. Kelly (purely coincidental) but he is a fantastic singer. Pairing him up with Lady Gaga is just the right amount of weird between the two as Gaga is as eccentric as a character from Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet series.
Every song after Do What U Want is just stale and flat. The beats on every song are something that leaked from an unwanted 1999 techno album. I don’t like it. However, Gaga has showed us in the past that she could sing her heart out and I very well believe she’s one of the better singers out now. However, this isn’t the right project for her to do.
I mentioned Applause before and how it had to grow on me. It’s the very last track on the standard edition, making it a self-congratulatory cheer instead of a song about empowerment. Simply put, Applause is her congratulating herself about how much of a wonderful album she put together. That took me out of the album and made me not like it even more. The song would work if the album, as a whole, is fantastic. However, Artpop is nothing more than the sum of its parts.