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nov em ber 19 , 2 013

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decibel every tuesday in pulp

illustration by andy casadonte | art director

Monster mash By Elaina Crockett

R

Staff Writer

ejoice, little monsters, for the Mother is back. After taking a short hiatus while recovering from hip surgery and canceling part of her Born This Way Ball tour, Lady Gaga’s newest album “Artpop” is quickly heading toward the No. 1 spot. “Artpop,” the third studio album from the self-proclaimed Fame Monster, is a culmination of electronic, synth and techno with bits of rhythm and blues and acoustic. She bridges the gap between fine art and music, creating a special experience for fans. The album cover, created by pop artist Jeff Koons, shows a naked Gaga giving birth to a blue sphere, perhaps signifying Earth. In the background is a half-hidden collage of classic artwork, including Sandro Botticelli’s famous piece, “The Birth of Venus.” Her fist single off the album, “Applause,” received mixed reviews. As the album’s closing song, it is among the strongest. Gaga is noticeably having fun in the song, including witty lyrics like “pop culture was in art, now art’s in pop culture in me.” The song is about Gaga’s relationship with her fans and the adoration she receives from them. The music video is equally artistic,

switching between shots of Gaga with a painted face and her in an elaborate dance sequence filmed in black and white. Earlier in the album, she includes an unexpected collaboration with R. Kelly in “Do What U Want.” It is a nice change from the predominantly electronic album. Gaga goes in a more R&B direction while still maintaining her eccentric charm. She recently received criticism for her suggestive performance on Saturday Night Live, where she danced with R. Kelly to the song. Although it was a nice effort, it’s still pretty strange to see Gaga trying to cross over into different genres. A more puzzling track on the album, “Mary Jane Holland,” is a riddle I can’t quite solve. Well, I know what it’s about — Rick James wasn’t the only singer to personify narcotics in his 1978 hit “Mary Jane.” But what is so fantastic about this song is its rhythm. It’s seemingly just as addictive as a drug, and maybe that’s the point. Is Gaga talking about using drugs in Holland? She does reference Amsterdam quite a few times. Actually, “Dope,” another song on her album, references drug use, too. This year, the singer opened up about her drug addiction, saying she used to smoke 15-20 marijuana cigarettes a day, “without tobacco.” Whatever the true meaning is behind the

Lady Gaga successfully bridges art, pop music in eccentric album

song, it’s still good. “Aura” makes the listener uncomfortable, but in the most appealing way. She sings, “I killed my former and left her in the trunk in Highway 10, put the knife under the hood, if you find it, send it straight to Hollywood.” The song then goes into a Southwestern guitar beat with Gaga maniacally laughing over the track. But once you get past the creepy first minute, the song itself is very good. This is the best her voice has ever sounded. And even with the obvious manipulation of her voice for this particular song, her raw talent shines through. Released on iTunes in October as the first promotional single from the album, “Venus” deserves radio play. The song is outer worldly. In it, Gaga harmonizes vocals with herself with precision, and the song is on par with her other greatest hits, including “Born this Way” and “Bad Romance.” The album itself is very fun. It’s the word I keep coming back to because it is so obvious Gaga is truly enjoying what she does. For the most part, the album doesn’t venture too far from its genre, which usually is a pet peeve of mine, as it’s always nice to have some variety in albums. But every song is intentional. “Artpop” successfully takes the listener on a visual, as well as a musical, journey. On Twitter, Gaga exclaimed this album will

be deemed “the album of the millennium.” She might be right. ekcrocke@syr.edu

In sync

If you like this album, check out these tracks: 1. “Sexodus” by M.I.A. 2. “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn 3. “4 Minutes” by Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake 4. “Desnudate” by Christina Aguilera 5. “The State of Dreaming” by Marina and the Diamonds

Release date: Nov. 11 Top tracks:

“Applause,” “Venus,” “Do What U Want”

lady gaga “Artpop”

Interscope Records

Rating:

5/5

November 19, 2013  

November 19, 2013

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