Electro Pop | Dance Pop
Pop star and LGBTQ+ icon Lady Gaga is well and truly back on her sixth studio album Chromatica.
My recognition and enjoyment of Lady Gaga can be traced back to her very first album, that being 2008’s The Fame. That debut did an excellent job of spring-boarding Gaga’s signature sound right into our eardrums.
However, her level of inspiration and spreading of positive energy really began to flesh out with her sophomore masterpiece Born This Way. This album had a great deal of importance, and I can safely say that it has changed the lives of some of those close to me for the better. Furthermore, this album served as a well-needed rallying cry for the LGBTQ+ community, and to this day has possibly become the biggest contributor to why she has become such a symbol of positivity for queer listeners.
in the time between then and now, we had a much more “experimental” period of Gaga projects. Of course, we had Artpop, a very solid successor and carrier of the upbeat Gaga style, but also one of the last to do so before Lady Gaga started playing around with different sounds, which included her collaboration with Tony Bennet on the classical jazz album Cheek To Cheek, along with her take on country pop with her previous studio album Joanne.
I would need to address that I simply found the last two studio efforts to just feel a little out of the blue, and was left longing for what I felt Gaga did best, which was her uncompromising, dynamic and colourful take on electro pop which just filled the listener with a euphoric sense of joyful energy.
So with that being said, it was delightfully refreshing to see that with Chromatica, that sense of “joyful energy” not only returns, but commands every corner of the album.
Starting off with the things I loved most about Chromatica; one of the most obvious would be the level of energy, along with its consistency through the record. This may well and truly be one of the most upbeat Gaga albums across the board, and given her discography in full (especially in the earlier years), that in itself is a grand thing to achieve.
While the musical style can be described as one of club-ready dance pop (that is on the verge of sounding like something from an EDM project), the visual motif of this album cycle is something that I commend as well. The visual material, photos, graphic design and outfits all seem to pint towards some kind of dystopian, Mad Max-esque kind of aesthetic. And by combining this with the musical style of Chromatica, I believe that this album absolutely excels in feeling futuristic.
I also enjoyed how this album is essentially split into three segments, with the help of the instrumental interludes (“Chromatica I”, “Chromatica II”, and “Chromatica III”), and I feel that this gives the album a good sense of structure. I wasn’t sure whether this was intentional or not, but I also loved how each of these “segments” carried one single which included a featured artist on each. These tracks especially really commanded my attention (particularly “Rain On Me” with Ariana Grande and “Sour Candy” with K-Pop band BLACKPINK, which both came out as teasers shortly before the albums full release).
And while I’m on the subject of teaser tracks, the teasing cycle of this album is most certainly in need of mention. Back in March, “Stupid Love” stood as the only teaser track for Chromatica until a week prior to the albums release. And as a teaser track, I think it did brilliantly to pretty much just say to listeners “she is BACK!”; it was straight-forward in the structural aspect of it sound, and really carried that feel of “classic” Gaga (jeez, I feel old).
Shortly after this, we had the unfortunate postponement for the release of Chromatica (which was originally supposed to release in mid April). The reasoning behind this was of course the results of the pandemic, and the fact that this album could not be fully celebrated. Given that many are still abiding by lockdown regulations (or at least should be), I was surprised, but not by any means complaining that it had only been postponed by just over a month.
Given just how party-ready and celebrative this albums sound is, Chromatica is one that I really want to savour leading up to the moment that we can hear it more publicly. But I’m certain that when that time comes, it will renew and refine my enjoyment towards this album even more.
And while yes, this album was indeed very enjoyable, there are a very few number of nitpicks, which lie mostly in the albums writing. While some of Gaga’s lyrics do the authentic Gaga feel a good deal of justice on the album, I was still left feeling that in some cases, the lyrical aspect of Chromatica give it an almost karaoke-like quality. It barely detracts from the experience at-all, but it still left me feeling that the songwriting could’ve been slightly less on-the-nose.
Nevertheless, Chromatica has proven to be one of the most joyful musical experiences of 2020 for me. It’s level of energy was needed more than ever, and Gaga undoubtedly delivered on that front. But as I say, I am giddy with anticipation towards the divine moment when Chromatica can be fully celebrated together, because trust me; it will.
Favourite Tracks: Rain On Me | Enigma | Babylon
Least Favourite Track: Fun Tonight