Lady Gaga's ARTPOP: Genius or Thrown Together?

The old Gaga is back.
The old Gaga is back.

By Christine Puza
When Lady Gaga made her debut in 2008 with top charting hits “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” off of her album The Fame, her elaborate appearance and catchy songs caught the world’s eye. Her sophomore album, “The Fame Monster”, featuring hits “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro” guaranteed her a seat in the spotlight as one of the biggest pop stars of our generation. Three years later her album, “Born This Way” veered away from the fun dance music that everybody fell in love with. “ARTPOP”, released on December 3rd, seemed to go back to Gaga’s old roots: songs about sex, partying, and drugs. According to reviews, it was a bad musical choice.
Despite what reviews may say, it is true that “ARTPOP” feels more like the Gaga we all fell in love with years ago. Every song on the album sounds like a radio hit; including “Applause” and “Do What U Want,” which have already swarmed stations all over America. Some are criticizing Gaga by saying the album simply sounds like sloppily matched beats accompanied by raunchy lyrics, making all of her songs feel desperate and rushed. Some are saying her career is plummeting. Despite the negativity, there is no argument surrounding Gaga’s musical talent.
The transition from “Born This Way” to “ARTPOP” was definitely a drastic one. “Born This Way” was a very political album of Gaga’s. She has said how much the album means to her as an artist. Says Gaga,”When you listen to it, it really flows nicely. It’s really fun to pop in with your friends. I really wrote it for me and my friends to pop in from start to finish.” The public, on the other hand, wasn’t as obsessed. Commercially, ARTPOP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 258,000 copies sold in its first week, yet sales of the album dropped 82% in the next week. Is this the reason that Gaga returned to her old ways with her new album? It’s possible. If that is the case, it’s unfortunate considering that the album hardly caused uproar from fans.
I must admit, when I first popped her new CD into my stereo, I loved it. “Aura” and “Venus” are the first two tracks; right away Gaga asks the world “do you want to see me naked, lover?” The rest of the songs followed suit. Although the songs are full of empty lyrics, there is no denying how catchy they are. At least that’s what I thought until I heard her song “SEXXX Dreams.” The song honestly gave me a headache. I understood what critics meant when they were claiming the songs were simply “mismatched beats with raunchy lyrics.” It seemed very unlike Gaga to release such a sloppy track.
Not to mention her song “Jewels and Drugs” featuring T.I., Twista, and Too Short which seemed so out of place it was almost uncomfortable to listen to. I felt like the Gaga I knew and loved was selling out. But, again, the song is really catchy.
If it weren’t for “Born This Way”, I would probably have ended my obsession with Lady Gaga at this point. I don’t blame her for releasing an album like “ARTPOP”; after all, she’s in the industry to make the general public happy. It was clear that her hits about gay rights and the government failed to make it big with listeners. It only makes sense that she’d try to give her fans what they want.
I hate to criticize an artist who I truly love, but I feel that Lady Gaga can do better than this. We can only hope that she can redeem herself with her next album. Being such a strong and opinionated singer, “ARTPOP” just seems like a waste of talent. Why move backward when you can move forward?