Lady Gaga - ARTPOP

ARTPOP... We wanted to spend the entire article calling it FARTPOP but that's too childish even for us

Review: Lady Gaga – ARTPOP

Published on November 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

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In titling her third album ARTPOP, Lady Gaga has really made a statement. That statement is: “I have absolutely no self-awareness whatsoever.”

At a time when Lou Reed‘s passing has the world digging out his records and remembering just how thrilling pop music can be when its boundaries are explored and recast, Lady Gaga has some front to be conferring artistic importance on her own glossy ‘n’ glitzy wares.

There’s some decent enough production on one or two of the tracks – blimey, is that Infected Mushroom’s name we see in the credits? – so ARTPOP is a rung or two above fellow “do a song about how shallow the industry is and call it commentary” merchants such as Marina and the Diamonds.

Ultimately, though, any pros are resoundingly countered by the inexorable con (in more than one sense) that is Lady Gaga’s painstakingly constructed, savagely uninspiring persona.

Lady Gaga is an all-too-easy subject of ire for the likes of us: let’s just acknowledge that right here and now, so you can be in no doubt that we’re not trying to be clever by taking potshots.

These days, the clever thing to do is to embrace manufactured pop music as a separate commodity and critique it with almost ironically drawn-up criteria, like Kitty Empire does for The Guardian.

That would be the clever thing to do. It would show how open-minded and unjudgemental we are, how we don’t get sniffy about simple pleasures, how attentive we are to the subjectivity of musical reception in all its mysterious forms.

And then we would review a Big Mac. Cheese stuck to the box a bit this time, but more lettuce than the last one: three quails out of five!

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of experimentation and innovation, we toyed with a new format by reviewing ARTPOP live on Twitter. Here’s what we said, interspersed by some subsequently inserted ‘bonus’ commentary:

Definitely art. Undeniably art. Naked lady always = art, that’s been in effect for centuries. Naked man = indecent exposure charge, naked woman = art. T’was ever thus, we don’t make the rules.

Yeeeeaaaahhhh! Meat! Coat! Meat! Coat! Or was it a meat dress?

(*Googles it*) It was a dress…

Euch. So, how about that music?

You can just hear one of the producers suggesting the “Gangnam Style” breakdown and Lady Gaga being all like “yeah, that’s totes postmodern”, in such lackadaisically hipsterish fashion as to justify our use of “being all like” and hers off “totes”.

‘Le petit mort’, you see, is French for ‘orgasm’ and translates literally as ‘little death’. In referencing this, Lady Gaga makes herself look dead clever and edgy in the eyes of 12-year-olds.

That’s a great song, the Divinyls one. Can we review that instead? Aw, okay then.

Upon reflection, that’s harsh. There are chipmunkier-sounding singers out there, like Ellie Goulding.

The guy on the other end had such an austere speaking manner that his imagined concern for Rocksucker’s ears and brain really did shine through.

It’s so bad that you’ll have to reassess your parameters and go back through everything you’d previously thought to be bad, working out whether those things now qualify as good. Jedward, good. Animal taking a dump in your shoes, good. Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly, bad.

The industrial strength gaffer tape is of course for binding purposes, but also because everything sounds funnier when you bring industrial strength gaffer tape into the equation.

Disclaimer: we do not actually harbour any intention to throw Lady Gaga off a bridge. Not unless the opportunity was presented to us with the promise of impunity.

Come to think of it, those are three ace mid-’90s Euro-pop hits right there, so The Real McCoy knock Lady Gaga into a cocked hat.

Or something like that, anyway. Bacon flowers in her hair.

The art of deception, perhaps?

Woah…it’s SATIRE! We take back everything we said.

Avoid Marina and the Diamonds at all costs.

“Dope” is painfully bad. Like a Phoebe Buffay B-side.

This was fun. Maybe we’ll review more albums this way. Shame the music had to be such an indictment on the human race/planet Earth, but you can’t win ’em all.

And, in a week that sees the release of ‘greatest hits’ compilations from both Keane and The Killers, Lady Gaga might just pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and be credited with a true artistic statement.

Overall, ARTPOP is the perfect Christmas present for someone you hate.

ARTPOP is out now on Interscope Records.

BUY: ARTPOP on iTunes or on Amazon.

Rocksucker says: One and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quailhalf a quail

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.