Unless you've been living under a hermetically-sealed, pop-free rock for the last year or so, you've probably heard about Lady Gaga's new album ARTPOP.
The LP fought criticism, haters, lost followers, misunderstandings, lack of faith and trust, much like the artist herself. It went through hard times, white-knuckled in the moments, and yet, stands tall as one of the most avant-garde, experimental, artistic and needed records of this day and age.
A really large number of artists nowadays don't really have fun and grow while they do their thing. While they craft their art, and that is plainly wrong.
Paintings are painted for the sake of painting them, songs are put out there and it doesn't even matter if someone really listens to them, buildings are built for no real reason, and art has lost this quality of being the bridge where body and mind meet halfway. It's either completely body or intrinsically mind. What stands out the most about ARTPOP is that even at its "weakest" this quality is still there.
One of the really grand qualities about Gaga is how everything she does has this large rainbow of emotion and meaning poured on to it. In the title track, Gaga sings: My ARTPOP could mean anything, and that is really the magic behind the album, and her career and persona as a whole. She really isn't a character or an icon, she's an actress, and can swap between masks with a flick of the wrist. Some of them may not appeal to a part of her audience, but you have to realize it is thanks to that she remains heartfelt and believable. Singing about desire, either sexual or metaphorical, a craving in her artistry, drugs as a leitmotif, the gypsy life, the pain that comes with love, fashion, art and society as a symbiote... It's just part of the play.
Forbes had some interesting thoughts on the matter, especially regarding her merchandising strategies:
So which is it, art exhibition or over-the-top merch booth? It’s both, and that’s the whole point. Gaga’s entire ARTPOP album is largely an effort to reconcile art and commerce. Just about any time an artist starts out edgy and becomes phenomenally successful from a financial perspective, the are-you-selling-out questions begin.
Lady Gaga may be perceived as "overly-ambitious", "delusional" or "haughty", but the world needs more artists who openly pursue what they want and how they want their world to be, who have no fear of rising higher than ever before and falling so much further. Who can both create whole new personas to adapt themselves to the world or just sit in a bench with a piano, take the weaves and glamour off, and cry -- but not without belting out a magnificent song while doing so.
All singles off ARTPOP so far, even the promo ones, have gained critical and public acclaim, topping charts all across the world and breaking schematics wherever they land. The album itself sits on top of both tabloids and charts as you read this, and for an album that saw an artist falling and rising from the ashes of her previous life during the past two years, this is just fantastic. The best review for ARTPOP would just say: Check it out and make the choice for yourself of either loving it or hating it. That's what Gaga, or any actual artist, would really want.
"Pop culture was in art/Now art's in pop culture, in me."
JEWELS 'N DRUGS feat. T.I., TOO SHORT + TWISTA
DO WHAT U WANT feat. R. KELLY
MARY JANE HOLLAND
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