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Reviews | Claws Up: About ARTPOP’s Legacy

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There is something unmistakably iconic about Lady Gaga.

Beginning her career in 2008, Stefani’s alter ego, Joanne Angelina Germanotta, came to life with the smash “The Fame,” her debut album that not only broke countless records, but placed a singer-songwriter. 22-year-old in the center of the spotlight with a stylistic and phonographic perception that diverges from the usual pop we were used to. A little over a year later, Gaga would plunge into her Imperial era, with the bombastic kick of “The Fame Monster” (and singles like “Alejandro”, “Bad Romance” and “Telephone”) and s’ extending until the beginning of 2013 with the fruits harvested. of ‘Born This Way’ (one of the best albums of all time).

But what happens after you reach the top? Well, normally the answer to this question is the fall. And with the release of ‘ARTPOP’ in November seven years ago, not only the media, but fans too, would fall to death on an artist who dared to escape comfort and think ‘outside the box’, extending her art to territories not yet explored and that would go against what had already been presented to us. Of course, Lady Gaga’s infamous third compilation of originals is far from unknown or fallen in the ruins of her attempts at revitalization – in fact, few people have even heard of her name. Almost a decade later (and basically every time it completes another cycle), ‘ARTPOP’ is coming back to people’s mouths like it’s never gone.

The explanation is quite simple, honestly: the album is considered, wrongly and through, as a stain on the career of the interpreter – either because it was massacred by the specialized critics at the time of its release, or because it did not achieve the commercial success it promised (selling nearly five times less than its predecessor, despite reaching number one on the Billboard charts). Condemned for its explicit content, its constant apology for drugs and for the knowledge of the body itself – and even for an overly passionate and metaphorical lyricism which made the verses “incomprehensible” – the CD was unfairly abandoned to be recognized by years later, with a legacy that shows its face to this day (especially considering the resurgence of musicians in EDM and 80s synth-pop in 2020, like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd) .

‘Lady Gaga is Dead’ with her ‘Disappointing Album’ were the headlines that made headlines around the world in 2013 – perhaps because most critics didn’t imagine Gaga would go this far to search for an identity. unique. After all, she had already suffered ridiculous accusations of plagiarism with “Born This Way” and even a boycott of the church for the widespread use of Catholic mythology in “Alejandro” and “Judas” (the latter being voluntarily released on Good Friday). Expecting the obvious from the most interesting and daring artist of the century was to expect snakes to grow wings – and ‘ARTPOP’ came to prove her genius, placing her as a creative, inspiring director. which would later be revered as a conditioner. classic styles between 1970 and 1990.

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Gaga has always been criticized by the media – and perhaps her intersecting responses and social conscience, which also made her the biggest LGBTQ + icon today, allowed reporters and celebrities to judge her for her extravagant clothing, the poignant character of the musical verses and the impactful sound tales that promote “the embrace of being”. In 2013, she went further: continued to invest in hymns of self-acceptance and empowerment through subjects considered taboo by an overly conservative society that did not allow women to speak openly about their desires. and their fetishes. “When I’m lying down I masturbate and think about you” (When I’m lying down, I touch myself and I think about you) is the phrase that sums up everything Gaga has afforded herself the luxury of saying, enduring retaliation or not: the intoxicated sensuality of “Sexxx Dreams”, the intimate viscerality of “Aura” and the narcotic power of “Dope” are reflections of an artist who found the truth and found herself with her own voice .

Either way, ‘ARTPOP’ ran into issues along the way – and those hurdles contributed to the album and the era itself not being treated with the caution they deserved. On the one hand, there was an artistic boycott of the production company; on the other, a questionable collaboration with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want” (not in terms of design or outcome, but after allegations of abuse against the rapper which forced Gaga to remove the track from the artwork). Not to mention the many promises never kept by the artist, including a necessary continuation with discarded tracks that would complement this synaesthetic journey in an incredible and flawless way (“Brooklyn Nights” remains a fan favorite and is even presented by the artist in some shows).

The musical iteration gained cult status and embraced a legion of fans who once destroyed the work of someone who was just looking for a new side of their passionate personality. Unlike previous forays, Gaga launched headlong into the deconstruction of the frozen image in the previous decade, as did Andy Warhol and Sun Ra (who serve as a benchmark for the aesthetic architecture in question). The critical positivism of “Applause” and abandonment to the mainstream culture with “Donatella” and “Fashion! breaks down into other pieces, like the futuristic “Venus” and the dreamlike title.

The performer may have created monstrous expectations by posting on her Twitter that the Millennium Album was coming – but I don’t blame her: listeners were expecting something completely different from what was released and , falling into premeditated frustration, they may have missed the concept behind the raw method of “Swine” and “Mary Jane Holland”. The album is a revolution, like it or not: Lady Gaga has come to the end of a cycle and has opened the doors to a multifaceted future which, as she herself announces, “could be anything”.

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