In 2008-2010, the world saw the rise of Lady Gaga. She was one of the most creative pop stars in years. Then, with the release of "Born This Way" in 2011, things started to crash down. The album itself was good, but cheapened when Lady Gaga reduced the price to 99 cents in order to get it to the top of the charts.
Soon, we saw Lady Gaga exploit gay people in order to boost her dismal album sales. She then started the "Born This Way Ball" tour, which played to acres of empty seats at many venues. When North American venues looked like empty war zones, she canceled the tour and claimed it was due to hip surgery.
On Saturday morning, Lady Gaga's ARTPOP leaked in full. Low quality files first came out, then were replaced by high quality files. We heard the full high quality album and suggest you refrain from the punishment of listening to album, which could have been decent if it didn't try so hard to be avant-garde.
The album opens up with "Aura," a track that not only sounds just like "Judas," a previous Gaga track, but also insults Muslim women and mocks their faith by trying to sexualize them. The song sounds like it was recorded during one of Gaga's famous drug binges. The shockingly bad album then leads to "Venus," a track that reductively recalls Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach." The spacy, rocky song could have been fun if Lady Gaga didn't over-sing the versus so much. Now, she's copying Christina Aguilera.
"G.U.Y. is a reductive version of "Paparazzi." It's not a bad song, but it doesn't offer anything new to the table. Speaking of reductive (again), "Sex Dreams" tries to blend Madonna, The Divinyls, and Prince into one song and desperately fails. You can throw a little Janet Jackson in there as well. Perhaps those who never listened to music made before 1990 won't notice the difference. If you are still excited about reductiveness, listen to the track "Fashion," which copies it's bass line from the Madonna (again!) hit "Holiday."
In order to add relevance to her fading star, Lady Gaga hired rent-a-rappers T.I. and Twista to help with "Jewels and Drugs," a song that sounds like it was written in about five minutes. It's one of the few songs on the album where Lady Gaga doesn't try to sound like Christina Aguilera. First, she desperately tries to sound like she's cool and down with the ghetto culture. She does this all while mimicking Cyndi Lauper. I know this sounds like a train wreck that you want to listen to, but please save your ears from falling off.
"Do What You Want" with R. Kelly is one of the better cuts on the album. Once again, however, Gaga cheapened the song by giving several thousand copies of the song away for free to people who pre-ordered the album. Even though this is a practice that is not unique to just Lady Gaga, the song should have been allowed to chart on its own merits.
"Swine," a song aimed at Gaga's former best friend Perez Hilton, sounds all over the place. "I know I know you want me/You're just a pig inside a human body," she desperately sings without the irony that would have made this song more enjoyable. She does sing with irony on payola song "Applause," which works more as a Lady Gaga parody than a lady Gaga hit song.
The one song on ARTPOP that sounds like a legitimate effort is "Gypsy," which starts off like one of Lady Gaga's best songs "You and I." It soon leads into an electronic frenzy that could be enjoyable if you hadn't heard the other songs first. She should have made it one of the first cuts on the track list.
As it stand, "ARTPOP" is one of the biggest musical disasters from a major artist in pop music history. Think Michael Jackson's "Invincible," Madonna's "American Life," or Prince's "Lovesexy," multiplied by three in the bad factor. Even though "Born This Way" found Lady Gaga taking herself way too seriously, the good music at least hid some of her flaws. ARTPOP could very well be the end of Gaga's musical career.
Lady Gaga has been described by some as a walking and drug-induced ticking suicide bomb that is about to explode. We hope that isn't true. However, as other drug addicts have indicated, they had to hit an all-time low before rising to the top again. Let's hope Lady Gaga gets the help she needs and can, once again, deliver a brilliant pop album.