Lady Gaga's highly anticipated third album, what she described as "a reverse Warholian expedition", ARTPOP was finally released early last week and was introduced to the world in all its glory, living up to its title through artRAVE, an exclusive art-music event to party its release.
Upon the cover, designed by Gaga's favourite, Jeff Koons, is some large blue orb sitting encircled by a naked Gaga's legs who is sitting behind it, holding her breasts with a poker face stare and a long, blonde boxed-fringe wig (her signature do back in The Fame era). Behind her is a rather artistic montage combining the The Birth of Venus by 15th century artist Sandro Boticelli and Gianlorenzo Bernini's sculpture of Daphne- the love-struck nymph- provoking images of rebirth (another era), femininity and sexuality.
It's quite telling that the orb is a reflective object that, if you look closely, exposes the set and the camera men. That shine on the orb? Yeah that's the flash from the camera. Here we are allowed a small insight into the reality behind the art- that of which is supposedly embodied in her music.
Gaga opens the album with Aura- I killed my former/Left her in a trunk on highway 10/Put the knife under the hood/If you find it, send it straight to Hollywood as it then proceeds with a few seconds of evil laughter from the lady herself. It seems Lady Gaga's only gone and killed Yuyi the Mermaid in her departure from her previous album, Born This Way, as she sings "Enigma popstar is fun". So everybody say Yaaaaaaas Gaga- as she introduces another set of alter-egos in her art-pop endeavor.
Let's start with Venus in her seashell bikini and garden panties- Gaga becomes a goddess- a sexual one at that as we see in songs like Sexxx Dreams. And then there's Mary Jane Holland; her other pot-loving alter ego: The grass eats up my insides and my brunette starts to sprout/Introducing ladies and gentlemen/Mary Jane Holland!
The album is 100% pop goodness with oh so many catchy hooks and electric, synth popping melodies like that of Swine and Donatella that it'll have you singing along in no time. But it is clear that Mother Monster plays around with different genres throughout the album, with a hip-hop track Jewels and Drugs featuring T.I, Too Short and Twista, not to mention her collab with R. Kelly on the R&B inspired track Do What U Want.
Another song, entitled Dope, the only slow tempo melody, expresses Gaga's relinquishment of her weed addiction as she sings "I need you more than dope".
The album ends with Applause, ironically her debut video for this album, which allegedly refers to her perseverance during her last tour, encouraged by the applause fans gave her after each show whilst performing with an unknown broken hip.
Gaga's attempt to combine art and popular culture in ARTPOP is definitely evident, more so than her previous albums and is definitely a change and, though pop, holds a different and varied kind of sound.
I have to admit since I bought the album I've been listening to it non-stop (yes, I'm a fan), it's artistic in the sense that Gaga does pop music well. I can't wait to see the music videos that come with it. Personal favourites include G.U.Y (I wanna be the Girl Under You), Gypsy, where Gaga proclaims in repetitive glory: I'm I'm I'm I'm I'm I'm a gypsy gypsy gypsy hey! Mary Jane Holland and Fashion!