Step Into the Blissful Ecstasy of 'Chromatica' With Lady Gaga
After over four years, the highly anticipated and long-awaited sixth album by recording artists and living legend, Lady Gaga, is here. 'Chromatica' was promised to return Gaga and her sound back to her roots, on the dance floor, which it managed to do phenomenally. The album is packed from start to finish pure with flawless, intensely danceable songs. With not a single one standing out as a filler, each has its unique elements of perfection and all boast rich and exhilarating production, all built on the solid foundation of Gaga's career, effortlessly danceable pop music.
On 'Alice', Gaga channels a dramatic euphoria with heavenly opening vocals before descending into a thrilling house-infused breakdown. The bridge sees Gaga vocals become to get intoxicatingly distorted before the beat drops once again. What may seem like a dated concept, Gaga has reimagined songs like 'Alice' by infusing her signature harsh voice and unapologetically pop hooks, making the songs sound more like musical explosions than dated beat drops. The core of every track in this album is the gripping pop sound Gaga has mastered, enhanced by the electrifying house/club influence and the abundance of rich production, allowing Gaga to deliver such eccentric and timeless bops.
The album continues to take the listener through the dystopian world of 'Chromatica', with the two singles 'Stupid Love' and 'Rain on Me' following suit and further engulfing the listener into the inescapably captivating dance-pop ecstasy. The album closes its first of three acts with 'Free Woman' and 'Fun Tonight', both boasting galvanising and extensive production. 'Free Woman' embodies Gaga's empowered confidence, echoed in her previous albums 'ARTPOP' and 'Born This Way'. The lyric, "This is my dance floor, I fought for." is particularly representative of the mood of both this song and more broadly the entire album. 'Fun Tonight' is possibly one of the only times on 'Chromatica' Gaga presents a less joyful narrative to the listener. The lyrics, "you love the paparazzi, love the fame," can possibly be seen as a reference to her previous work. She sings despairingly about being unhappy in a relationship with the added context of her stardom, all over a more mellow, tropical house beat.
Gaga's transcendence as an artist is probably best exemplified in her collaborations on the record. The first of which is 'Rain on Me', a collaboration with budding pop princess, Ariana Grande, which you can read all about here (HYPERLINK). This is followed then by Gaga singing alongside K-Pop girl group sensation BLACKPINK; The verses and chorus on 'Sour Candy' blend seamlessly together over the warping sultry house beat, making the song infectiously catchy and utterly timeless. The final collaboration on the record is an unlikely one and possibly the most surprising song on the album. 'Sine from Above' captures Elton John and Gaga both singing about their troubled party-heavy lives over an explosive Eurodance beat; what some may have expected to be an empty ballad actually turned into one of the most dance-heavy songs on the album. Possibly the most notable thing about these three collaborations is Gaga's ability to bring together each of these unique artists on one record, allowing the artists to maintain their distinctive sound whilst also pulling them outside of their comfort zones to create extraordinary, Avant Gmusic that transcends generations; it speaks to Gaga's strength as a pop artist and also as a self-proclaimed "nonconformist'.
As Act One of the album closes, it transitions into one of three classical instrumentals titled 'Chromatica I, II and III' respectively. The transition between 'Chromatica II' and '911' is nothing short of an explosive, sonic orgasm; with the classical interlude descending into the infectious, warping bass of the track harmoniously. If the listener is nostalgic for 'The Fame' era Gaga then look no further than this song, boasting the robotic vocals of familiar hit 'Poker Face' and the remorseless party-girl spirit of 'Beautiful Dirty Rich', '911' garners this nostalgia to produce a mid-tempo, electronic, sassy bop.
Following '911' is possibly the best track on the album, 'Plastic Doll'. A galvanising, emotional and unapologetically bubble-gum pop song, providing commentary on female beauty standards in the music industry. The chorus is as anthemic as it is liberated, complimented by an infectiously danceable beat. 'Plastic Doll' exudes the unabashed confidence of an accomplished Gaga and continues to showcase her allegiance to pop music by producing potentially one of the best pop songs in recent history.
Act Two of the album closes with two more incredible songs. The closest one can get to Gaga's fifth album, 'Joanne', 'Enigma' exquisitely showcases Gaga's beautiful voice over a downtempo, euphoric beat and warping, stimulating bass-heavy chorus. 'Replay' opts for a rousing, disco-heavy instrumental and distorted vocals, possessing all the sensuality of Dua Lipa's 'Hallucinate' or even Kylie Minogue's, 'Spinning Around', while still authentically Gaga by exhibiting with her signature powerhouse vocals. These tracks act as a refreshing come-down to the exuberant 'Sour Candy' previously, adding to the albums vast diversity whilst still maintaining its cohesion and dance-pop undertones.
Possibly one of the best things about 'Chromatica' is how different each of the songs are, it makes it difficult for me to compare any of the songs to each other because in reality, no two songs on this record sound the same. Another example of this, '1000 Doves', displays Gaga experimenting with EDM by adapting a Kygo-inspired broken word chorus. Gaga's beautiful vocals on the track, complimented by the tropical EDM beat, make the track a blissful euphoria.
The album closes with possibly one of the most rumoured tracks since 'Chromatica's announcement, 'Babylon'. Another entirely shocking track, 'Babylon' borrows strong gospel and jazz influence as Gaga sings about 'Battling for your life in Babylon'. The track is an observation of the gossip many pop stars, including Gaga, herself have to endure. Gaga presents it as a metaphor of a battle, where she appears victorious. 'Babylon' is the perfect closer to such an emancipated record; presenting an accomplished Gaga winning the metaphorical battle and triumphantly returning the listener to the normal world after an ecstatic 43-minute journey to the euphoric 'Chromatica'.
Coming at a time when pop is almost obsolete on the charts, instead of shying away, Gaga instead decided to entirely embrace dance-pop in all its forms, producing possibly one of her best bodies of work in her entire career. 'Chromatica' is a musical ticket to Gaga's dystopian camp euphoria, a personal album that explores love, courage and healing; all whilst bringing the listener back to where they fell in love with Gaga, the dance floor she fought for.
Check out the official music video for one of Lady's Gaga's new songs, 'Stupid Love', from her Chromatica Album here:
Words by Joe Gardner
Graphics by Katie Janes