Lady Gaga’s long-awaited third album is largely a tribute to the old masters. Not of art, but of pop (though ‘Artpop’ evidently doesn’t split hairs over the difference). Here, rather than beating an entirely new drum, Gaga is tipping her meat hat to a line-up of previous greats.
But her Ladyship didn’t earn her worldwide superstar status through mere pastiche. The basic elements might not be new, but the triumph of ‘Artpop’ is that it mixes its palette of influences in such entertaining ways. Madonna and Bowie are the constant inspirations: from the ‘Holiday’-aping ‘Fashion!’ to the cosmic pansexual playfulness of ‘GUY’ There are plenty of dance bangers, of course, but thankfully Gaga has mined their beats from the golden era of French house – Justice’s synths, for example, are all over tracks including the teasingly tipsy ‘Sexxx Dreams’.
The low points in ‘Artpop’ come when the Lady loses faith in her own-brand nostalgia: the world music silliness of ‘Gypsy’ is almost slayed by its ugly chart-dance excesses, while ‘Jewels N’ Drugs’ is an embarrassing attempt at trap music. Overall, however, this excellent if slightly sprawling LP reminds us how much Lady Gaga knows about classic hooks, high camp and huge choruses.
Buy this album hereWhat are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.