Lady Gaga’s “Artpop” has serious artistic pretentions, right from the album’s title and cover: a Jeff Koons statue of the star with a Botticelli montage.
Gaga has described the album as “a celebration and a poetic musical journey.” Yeah, right.
Well, at least “Artpop” -- out on Nov. 11 and already leaked online -- is more ambitious than its predecessors.
Rihanna, watch out: She’s trying hip-hop. Beyonce, beware: Gaga’s ripping off R&B. She’s even got soul in a duet with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want.”
For all that, the hour-long collection stays mainly in the electronic-dance overdrive mode of the crazed opener “Aura.”
The only respite from disco is a piano ballad, “Dope.” This Rick Rubin-produced track shows, at the very least, that Gaga can out-sing Madonna. While that may not be saying much, she’s grabbed Madonna’s glitter ball, too -- a necessary cover-up for that naked Koons statue.
Lady Gaga is still fascinated by celebrity, the fame monster she’s created, and above all, herself. She asks at the start, “Do you want to see the girl behind the aura?”
Assuming you do, some slick melodies follow, though few are as memorable and catchy as previous hits such as “Just Dance.”
What the Stars Mean: ***** Exceptional **** Excellent *** Good ** Average * Poor (No stars) Worthless
“Artpop” is released on Nov. 11 on Interscope priced $11.99. An international deluxe edition is also available on Nov. 19. Information: http://www.ladygaga.com/news
(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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