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“Artpop,” Lady Gaga’s turn-on

“Artpop,” Gaga’s third and best album

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“Artpop,” Gaga’s third and best album

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It sounds like David Bowie turned 40 years younger and given a libido.”

 

I resisted “The Fame,” Lady Gaga’s first album, with ease (“Bad Romance” felt too shticky, “Just Dance” my ass), then accepted her second album, “Born This Way,” because not only didn’t she disappear, like I thought she would, she came back trying.

Her new album’s called “Artpop,” and she sold me as soon as I heard the first single, “Applause.” It sounds like David Bowie turned 40 years younger and given a libido. But Ziggy never had lyrics this good:

“I overheard your theory, ‘Nostalgia’s for geeks’/I guess sir if you say so, some of us just like to read/One second I’m a Koons, then suddenly the Koons is me/Pop culture was in art, now art’s in pop culture in me.”

Lady Gaga is 2010s Madonna: she’s got a similar ‘tude, even if she’d rather ride the Ziggy Stardust rocket to fantasyland than Madonna’s “Risky Business”-esque train ride to intimate pleasures. (Guess which one I prefer.) Not that Gaga’s still hung up on “bad romances” (ah, the forbidden thrill of railing Edward Cullen’s frostbitten, pasty flesh in a tavern’s restroom!). Now she’s after good sex:

“You can’t have my heart, and you won’t use my mind, but—do what you want with my bodyyyyy, do what you want with my bodyyyy!” she decrees. “You can’t stop my voice, ‘cause you don’t own my life, but: do what you want with my bodyyyyy, do what you want with my bodyyyyy!”

I personally don’t want to do a damn thing with her body, just with her music, so fortunately for those who, like me, were repulsed by her initial image (vapid dark diva out of some avant-garde gothic painting), now she seems to have set aside balancing her image and her music and focused on the music. In fact, she seems to be hung up on lifting that image back like the veil in “Aura,” the exotic electronic tweakout opener, to show “the girl who lives behind the aura.”

She has a really strange knack for mixing electronic thrustpop with choruses I’d expect from Beyonce or Christina Aguilera, strong, resilient “Woman and Proud” “Hips Don’t Lie” stuff. It works especially well on “Venus” (which, unfortunately, she never rhymes with… ya know).

Then she answers Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” with “G.U.Y.” (Girl Under You): “I wanna be that GUY/Girl under you.” She’s so horny she’s going after both sexes: “Heard your boyfriend was away this weekend—want to meet at my place?”

That’s “Sexxx Dreams,” which ends its verses acapella with Lady Gaga rushing through “When I lay in bed I touch myself and think of you,” then blasting into sparkly synth-pop: “Last night/Damn you were in my sex dreams/Doing really nasty things.”

That’s “Artpop”—no “Crazy for You,” not even a “Like a Virgin,” but a lot of sonic kick and sexual throb. “Jewels ‘n’ Drugs,” the thug-hop number, seems worthless to me (hey, that’s a good idea—let’s stop trying to get laid and boast about all the shit we have!), and there are a few others that don’t get my ticker going, because they give sex the shaft and toss out the sex energy that drives the record’s best moments. But if you’re the excitable type and still feel that burn in your groin, come and get it.

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About the Writer
Tom Benton, Editor-in-Chief

Tom Benton joined the Basement Medicine staff in spring 2011, assuming the position of editor-in-chief in spring 2012.  He continues in that capacity...

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