Lady Gaga Takes Us on a Journey to 'Chromatica'

by Eric Allen 6 months ago in album reviews

Lady Gaga delivers a provisional reprieve from the world’s anguish

Lady Gaga Takes Us on a Journey to 'Chromatica'

“Take me to wonderland…”

Lady Gaga has majestically returned with her new electropop album Chromatica, the first since her 2016 musical detour with the intensely personal Joanne, which was followed-up with her co-starring role opposite Bradley Cooper in the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born and its subsequent soundtrack. Now, Mother Monster has not only resurfaced, but she’s reclaimed her electronic dance-pop roots, which all Little Monsters have been awaiting with baited breath.

On her sixth studio album, Lady Gaga delivers a joyous, albeit temporary reprieve from the existing and mercurial realities of a world in crisis, which is profoundly needed right now. Chromatica is a non-stop, full-on dance party replete with 13 club bangers and 3 filmic-sounding instrumental interludes, all of which will transport you to another realm of EDM consciousness. If you’ve been waiting for Gaga to return to the dance floor, then Chromatica will sufficiently fulfill all of your danceable desires as its magical dream-like capriccios will profusely distract you from life’s painful realities. After all, Chromatica is a state of mind, not a physical place.

With that said, don’t get the wrong impression that all is well within Gaga-land here, because although pulsating dance beats abound, Lady G has quite a lot to say. While Chromatica is a welcome return to the dance floor, it also explores isolation and heartbreak (“Plastic Doll”), as well as addressing her own issues; PTSD, fibromyalgia, medication and mental health. The latter is discussed rather eloquently in the resilient confessional “911,” in which as Gaga comes clean about her necessary need for antipsychotics: “Keep repeating self-hating phrases, I have heard enough of these voices/Almost like I have no choice, this is biological stasis/My mood’s shifting to manic places.” She continues describing her mental battles with a catch but urgent chorus: “My biggest enemy is me/Pop a 911” ...” Then pop another one/Keep my dolls inside diamond boxes” …” Paradise is in my hand.”

The beguiling opening interlude, “Chromatica 1” immediately proclaims you’re in for a journey to another land of musical adventure, which first proper track “Alice” quickly confirms; “Take me home, take me to wonderland,” Gaga beseeches. After you leave planet Earth, your expedition continues with the infectious lead-off single “Stupid Love,” followed by second single “Rain on Me,” on which Gaga is joined by Ariana Grande.

The female empowered “Free Woman” (“I’m not nothing without a steady hand, I’m not nothing unless I know I can/I’m still something if I don’t got a man”) and the misleadingly titled “Fun Tonight” (“What happens now, I’m not okay/And if I scream you walk away/When I’m sad you just wanna play/I’ve had enough why do I stay”) are merely two of the album’s shining examples of what Gaga does best; infectious hooks paired with immersive beats and provocatively expressive lyrics.

Lyrically, Chromatica reads like a private catharsis to which Gaga has allowed us access as we join her in dancing our way out of despair and heartbreak and into health and happiness. But perhaps the most apparent aspect of Chromatica is how often it echoes back to Artpop. In fact, Chromatica picks up right where Artpop left off, oft times sounding like its lyrically superior continuation, which I say with the deepest sentiments of admiration and sincerity, as I will always love Artpop.

With guest appearances by BLΛƆKPIИK, the previously mentioned Ariana Grande and a dazzling Elton John duet complete with drum n’ bass breakdown, Chromatica is a nonstop party experience with Gaga’s two best friends; pop and dance, and she has been generous enough to include us on her guest list. Gaga’s triumphant return to form is the ultimate stimulation for the brain’s rhythm center, as well as your ears, body and soul. Although surprisingly short (clocking in at a mere 43 minutes), Chromatica magnificently achieves greatness despite its brevity. Besides, we can keep our fingers crossed for an extended remixed version to appear from the heavens in the future.

“This is my dancefloor I fought for…Now dance motherf💕ckers!!!!!!!”

album reviews
Eric Allen
Eric Allen
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Eric Allen

I'm a music journalist, blogger and crate digger. I began writing about music during college and again as a freelancer. Links to my published pieces can be found on my music blog at: popmartzoo.com and/or follow me on Twitter:@popmartzoo

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