Is Lady Gaga's 'Artpop' Really As Bad As Everyone Says? (2023)

We decided to find out, once and for all.

Artpop, Lady Gaga’s fourth album,never stood a chance.

Whileher second-most commercially successful album to date, 2011’s Born This Waydidn’t sustain Gaga’s cataclysmic hold on pop culture, not that it ever could. As its follow up,Artpopwas framed as a last-grab attempt to return to the throne.Measured under the metric of‘reach astronomicalheights of artistry or bust’, it was doomed to flop.

Then again, the promo cycle certainly didn’t help. In the lead-up, Gaga herself promised something spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before: where she once said Born This Way would be “the album of the decade”, now she claimedArtpop was the “album of infinite”.

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The Evolution Of Lady Gaga In 12 Essential Tracks

(Video) ARTPOP: What Happened?

When lead single ‘Applause’dropped,most casual listeners were too off-caught by its clunky self-described artful-ness to enjoy it for what it was: a synth-pop banger. Lines like “Pop culture was an art/Now pop culture and art are me” sounded a little too Warhol 101 — which would be fine, but Gaga seemed intent on presenting Artpop as something so much more.

And what better way to show that something more than with ArtRave, a performance art party in Brooklyn featuringpieces from the likes ofMarina Abramović and Inez and Vinoodh? Or the confusing, pointlessArtpop app?Or the album cover, featuring a hyperrealistic Gaga sculpture by Jeff Koons?Oh, and how could we forget the debut of Volantis, Gaga’smulti-million dollarflying dress?

When a fake story circulated online that Gaga hadblown US $25 million on album promo, it made sense — each stunt felt artless, style without substance. Then news broke she’d fired her long-term manager.

By the timeArtpoparrived, its narrative had already been etched — asThe Guardiansaid, it read as a desperate attempt “to re-establish brand Gaga as some luridly necessary cultural force”.Subsequently, the album ‘flopped’ by selling well but not at the astronomical level we’d come to expect, merely sitting alongside Katy Perry’s Prism and Miley Cryus’ Bangerz.

Five years later, Artpop‘s biggest cultural mark is its meme status.Little Monsters and ironic hashtaggers alike still to this day implore people to #BuyArtpopOniTunes,despite the fact thatGaga herself seems to have more or less wiped it from her own caché. On her latest world tour, ‘Applause’ was thesole song from the album to be routinely performed, and she’s since said the era was ‘mismanaged’ by her label.

my last words will be #buyartpoponitunes

— Calvin (@calvinstowell) April 21, 2015

(Video) Lady Gaga - Artpop (Music Video)

Cynics cite Gaga’s latest turnto the ‘authentic’, ‘stripped back’ country-twanged pop of 2016’s Joanne as a post-Artpop retreat, a pivot to avoid the pitfalls of ‘out Gaga-ing’ herself once again. Which is probably, to some extent, true — the commercial failures of Artpop undoubtably prompted a change-of-direction. But was Artpop really so unredeemable?

WhileBorn This Wayis arguably Gaga’s‘best’ album — a bombastic coalesceof her influences, peppering saxophone solos with Springsteen-esque ballads and Berlin techno — Artpop is Gaga’s most ‘Gaga’ album.

It follows its predecessor’s formula of quirk-driven choruses and genre-clashing, but there’s less concern for cohesion or radio play.As a result, it’s an obtuse, intense and unapologetic hour of indulgence.

WhileArtpopsits around Gaga’s standard hour-long mark, it can feel a lot longer due to its scattershot sound. Across its fifteen tracks, Gaga jumps between R&B (‘Sexxx Dreams’, ‘Do What U Want’),industrialbreakdowns (‘Swine’, ‘Donatella’), high-octane EDM (‘Aura’, ‘G.U.Y.’), glam-rock (‘Manicure’)and Elton John-style pianoballads (‘Dope’), all tied together by a shared campiness. As you can expect, it doesn’t always work.

my child can be gay… a hoe… a gay hoe… a drug addict… a kleptomaniac… even a vegan… but i will never, 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 raise a child who doesn’t like lady gaga’s artpop

— jack (@fkajxck) July 19, 2018

Opening track ‘Aura’ encapsulates the album’s worst tendencies. Produced by Zedd and Israeli trance duo InfectedMushroom, the turbo track combines mariachi, EDM, vaguely Eastern motifs with an spoken-word intro straight from aKill Billfan-fiction. All the while, the lyrics muddle sexual and artistic freedom into a metaphor about peeking behind a burqa, the song’s pre-release title.

(Video) Lady Gaga - ARTPOP (Live at iTunes Festival 2013) | HD

Gaga was a pioneer ofstretching pop’s superfluousness —the risk with experiments is they don’t always work.

Its flaws are made all the more obvious against ‘Swine’, a pop odyssey rape revengebased around Gaga’s own experience at age 19 with an unnamed record producer, complete with a dubstep breakdown that is filled with more bloodlust than a Tarantino film. As the description suggests, the song’s bursting at the seams — and it’s all the better for it.

Where the chaos of ‘Swine’ sounds like the only way Gaga could write about her experience, it’s hard to not hear ‘Aura’ as intentionally histrionic, its many sounds obscuringsomething half-finished. Suitably, the world first heard ‘Aura’ in the trailer forMachete Kills, a middling 2013 B-grade action film where Gaga plays a shapeshifting hitman — the song is equally formless. If Gaga’s wrapped in anything, it’s overproduction.

Thankfully, there are other moments where Gaga balances herself more. ‘G.U.Y’ is as liberating a listen as its gender-bending through line (‘I want to be your Girl Under You/Your G.U.Y.’) and astongue-in-cheekits Housewives-featuring film clip, while ‘Fashion’ and ‘Donatella’ revel in their facetiousness.

Elsewhere, the flirtations with R&B prove Gaga’s voice is more than adaptable. ‘Sexx Dreams’ and ‘Do What U Want’are excellent,though R. Kelly sullies the latter — it’s best to swap it out with theopulentre-release with Christina Aguilera.

If there’s one point where Artpop slides off, it’sthe EDM influence. Where the big crossover hits of the past decade (‘We Found Love’, ‘Break Free’, ‘Titanium’) centre a clean, anonymous vocal, Gaga’s personality and distinct voice never cede. The result is a stubborn war, as Gaga’s ‘Gaganess’ seems to fight against the songs themselves. Understandably, casual listeners and commercial radio didn’t have the patience to stick around.

(Video) #ARTPOP is coming back yall - let’s get ready! #shorts #ladygaga #artpopact2 #buyartpoponitunes

In an excellent feature on whether Artpop ‘flopped’, Pitchfork contributor Chris Molanphy describes 2009-2010 as Gaga’s “imperial era”: a time whereshe wasuntouchable.

Back then, the club-ready and bass-heavy pop on 2008 debut album The Fame (and it’s composite EP, The Fame Monster) not only catapulted to the top of the charts, but defined them.But in an era which largely lacked persona-based pop, it was Gaga’s weirdness that truly stood out: the heights of ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘Bad Romance’were matched with meat dresses, bubble-based outfits and a public presence that left other pop stars in dust.

Empires rarely gain a second wind — and it’s hard to think either Gaga or her label were naive enough to think Artpopwould be the albumto do it. As Molanphy argues, the tide had already turned: the disdain for Artpop was motivated by a Born This Way backlash, whichsold well at first but had little staying power, proving to be both too weird and not weird enough.

Artpopwas an unapologetic push towards further pop maximalism, something which would be echoed by the success of PC Music producers A.G. Cook and SOPHIE in a few years — not necessarily in sound but in concept, an irony-free embrace ofpop’s vacuousness.

But even at its most obnoxious,Artpopencourages repeat listens, even if you’re just trying to work out what exactly is going on.

While the pop world has slowly caught up (though Charli XCX’s underground status says there’s still a way to go), Artpop was stretching pop’s superfluousness back in 2013 — unfortunately, the risk with experiments is that they wouldn’t always work.

Writing this feature, I listened to Artpopconsistently for a week — it was a bumpy ride, and one which nearly derailed this article as I alternated between viscerally hating and loving the album. But even at its most obnoxious, Artpopencourages repeat listens, even if you’re just trying to work out what exactly is going on. That’s more than could be said for ‘The Cure’, Gaga’s standalone single from last year — a disappointing post-Joanne return which trades in pop-by numbers platitudes that seemed geared towards algorithmic tastes than star power.

(Video) A chaotic journey through ARTPOP (pop girl masterpieces vol 1)

Gaga, at her best, is an artist who prompts questions. ‘The Cure’, which could be anyone’s song, at best prompts a skip. AndArtpop? Well, thatcould mean anything.

Jared ‘I’m Italian, I’m From New York’ Richards is a staff writer at Junkee. His Year 12 varsity jacket nickname was‘Lady JaJa’. Follow him on Twitter.

FAQs

How does Lady Gaga feel about ARTPOP? ›

After Little Monsters shot 2013's Artpop album into the top 3 on the U.S. iTunes album chart amid calls for a sequel, Lady Gaga said the love has warmed her heart.

Why is ARTPOP so controversial? ›

The era was mired with controversy – the biggest being R Kelly's feature appearance on Do What U Want, leading to a scrapped music video – the album divided fans and never received the acclaim it deserved from critics. So it's understandable that Gaga may not look back too fondly on the album on the era.

Why was do what u want removed from ARTPOP? ›

As of January, "Do What U Want" was no longer included on Gaga's album "Artpop" on iTunes and Apple Music and had been grayed out on Spotify. Following the Lifetime docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly," which documented several sexual abuse accusations against the 52-year-old singer, Gaga took a stand against him.

Does Lady Gaga remember ARTPOP? ›

Well, Lady Gaga doesn't. But her fans sure do. If you recall, this was Gaga's third studio album — a high-energy piece of work that brought us "Applause" and "G.U.Y.". But on Monday, Gaga tweeted that she has no recollection of this album.

What does Gaga suffer from? ›

Five years ago, Lady Gaga revealed that she had fibromyalgia, a chronic illness so intense that it led to “severe pain” and tour cancellations during her music career.

Is Madonna jealous of Lady Gaga? ›

But Madonna — reportedly jealous of Gaga and her Hollywood success — posted an Instagram story Monday of an interview of herself from the 1980s. Madonna said: “If there are 100 people in a room and 99 say they liked it, I only remember the one person who didn't.”

Why was ARTPOP a failure? ›

ARTPOP flopped because Gaga didn't have the hits needed to rule 2013 like Katy and Miley. Now, Gaga is a star and amazing at everything she does, just as Miley and Katy are. It is always a surprise on record numbers, because you just never know.

Who is the Queen of ARTPOP? ›

"Kate Bush, the queen of art-pop who defied her critics".

Why did Indonesia ban Gaga? ›

Lady Gaga will have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people.

What does ARTPOP stand for? ›

Artpop is pop music whose main aspiration isn't commercial success but that, ideally, attains that goal anyway. Talking Heads' frontman David Byrne was once asked whether he makes art or product. I feel I'm successful, he replied, “when people forget the distinction between the two.”

What happened to ARTPOP? ›

The ARTPOP era as its name implies refers to the album cycle for ARTPOP. Although the album was released on November 11th, 2013, the era began on July 11, 2013, when Gaga announced the single and album release date. The era ended on November 24, 2014, when Gaga closed the final artRAVE in Paris.

Why did Gaga remove what you want? ›

The singer confessed her regret about working with Kelly, explaining that her thinking was "explicitly twisted" and that she had "poor judgment" at that time. Gaga vowed to support women who had been through abuse and by the next day had the track removed from iTunes and all streaming services.

Is Lady Gaga IQ? ›

2/11 Lady Gaga's IQ Is 166

One thing that many may not know is that gaga actually has an impressively high IQ of 166 which means that she falls into the exceptionally gifted category — just like Ashton Kutcher, Quentin Tarantino, and Matt Damon.

Who is the best friend of Lady Gaga? ›

Background. During different interviews Lady Gaga has repeatedly mentioned that Bo O'Connor has been her best friend since she was four years old.

What is Lady Gaga's most successful song? ›

SHALLOW

How does a person get fibromyalgia? ›

Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Repetitive injuries. Injury from repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending. Illness (such as viral infections)

Who is Lady Gaga's daughter? ›

She is the president of the Born This Way Foundation, which she co-founded with her daughter Lady Gaga in 2012.
...
Cynthia Germanotta
ChildrenLady Gaga Natali Germanotta
4 more rows

Does Lady Gaga like Ariana Grande? ›

Both Grammy-award-winning singers won the award for best collaboration and best song for their catchy hit. During Gaga's acceptance speech for the awards, she proved just how close she and the 27-year-old singer are saying, “Me and Ariana are truly soul sisters. Girl, this is for us.

Are Beyonce and Lady Gaga still friends? ›

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé collaborated on the track “Telephone” in 2010, and it's heartwarming to see that they've remained friends throughout the years.

Does Lady Gaga like David Bowie? ›

Speaking of her genuine and enduring love for Bowie, Gaga added: “I do want my David Bowie fans in the world that are reading, there was a bona fide group of Bowie kids that adore and love him working on that tribute together, and so much of what we did in that medley was imagery and movement and choreography that was ...

Is ARTPOP underrated? ›

In my opinion, however, ARTPOP, generally and semantically, is underrated: I think it is Gaga's most personal album that just has an out-of-the-box, playful presentation. And it's not a bad album, far from it actually.

How many copies did ARTPOP sell? ›

2.3 million copies

Is ARTPOP Act 2 Real? ›

ARTPOP: Act II was a planned sequel to Lady Gaga's fourth studio album, ARTPOP (2013). Gaga first introduced the album as 'ACT TWO' during a Twitter Q&A on October 13, 2013.

Is Lady Gaga a Queen of Pop? ›

Lady Gaga: Queen of Pop is a biography of American singer Lady Gaga.
...
Lady Gaga: Queen of Pop.
Book cover, UK edition
AuthorEmily Herbert
GenreBiography
PublisherJohn Blake Publishing Ltd.
Publication date2010
6 more rows

Who is the original King of Pop? ›

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century.

Who is the current Queen of Pop music? ›

Dubbed “the first lady of music”, Beyoncé Knowles has created a legacy that is unparalleled. With 20 record titles to her name, the Pop megastar has pushed boundaries and empowered women while redefining music history in the process.

Why does Lady Gaga have an accent in House of Gucci? ›

Lady Gaga spoke with a Northern Italian accent for nine months to authentically portray Patrizia Reggiani in the upcoming movie House of Gucci. Even when the cameras weren't rolling, she has said, she never broke character.

What did Lady Gaga plagiarize? ›

Not only did Lady Gaga reproduce works by the artist, but she also drew inspiration from her concepts. Orlan's entire universe of hybridizations was copied in the “Born This Way” album, such as giving birth to oneself, which is seen in Orlan's photography series “Orlan accouche d'elle-m'aime” (1964-66).

Are Gaga and Polansky still together? ›

After being together for more than two years, Lady Gaga and Polansky are reportedly very happy and “very much in love.” A source told Entertainment Tonight on January 7, 2022, “Lady Gaga and Michael are still together and enjoying their relationship...

What are the top 5 songs in the pop music charts today? ›

Today's Top Hits
  • Unholy (feat. Kim Petras)Sam Smith, Kim Petras.
  • Anti-HeroTaylor Swift.
  • CUFF ITBeyoncé
  • Rich FlexDrake, 21 Savage.
  • Calm Down (with Selena Gomez)Rema, Selena Gomez.
  • As It WasHarry Styles.
  • Miss YouOliver Tree, Robin Schulz.
  • I'm Good (Blue)David Guetta, Bebe Rexha.

Who invented art pop? ›

The first definition of Pop Art was provided by British curator Lawrence Alloway, who invented the term 'Pop Art' in 1955 to describe a new form of art characterized by the imagery of consumerism, new media, and mass reproduction.

How many tracks are on Artpop? ›

With much drama, Lady Gaga pulls back the curtains, revealing the names of the 15 tracks on her highly hyped album, Artpop (out Nov. 11).

Is the chromatica era over? ›

#Chromatica era is officially over.

How old is Gaga? ›

What awards did ARTPOP win? ›

ARTPOP
AwardCategoryResult
2014
Japan Gold Disc AwardsBest International AlbumWon
Billboard Music AwardsTop Electronic/Dance AlbumNominated
Japan Gold Disc AwardsBest International AlbumWon

What does Gaga know about cameras quote? ›

"Look at Gaga. She's the creative director of Polaroid. I like some of the Gaga songs. What the f**k does she know about cameras?"

Who wrote Do what you want with my body? ›

Do What U Want

Why did Lady Gaga take a break from music? ›

Citing needing time to "slow down for a moment for some healing," Gaga said she will take a "rest" from music. She made this announcement while in Toronto for two concerts and the Toronto International Film Festival where her upcoming Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, will premiere.

Who has a 400 IQ? ›

Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born Marilyn Mach; August 11, 1946) is an American magazine columnist who has the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired.

What is Madonna's IQ? ›

18. She claims to have an IQ of 140 — making her a genius.

Does Snoop Dogg have a high IQ? ›

Snoop Dogg has 147 IQ, which is regarded as extraordinarily high and indicative of a talented genius. This qualifies him as a genius with more accomplishments than most people will achieve in their lives. "I'm really brilliant," Snoop said when questioned about his IQ.

Does Lady Gaga have a biological child? ›

While Gaga doesn't have any biological children of her own, she is a godmother.

Is Lady Gaga Greek or Italian? ›

Her father is of Italian descent; and her mother, who is from West Virginia, is of half Italian and half French, English, German, and Scottish ancestry.

What are Gaga fans called? ›

Unlike contemporaries who use sex appeal to create desire in their audiences, Gaga emphasizes her oddities to give shelter, support, and solidarity to her fans, who call themselves “Little Monsters.” She encourages them to “use me as an escape. ...

What is the number 1 best-selling song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

How many No 1 does Gaga have? ›

Let's take a look at the 5 times Lady Gaga reached the #1 spot!

What is the most profitable song ever? ›

Here is a list of ten songs that have made millions in royalties.
  • 8 You've Lost The Lovin' Feelin'
  • 7 Yesterday.
  • 6 Unchained Melody.
  • 5 Stand By Me.
  • 4 Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town.
  • 3 Every Breath You Take.
  • 2 Oh Pretty Woman.
  • 1 The Christmas Song.
13 Apr 2022

Who is Lady Gaga's target audience? ›

Lady Gaga Demographics Hold Some Surprises

However, despite her reputation for being popular among tweens and teens, the largest percentage of her fans (28%) are between the ages of 35-44. Only a combined 16% are between 0 and 24.

Is Lady Gaga technically a good singer? ›

Lady Gaga's Vocal Abilities

Lady Gaga has an incredibly powerful and emotional voice and is one of the most gifted vocalists of her generation. She is a well-trained vocalist, and her vocal type is Mezzo-Soprano, with a range of three octaves and three notes.

Is Lady Gaga a positive or negative role model? ›

Why Lady Gaga Is A (Good) Role Model For Girls. Lady Gaga is proof positive that it is hard for serious women to appear likeable. But I admire her willingness to forgo being America's sweetheart in favor of being serious about herself as an artist.

Who is Gaga's alter ego? ›

Jo Calderone is a fictional male alter-ego to Lady Gaga created in 2010.

Is Pop Evil popular? ›

Since releasing their debut album, Lipstick on the Mirror, in 2008, Pop Evil have achieved three consecutive number 1 Rock Radio Singles, their last three albums (Onyx, Up and latest, Pop Evil) have cracked the Billboard Top 200 and they were voted the number 4 Mainstream Rock Artist of 2014.

Why did Lady Gaga get Cancelled? ›

"You could tell how heartbroken she was." The Hard Rock stadium posted a statement on Twitter, reading: "Tonight's Lady Gaga show couldn't continue after a show pause at 10:50 pm in the interest of fan safety due to inclement weather that included lighting. Thank you for your understanding."

What does Gaga mean in Italian? ›

1 Answer. The translation for gaga, in italian, is, rimbambire, which means to stun or daze.

Did Lady Gaga use prosthetics in House of Gucci? ›

Zero prosthetics were used. It might look effortless, but Lady Gaga's makeup transformation in House of Gucci took a team of skilled artists. From the tight '80s perm to the rounded eyebrows, her team breaks down how they nailed Gaga's role as Patrizia Reggiani.

Is Lady Gaga's Italian accent good? ›

Let's go through star by star. How do you think Lady Gaga did? First of all, I'll say this, that her lines that she had in Italian were actually the best of any of the other actors. She really nailed the lines that were in spoken Italian.

Videos

1. Let's Remember ARTPOP! | Mic The Snare
(Mic The Snare)
2. Shit Lady Gaga Says in the ARTPOP Era
(GAGA's F.R.E.E. BITCH TV)
3. rating every song on ARTPOP! | Lady Gaga #artpop #ladygaga
(Iona finn)
4. Lady Gaga - ARTPOP (VEVO Presents)
(Lady Gaga)
5. Lady Gaga - ARTPOP (Official)
(Victor White Noise)
6. Lady Gaga - Artpop Lyrics
(Lady Gaga Lyrics)
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