Criticism | Lady Gaga returns to her roots with the glorious and nostalgic ‘Chromatica’

Originally published May 29, 2020.

The most predictable aspect of Lady Gaga’s career is her unpredictability. After all, throughout his twelve years in the entertainment industry, one of the biggest names in music history has gone through a captivating pop root, played with the elements of electro-rock. , revived synthesizers that went viral in the 1970s and 1980s, allied to entered jazz and familiarized himself with country. Being one of the most awarded people of all time with hundreds of statuettes from the supreme artistic realm, fans couldn’t help but feel a bittersweet taste in her mouth as she watched her diva s push away with such brutality from the kind that had sidelined her. in the spotlight, even if it has just proven its flawless versatility.

Four years after the intimate “ Joanne ” – who, although she did not fall into popular taste, won a golden gramophone due to the acoustic surrender of the title song – Gaga has decided to return. to pop with a bang predicted by many, but unlike anything we expected. Blending in with popular elements from the turn of the last century and even creating an entirely new universe (the name of which is borrowed from the album’s own title), the artist invited us on a synesthetic and dancing journey in ‘Chromatica ‘: the work, his sixth solo foray, is quite simply one of the best dropouts in a long time, offering more than anyone could ask for.

Throughout the promotion and promotion of the CD, the performer presented us with the remarkable single “Stupid Love”, an exuberant 80s synth-pop that brought her back to roots with engaging rhythm and verse. easy enough to take into account. night clubs; the house-pop anthem “Rain On Me”, marking a collaboration with Ariana Grande on a metaphorical tour de force that has become one of the best songs of 2020; and the deep house foray with the BLACKPINK group, “Sour Candy,” the end result of which may have been a bit fickle, but kept the volume level high and continued to cultivate audiences with a sense of imaginary cover that had long been desired. However, as much as the tracks gave us a taste of the resonant ideals the singer and songwriter intended to bring to a troubled year, nothing compares to the sensory and transcendental experience (in its proper proportions) of listening to the whole itself – the depth of which it is much greater than expected.

“Chromatica” opens with a perfect interlude (the preview aired in February), adorned with an extremely classical and orchestral concept that embraces “Alice”, a piece loaded with symbols of reunion and coming back to oneself – the who is very relevant, considering that Gaga makes an open invitation to an intimate and detailed self-understanding with clarity in incredible beats and beat drops. A little further on, she shows us the finished and improved version of “Free Woman” – and, although the demo leaked a few weeks ago, nothing could have prepared us for the carefully prepared symphonic banquet.

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With every song, it’s clear that the unusual partnership signed with BloodPop worked in every aspect: mastering the powerful and intoxicating lyricism, the synthetic pieces, immersed in unscrupulous autotunes and robotic dramatizations (reminding us time and time again ‘ “ ARTPOP ”), provide questionable interpretation. As we travel through this colorful and vibrant world, we appreciate the instrumental aesthetics of the 1980s and 1990s, especially for the avant-garde of europop and disco-dance. And, in the footsteps of other figures, Gaga stays true to her unique identity and creates a masterpiece, a personal vendetta for those who declared their artistic deaths a few years ago.

One of the configurations that hold our attention the most are the anachronistic minutiae and inflections that the performer has to do whatever she wants. When “Chromatica II” and “911” meet in a time travel and futuristic journey, we are ready for something original and cool; the latter song, for example, is a mimetic ode to the acclaimed duo Daft Punk, whose European lines are introduced into the North American mainstream with an electronic weight that converges and diverges in less than three minutes. Meanwhile, “Plastic Doll” is an explosive critique of pop culture and the objectification and labeling of artists who just want to show what they have to the world without being confined to insurmountable boxes. Here again, the complexity goes far beyond the sensory atmosphere, bringing in troubled reflections and quite relevant to the moment we live in.

Lady Gaga’s sin is to leave us wanting more – and maybe that sin will be purged in the blink of an eye, whether that’s when we revel in the screaming environment of “Enigma,” with the addictive deconstructed ballad. “Sine From Above”, played alongside Sir Elton John (and the best collaboration on the album, arguably), or with the elegant pop house that takes shape with “1000 Doves”. And, in a complementary top, “Babylon” is a flawless conclusion that it nurtures progressive similarities to iconic productions of the 1990s, despite painting them with a pious gospel chorus that couldn’t have come at a better time.

‘Chromatica’ was exactly what we needed in 2020: a narcotic addition to what can only be said about one of the best years for music – and a comeback worthy of a legendary who still has a lot stories to tell us.

Rating per track:

Chromatica I – 5/5 Alice – 5/5 Stupid Love – 4,5 / 5 Rain on Me (with Ariana Grande) – 4,5 / 5 Free Woman – 5/5 Fun Tonight – 4,5 / 5 Chromatica II – 5/5 911-5 / 5 Plastic Doll – 4,5 / 5 Sour Candy (with BLACKPINK) – 3,5 / 5 Enigma – 5/5 Replay – 5/5 Chromatica III – 5/5 Sine from Above (with Elton John) – 5/5 1000 doves – 5/5 Babylon – 5/5

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