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 the history of music has gone through captivating root pop, played with elements of electro-rock, revived the synthesizers that went viral in the 1970s and 1980s, allied with got into jazz and became familiar with country. Being one of the most awarded people of all time with hundreds of statuettes from the supreme artistic sphere, fans couldn't help but feel a bittersweet taste in her mouth when she saw her diva walking away with such brutality from the genre that had put her in the spotlight, even if it has only proven its impeccable versatility.
Four years after the intimate 'Joanne' – who, despite not falling for popular taste, took home a golden gramophone for the acoustic surrender of the title track – Gaga decided to return to pop with a bang predicted by many, but unlike anything that we expected. Allying herself with popular elements from the end of the last century and creating even an entirely new universe (whose name is borrowed from the album's own title), the artist invited us for a synesthetic and dancing journey in 'Chromatica': the work, her sixth solo foray, is simply one of the best surrenders in a long time, delivering far more than anyone could ask for.
Throughout the heavy promotion and promotion of the CD, the performer presented us with the striking single “Stupid Love”, an exuberant synth-pop from the 80's that made her return to the roots with an engaging beat and verses easy enough to be taken to the nights clubs; the house-pop anthem “Rain On Me”, marking collaboration with Ariana Grande on a metaphorical tour-de-force that became one of the best songs of 2020; and the deep house foray with the BLACKPINK group, “Sour Candy”, whose final result may have been a little fickle, but kept the sound level high and continued to cultivate in the public a sense of imaginary resumption that had long been desired. However, as much as the tracks have given us a taste of the resonant ideals that the singer and songwriter intended to bring to a troubled year, nothing compares to the sensorial and transcendental (in its proper proportions) experience of listening to the ensemble itself – whose depth it is much bigger than expected.
'Chromatica' starts with a perfect interlude (whose preview was shown in February), adorned with an extremely classic and orchestral concept that marries “Alice”, a strong track loaded with symbols of reunion and the return to yourself – the which is very pertinent, considering that Gaga is making 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, even though the demo leaked a few weeks ago, nothing could prepare us for the carefully prepared symphonic banquet.
With each song, it is clear that the unusual partnership signed with BloodPop worked in all aspects: commanding the powerful and intoxicating lyricism, the synthetic pieces, immersed without scruples in autotunes and robotic dramatizations (reminding us of 'ARTPOP' numerous times), provide a dubious interpretation. As we travel through this colorful and vibrant world, we show an appreciation for the instrumental aesthetics of the 1980s and 1990s, especially for the avant-garde of europop and disco-dance. And, following in the footsteps of other figures, Gaga remains true to his unique identity and creates a masterpiece, a personal vendetta for those who declared his artistic death a few years ago.
One of the configurations that most calls our attention are the anachronistic minutiae and the inflections that the performer has to do what she wants. When ‘Chromatica II’ and ‘911’ come together in time and futuristic travel, we’re ready for something original and cool; this last song, for example, is a mimetic ode to the acclaimed duo Daft Punk, whose European lines are brought into the North American mainstream with an electronic weight that converges and diverges over less than three minutes. Meanwhile, “Plastic Doll” is an explosive criticism 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. Again, the complexity goes far beyond the sensory atmosphere, bringing troubled reflections and quite pertinent to the moment in which we live.
Lady Gaga's sin is to leave us wanting for more – and maybe that sin will be purged in the blink of an eye, whether when we delight in the screaming surroundings of “Enigma”, with the addictive deconstructed ballad “Sine From Above”, uttered at side of Sir Elton John (and the best collaboration on the album, undoubtedly), or with the elegant house pop that takes shape with “1000 Doves”. And, in a complementary apex, “Babylon” is a conclusion without any defects that nourishes from progressive similarities with the iconic productions of the 1990s, despite painting them with a godly gospel choir that could not have come at a better time.
'Chromatica' was exactly what we needed in 2020: a narcotic addition to what can only be said of one of the best years for music – and a comeback worthy of a legendary one that still has many stories to tell us.
Note by 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
- Puzzle – 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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