Why the general public didn’t like this wonderful album is beyond me. I thought we were over this, but Elton John’s comments reminded me of a post I had intended on making back in 2013 when the backlash started.
Basically, ARTPOP is fucking amazing. Here’s why:
You have Aura, which opens with a lyric about Born This Way Era Gaga’s ‘death’ (”I killed my former and…” is literally the first lyric of the first song) which then transitions to the 'birth’ of ARTPOP Era Gaga with Venus (get it? birth of Venus… btw, an A+ song for talking about both the planet Venus as well as the goddess Venus, and also vaginas), followed by G.U.Y. which deconstructs the terms “guy” and “girl” and re-defines them in terms of the other (G.U.Y. = Girl Under You, G.I.R.L. = Guy In Romantic Love) while making a brilliant CEO-type analogy in the music video and using a sexual metaphor to call out the music industry’s need to put everything in a top 10 chart (”I don’t need to be on top to know I’m wanted”).
Additionally, Gaga included, not random references, but in-context references to Greek and Roman mythologies in the following songs: Aura (the goddess Aura), Venus (self explanatory), G.U.Y. (Himeros, Aphrodite, etc.) Sexxx Dreams (”You could turn to stone or the color of man petrified by a woman” = Medusa), and Mary Jane Holland (the second verse directly mentions Apollo and the whole song sort of mirrors the story of Apollo and Daphne).
And in terms of literature…an “1984" reference in Sexxx Dreams (”we could be caught, we’re both convicted criminals of thought”) that fits thematically with what the song is about, and a “Lord of the Flies” reference in Swine, a song that many people still don’t realize is about rape, In the aforementioned novel, to explain it lightly, a group of boys are stranded on an island and start to succumb to animalistic behavior, painting their faces and later even putting a sow’s (female pig! swine!) decapitated head on a stick (a very important part of the story and a very iconic part in the film adaptations). Hence the lyric in Swine, “Pain your face and paint his face and catch the beat.”
Then you have the brilliance of the tracks that explore contrasting ideologies. For example: Mary Jane Holland vs.Dope (one very much being a marijuana anthem and the other essentially being a huge “Don’t do drugs, kids!” ballad) and, of course, Donatella vs. Fashion! (the first talking about fashion in the shallowest manner possible, and the latter from a purely artistic perspective).
Plus, not to mention the amazing Bowie shout out in Fashion! (”There’s life on Mars, where the couture is beyond!”)
Don’t even get me started on how brilliant Do What U Want‘s lyrics are. It’s literally a big middle finger to the haters and critics. The single cover is literally her saying KISS MY ASS. Lol. It’s not even about sex, although upon first listen you think it is, which is actually the point the song is trying to make about media sensationalism. By proclaimed “do what you want with my body,” she’s telling the public to do what they want with her body of work - i.e. choosing to ignore the symbolic, metaphorical, and artistic implications of a particular outfit or performance. With lyrics like ”Write what you want, say what you want about me” and “I stand up and then I’m okay, but then you print some shit that makes me wanna scream,” it’s difficult to understand how some people STILL think this song is about sex.
On that note, a lot of people fail to see the double entendre in MANiCURE too. It is not about literal manicures. She needs to be “man-cured.” Whether that means she’s craving a man’s touch and needs to be cured, or she’s replacing male intimacy with female-female relationships and that’s the cure is entirely up to the listener’s discretion. One thing’s for sure though: it’s not about actual manicures!!! Literally so many people I’ve talked to have not noticed this.
Lastly, the way art talks to pop in the first verse of the song ‘ARTPOP’ ("come to me, in all your glamour and cruelty”) and the way pop talks to art in the second verse (“come to me, with all your subtext and fantasy”), and the way they end up coming together in the chorus (”a hybrid can withstand these things”), is one of my favorite things Gaga has ever done as a songwriter. Also, the fact that ARTPOP is not the opening track or the last track on the CD. It’s right in the middle. It’s the heart of the project.
A lot of thought went into ARTPOP. You’re entitled to dislike the album because it may not be your cup of tea or because you enjoyed TFM and BTW significantly more, but don’t you dare say it was stupid or bad when in fact it was freakin’ remarkable.
P.S. I didn’t even talk about Gypsy but it’s, without doubt, one of the best love songs Gaga has ever written. Watch these two performances: this one and this one.
P.P.S. How cool is it that the album cover is Renaissance art (Birth of Venus) and a baroque art (Apollo and Daphne) with contemporary art (Jeff Koon’s gazing ball) and pop (Gaga).in front?
P.P.P.S. Sorry if there are typos but I’m not editing
Just a little theory here. Not trying to read too deep into anything, just my thoughts. This all comes from her Coachella show and ARTPOP motifs, starting with the opening interlude.
The Tentacle: Not only was there the visual, but the music itself was very electronic and heavy. But with the visual, itself, a tentacle to an octopus is trying to make it way out of (or into) her throat and ARTPOP had the motif of mermaids, to which Gaga posted about “The Little Mermaid” from time to time. Ursula, the evil octopus sea witch, stole Ariel’s voice and silenced her, metaphorically in the same way her management and backstabbing team tried to do to her with the release of ARTPOP.
Now, she’s also fighting with the tentacle, which I think could mean the philosophy of ARTPOP won out, potentially expelling the tentacle from her body. Note that she’s also brunette in this visual, which she also referenced in ARTPOP through Mary Jane Holland and the later artRave performances of Swine where she would tear her wig off and let her real hair (she’s naturally a brunette) loose.
Sexxx Dreams visual: (I’m so grateful she performed this and ARTPOP got the recognition she deserved at Coachella). If you noticed the background video while she performed Sexxx Dreams, you’ll see that she’s still a brunette, and she appears to be in chains (“we’re both convicted criminals of thought”) throughout the song with the same black and white idea from Swinefest, so, potentially, part of the intended visual from the ARTPOP era?
The Cure: Big one here! The Cure (which is her brand new single and you should buy/stream it wherever you can, it’s great) was on the early “leaks” of the ARTPOP tracklist, which we all thought/probably were fanmade. The song itself has an EDM flare to it, with some R&B, synth pop undertones, i.e. the overall genre of ARTPOP. Could it have been meant for ARTPOP/ACT 2? I think so. Lastly, she’s been working on new music without even having toured Joanne yet, so I feel like something is coming.
Joanne/AHS Hotel: Now, I know you’re all like “What the fuck is Joanne doing here?” But I just have a feeling that Gaga NEEDED to do an album for herself, to get back to herself and heal, which I feel is the main theme of the album. After wrapping up the artRave, there was an interview where she spoke about looking back over her past and viewing her past eras and selves during that time as a cadaver. Then, at the 2016 Golden Globes, with the inspiration she got from Hotel where she said it brought her back to the art of darkness. Having both of those things in mind, I can see elements of that in Joanne, but I feel like she had something more darker in mind, not necessarily TFM dark, but we would see a different side of things after ARTPOP which was “darkness wrapped in colors” and I was surprised when we got something like Joanne.
Philosophy of ARTPOP: Lastly, after all that we got of ARTPOP was said and done, (especially the G.U.Y video which she paid out of pocket with for some of your ungrateful asses) I think its safe to say we were all waiting for something next, like it felt like ARTPOP as an era ended prematurely, especially with the Act 2 hints. Say what you want, we may have not gotten a certain song or single or video or extended version or what the fuck ever, but I don’t think with every fiber of my being that this bitch would just let an entire album’s worth of music (or 6, for that matter, considering she wrote at LEAST 90 songs for ARTPOP) just die down the drain. She’s too good to her creativity and to us for that, without even mentioning that she leaked the demo for Aura and some others and threatened to leak all of Joanne if her label made her sign exclusive release deals. Also, she stated in the 2014 SXSW keynote that there’s a whole other record of ARTPOP that we haven’t heard yet and she was just enjoying listening to it with her friends. So much from the ARTPOP era has leaked within the past 6 months, from the MJH and Venus demos and stems, to Red Flame, to other concept ideas. There’s something there.
Just my thoughts on the whole ARTPOP ACT 2 tea, and while I really hope she releases it, I just want her to do what makes her happy. And if you made it this far, thanks for reading through this fucking list.
So this a list of songs I want someone to strip to for me/ give me a lap dance to. If you have any suggestions, please add:
“Dance for you”-Beyoncé
“Buttons”- PussyCat Dolls
“The Valley”- Miguel
“Touch My Body”- Mariah Carey
“Freakum Dress”- Beyoncé
“Your Body”- Christina Aguilera
“Body Party”- Ciara
“Sexercise”- Kylie Minogue
“Honey”- Erykah Badu
“Sexxx Dreams”- Lady Gaga
“Anaconda”- Nicki Minaj
“Often”- The Weeknd
“High for This”- The Weeknd
“Hipnotizame”- Wisin y Yandel