Album Review Face-Off: ARTPOP proves inconsistent, underdeveloped

Lady Gaga is a giant in the music industry, having taken the world by storm with her eccentricities and record-selling hits. It started with The Fame in 2008 and then The Fame Monster and Born This Way. Now, in the final months of 2013, we are graced with her rather lesser album ARTPOP. It’s a blend of ‘90s-esque tracks, more instant hits and other polarizing pieces that are some of the strangest Lady Gaga songs to date.

“Aura” kicks off the album with an extremely catchy and beautiful chorus. Unfortunately, that chorus is the only thing this feminist anthem has going for it. I found myself skipping past the jumbled and unintelligible, heavily synthesized verses that fill the gaps.

“Sexxx Dreams” comes along several tracks later with its nearly unbearable sound. It consists of static, overpowering synthesizer beats that make Gaga’s voice seem weak and, at times, artificial. It’s not a very enjoyable listen but rather a strain to get through.

Then there’s “Jewels n’ Drugs,” a Fame-esque, fun hip-hop track. It actually has some fantastic background tunes and some great old-school Gaga vocals, but the cheesy addition of rappers T.I., Too $hort and Twista is where the song falters. I understand the intention and the stylistic consistencies considered, but the song would be 10 times better without them.

“MANiCURE” is a fun play-on-title for a track that is probably the best on the album. It’s a hopping, energized ‘80s and ‘90s throwback with feminine power and angst. The entire song, verses and all, is catchy and dance-oriented. It’s definitely a high point of the album.

“Do What U Want” has two pros: an intro beat that bears striking similarity to the soundtrack of the film Drive, which is always a positive thing, and Gaga’s powerfully passionate vocals. Despite this, the chorus falls short because it’s not very impressive hook for listeners. Also, Gaga made another wrong decision in terms of collaboration, because R. Kelly’s contribution to this track doesn’t work. His parts are whiny and unnecessary and they take away from Mother Monster’s fabulous voice.

As with every Gaga album, there’s a wonderful ballad thrown in that really shows off her talent. Though “Dope” may not be her most impressive ballad, it’s definitely one of the best songs on ARTPOP and it may bring tears to your eyes.

ARTPOP is another good album from Lady Gaga, but it’s certainly her worst so far and her most inconsistent. Little Monsters like me are bound to have divided opinions over this one.