Retro beats and simple catchy melodies: Lady Gaga returns to the dance floor with “Chromatica”. But that’s not the main reason that makes the 34-year-old’s sixth album special.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – aka Lady Gaga – has often spoken about her trauma. The 34-year-old American pop musician talked about bullying, depression, chronic pain and rape. It is important to know when listening to their new album “Chromatica”. Because the processing of these experiences runs through the songs – even if you hardly notice it when you listen to electro pop.
Duet with Ariana Grande
For example in the single “Rain on Me”, a collaboration with Ariana Grande. “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive”, the musicians sing and dance through the rain in the music video, which is probably a metaphor for tears of the two women.
Grande has had bad experiences even in her career. It’s no coincidence that “Rain on Me” was released on the third anniversary of the suicide bombing that killed 22 people and the assassins at a Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, 2017.
With this song, the foundation stone has been laid for the theme that defines “Chromatica”: dance with pain and make it bearable. An album like therapy.
Back to the electropop
After excursions into folk music, Lady Gaga returns musically to what she became famous for in 2008: Electropop with simple, crashing melodies. “Stupid Love”, for example, the first single release from their sixth studio album, is a classically pounding Lady Gaga dance number with thundering synthesizers.
In addition to this song, some other songs are quite catchy, there is a lot of smooth Eurodance and blaring beats. Many of the songs are reminiscent of dance pop from the 90s. Unfortunately, even a duet with Elton John (“Sine from Above”) cannot keep up with their old hits like “Bad Romance” or “Born This Way”.
Theatrical music videos
Anyone who knows Lady Gaga knows, however, that her pop music concept draws even more than others from performance and what else is there besides music. The theatricality belongs to Lady Gaga as a total work of art, and so it is not only the message but also the visual that makes “Chromatica” charming.
In the first two music videos, Gaga celebrates a 90s aesthetic with neon colors, platform boots and latex. “Stupid Love” looks like a retro video game. A red and blue team fight against each other in the desert until Gaga – with her pink “Kindness Punks” – silences them and ultimately makes them dance together.
That could be a political comment, Gaga said in an interview with Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe. “The way I see the world is that we are divided, and that creates a very tense environment that is very extremist.”
The processing of trauma, which still penetrates through the snappiest beats, is also interesting here. “Gotta quit this cryin ‘, nobody’s gonna heal me if I don’t open the door”, says “Stupid Love” at one point (for example: I have to stop crying, nobody will heal me if I don’t do it myself open the gate).
Motivation through self-love
In the song “911”, Gaga sings, as she also explained in an interview with Lowe, about the antipsychotic medication that she takes. Behind it is the concept of “radical acceptance”, says the musician: “I know that I have mental problems, I know that these sometimes lead to me not working as a human being, but I accept that this happens.”
“Free Woman” is about the singer gaining control over herself – which is also an occasion to dance: “This is my dancefloor I fought for”.
Lady Gaga repeatedly emphasizes in interviews that self-love and kindness motivated her work. In addition, her “Born This Way” foundation has recently started to operate a digital platform on which young people can describe their experiences with bullying. (Lisa Forster, dpa)