Listen to this article
Emblazoned with a garish Jeff Koons-designed cover, Lady Gaga’s latest album aims to “bring art culture into pop in a reverse Warholian expedition”. No, I don’t know what she’s on about either, but Artpop’s musical ambitions are clearer. Its best bits, liberally scattered through the album, are strongly reminiscent of French dance maestros Justice, aggressive bass-lines and synths counterbalanced by kitsch 1980s pop and rock references.
With more focus Gaga and her producers might have pulled off the intended union of dark underground club culture and colourful mainstream pop: witness the fabulously muscular production on “Aura”, or the way “Sexxx Dreams” morphs from late-night techno club to breathy 1990s R&B.
But Artpop is overlong and prone to misfires – none worse than the self-parodic “Venus”, an innuendo-laden ode to interplanetary amorous adventure that contains the awe-inspiringly dreadful line: “Uranus! Don’t you know my ass is famous?” The entrancing electropop title track hints at the really good album Artpop could have been; but its sketchy lyrics, Gaga intoning, “My artpop could mean anything,” sum up the frustratingly inconsistent end-product.