Album Review: Chromatica by Lady Gaga

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Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, more commonly known as Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. She came to fame with her very first studio album, The Fame, which had tracks like Just Dance and Poker Face. Since then, she has released several critically acclaimed albums. Besides the A Star Is Born soundtrack, she hasn’t released an album since 2016. Now, Lady Gaga returns with her sixth studio album, Chromatica.

The first track from the album is Chromatica I. This is just an instrumental orchestral piece that opens up the album. The album is actually split into three parts, with Chromatica I opening up the first part of the album, which has five tracks that follow.

After the opening, we have Alice which references Alice in Wonderland. After Lady Gaga sings her introduction, we have a dance beat that comes in with the consistent bass kick in the background. The one thing that I don’t think mixes well is the voice-altering effects on the second verse of the track. According to the artist, she talks about her views on life and on this track, she keeps on looking for peace in this world.

Stupid Love opens up with some inaudible voice sampling which is a very popular effect from pop and electronic artists. While this track talks a lot about letting go of the past and opening yourself up to a relationship, there is also another meaning to the track. Lady Gaga talks about how the music video can be interpreted as a political war between the two sides. She says that the country is so divided and hostile towards each other.

Next, Rain On Me tones it down a bit, and also brings in Ariana Grande. After the main chorus opens up, it definitely seems like something Daft Punk could have created during the Discovery era. This is another dance-like track with a decent electronic bass line. Lady Gaga also mentioned how this track is a metaphor about how she used to drink to numb the pain.

Free Woman is the next track and has more of an electronic and house vibe to it. This song is about empowering women and about being stronger. Lady Gaga was sexually assaulted by a producer and she decided that she isn’t a survivor or victim, she’s a free woman. She also mentions that she doesn’t need a man.

The last track from the first part of the album is Fun Tonight. While fans thought this was about her ex-fiancé, this track was about herself and the negative mindset she was trying to fight. She also makes a reference to her past single called Paparazzi.

The second part of the album opens up with Chromatica II. This is another short instrumental orchestral track. In the last few seconds of the track, it changes up and becomes more playful in nature. The second part includes another five tracks after the opener.

911 definitely has an 80s pop aesthetic to it. The transition from the last track to this track is quite an interesting and outfield switch. On this track, Lady Gaga talks about her mental state at different times. According to her interview with Apple Music, this track talks about the different antipsychotic medications she has taken.

Plastic Doll opens up with some voice-altering effects from Lady Gaga. Since she ends the introduction with the word “technologic”, it oddly reminded me of the track Technologic by Daft Punk. Lady Gaga compares herself to a plastic doll, that represents all the stereotypes of what a perfect pop star is like. She also mentions how it hurts the music when society tries to dehumanize these artists.

Next, we have Sour Candy that features BLACKPINK. This track talks about how you should accept your partner for their flaws and mistakes, and not try to change them. BLACKPINK also talks about how women have been expected to be nice in all situations. She fights back by saying she’ll behave and act however she would like. During the second verse, Lady Gaga does some spoken word parts instead of her regular singing.

Enigma was one of the first planned tracks for the album and was originally going to be the title of the album. This is another electronic and dance like track which seems to be the common direction of the album. According to Lady Gaga, this is supposed to be a bridge between this album and her controversial 2013 album.

Replay marks the last track from the second part of the album. There’s a small electronic breakdown after the chorus that is so catchy and entrancing. I don’t know why, but this is a track that I keep gravitating back to when I revisit this album. She keeps mentioning the monsters inside someone, which could be a reference to a previous album, The Fame Monster.

We finally arrive at the last part of the album with Chromatica III, which sounds more adventurous in taste. This is the third and final part of the album and includes three tracks after this short introduction.

Sine From Above features Elton John and it is also the longest track on the album, a little over four minutes in length. It starts out slow but eventually grows in intensity and tempo. After the end of the first chorus, it breaks into a house-like beat. Elton John also comes in after the first chorus and he talks about how he felt immortal when he was younger. Elton John told Lady Gaga that she not only needs to take care of her artistry, but she also needs to take care of herself.

Lady Gaga is asking for a hand on 1000 Doves. On this track, she talks about how she is hurting in life currently and wants someone to help lift her up. She wants this person to set her free, whether that be about her ex or just free her from the pain.

The last track from the album is Babylon. According to Lady Gaga herself, this track is about gossip and how it made her feel like less of a person. She also does a play on words with “Babylon” and “babble on.” Now, she embraces the gossip and just moves along. Although, this is supposed to be the dance celebration for the end of the album.

I’m pretty excited to see the direction Lady Gaga will take in the future. I am glad she experimented and moved in a different direction for this album. Hopefully, we will see more of this from her for upcoming projects.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Alice, Rain On Me, Sour Candy, Replay

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