Renowned for her tendency to over-hype, Lady Gaga’s third album arrives with a promise to ‘blur the boundaries between pop music and art culture,’ as though she’s the first artist to ever tackle such a concept. But as with 2009’s The Fame and 2011’s Born This Way, ARTPOP proves that there’s still a massive gulf between the way in which she describes her music and what it actually sounds like. For all the typically pretentious talk of a ‘reverse Warholian expedition,’ the majority of its 15 tracks are just minor variations on the kind of bog-standard EDM pop that has flooded the charts during her two-year absence.

But while there might not be much to separate Gaga from her fellow Queen of Pop candidates in terms of its production, ARTPOP does at least begin to shift away from the usual blueprint when it comes to her lyrics. Indeed, ignore the string of overly sincere shout-outs to her army of Little Monsters and constant fame addiction metaphors and there’s plenty here that sparks intrigue, whether it’s the kind of pro-weed advocacy that almost makes Snoop Dogg appear anti-drug (“Mary Jane Holland“), the satirical ode to the fashion world’s most flamboyant creature (“Donatella“) or the pig-squealing riposte to the men in suits who have done her wrong (“Swine“). If only her actual sound was as daring as her way with words.


Parading around in a burqa as a fashion rather than a political statement, Gaga begins her ARTPOP opus with a murder confession before foolishly comparing her own lifestyle to that of every woman in Muslim culture on a chaotic Spaghetti Western-goes-dubstep stomper: [LISTEN]



Gaga’s first self-produced song only confirms how much she needs someone to rein her in as she delivers a string of labored intergalactic metaphors before barking a beginner’s guide to astronomy which includes ‘that’ Uranus joke on an erratic space-age ode to the planet of pure lust: [LISTEN]



Returning to Earth in an equally lustful mood, a gender-bending Gaga appears to resurrect her Jo Calderone alter-ego by taking both the dominant and submissive sexual roles on a suitably grinding slice of synth-pop which also acknowledges her thirst for retweets: [LISTEN]


Sexxx Dreams

Dropping the BPM but continuing to raise the temperature considerably, a slightly tipsy Gaga reveals all to the ‘convicted criminal of thought’ who’s been infiltrating her X-rated dreams on an unashamedly filthy 80s-tinged R&B pastiche which could be mistaken for a Janet Jackson sex jam: [LISTEN]

"Sexxx Dreams"

Jewels N’ Drugs

Joined by T.I., Too Short and a warp speed-breaking Twista, ARTPOP‘s biggest genre-hop finds Gaga once again admitting to an all-consuming fame addiction on a hopelessly out-of-place grimy trap-hop anthem almost certain to bewilder the majority of her little monsters: [LISTEN]

"Jewels N' Drugs"


Getting back to pop basics, Gaga demands her lover to step it up in the bedroom on a cheerleader-friendly blend of stomping handclaps, sing-along chants and cosmetic beauty treatment spiel which also suggests she’s now on commission at her local nail salon: [LISTEN]


Finally giving all the pretentious psycho-babble a rest, Gaga goes back to basics with an instantly addictive synth-led R&B riposte to the press before the self-proclaimed ‘sex genius’ gladly takes the title a little too literally in his favorite back of the club spot
Read more at [LISTEN]

Do What U Want

Finally giving all the pretentious psycho-babble a rest, Gaga plays it straight on an instantly addictive synth-led R&B riposte to the gutter press before the self-proclaimed ‘sex genius’ gladly takes the title a little too literally in his favorite back of the club spot: [LISTEN]

"Do What U Want"


Despite clubbing everyone over the head with the message behind ARTPOP, Gaga now claims that the record is entirely open to interpretation on a dreamy synth-pop number which also comes equipped with a string of ready-made excuses should it flop harder than her recent iTunes Festival set: [LISTEN]



Seemingly unaware that pigs are in fact very clean animals, Gaga takes their name in vain to describe the behavior of the filthy and depraved individuals who used her quest for fame to their advantage on a full-throttle attack which almost gets buried amongst the senses-assaulting EDM: [LISTEN]



A tongue-in-cheek homage to the fashion world that she’s spent most of her career subverting, Gaga celebrates Gianni Versace’s ‘skinny, blonde and rich bitch’ sibling while also acknowledging the extreme measures her models go to on a catwalk-friendly slab of bass-pop: [LISTEN]



Continuing the ‘fabulous’ theme, this early Madonna-esque disco throwback extols the virtues of ‘looking good and feeling fine’ while also applauding the Haus of Gaga‘s world-conquering creative vision, resulting in one of producer David Guetta‘s least hateful tracks in years: [LISTEN]


Mary Jane Holland

Ignoring the current molly obsession, Gaga instead goes old-school with an ode to the substance that’s as easy to come by on the streets of Amsterdam as ‘Russian hookers and cheap gin’ before justifying her frazzled state of mind with the excuse of her obscene wealth: [LISTEN]

"Mary Jane Holland"


Referencing Derek & The Dominostale of unrequited love, the obligatory Broadway piano-led ballad finds an inconsolable Gaga promising to give up her vices in order to save her relationship, although her slurring delivery and party-starting talk don’t exactly bode well: [LISTEN]



Drifting from Springsteen-inspired heartland rock to corny four-to-the-floor Europop on long-time producer RedOne’s sole contribution, a nomadic Gaga claims that although she can’t commit to a fixed abode, she can still commit to a certain star of Chicago Fire: [LISTEN]



Admitting to the surprise of no-one that she needs the thrill of the crowd to survive before answering the haters who criticised the 80s nostalgia of Born This Way, a strangely robotic and British-accented Gaga concludes her third album with perhaps her most obvious statement to date: [LISTEN]