Lady Gaga / Streamline, Interscope Records
Fresh off of an Oscar win from hit film “A Star is Born,” anticipation was building for Lady Gaga’s next commercial release. Prior to her role in the film, she offered an album that saw her return to her roots with 2016’s “Joanne.” The album left more to be desired from Mother Monster as fans wanted her to return to the dance pop music that ushered Gaga to stardom.
From pregnancy rumors to song leaks to rescheduling release dates due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans were eagerly awaiting Gaga’s sixth studio album and a return to her pop and house music roots. Since the release of single “Stupid Love’s” music video, fans were left wondering what would lay ahead in the newly-teased world of “Chromatica.”
The video tells viewers that tribes are fighting for Chromatica. Following the release of the video, Gaga confirmed that Chromatica is an imaginary world, separate from earth. With the album’s release, Gaga takes fans on a journey through this world that she’s created.
The cohesiveness and organization of “Chromatica” is one aspect of Gaga’s craft that stands out most with this album. It is organized into three acts, appropriately named “Chromatica I, II and III.” The transitions between various songs, most notably “Chromatica II” and “911,” make for a smooth listen as you go from track to track.
Although the album sees Gaga’s return to upbeat dance pop, don’t be fooled; the album is about heartbreak and a journey of perseverance that Gaga has endured throughout the last several years of her life. “Chromatica” can best be described as Ally Maine from “A Star is Born” meets “ARTPOP,” Gaga’s fifth album.
Act I of “Chromatica” entails Gaga’s struggles with fame and love. Gaga’s personal and public struggles are the main subject in the lyrics of the songs that are found in act I. Realization and the need to push forward are also underlying themes of the act.
In “Alice,” Gaga is searching for her Wonderland and seeks to be set free from her own mind with the lyrics, “My name isn’t Alice/ But I’ll keep looking for Wonderland.”
The second single from the album, “Rain on Me,” sees Gaga team up with pop star Ariana Grande for a song that can be described as pure pop perfection. The collaboration is an unlikely one, but one that sees two talented stars band together and sing through struggle with the lyrics, “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive/ Rain on me.”
“Chromatica’s” second act ups the hype even more. Upbeat, techno-influenced songs make any Gaga fan’s dreams come true as Mother Monster continues to unleash the music that put her on the map. As act I can be described as the struggle, act II can be described as what comes after: acceptance.
The infectious techno beat coupled with futuristic production are the quintessence of “Chromatica.” The lyrics further press on Gaga’s self-realization.
“Plastic Doll” touches on who is underneath Gaga the popstar. Over the years, Gaga has stunned with various outlandish outfits, but she is more than just a “Plastic Doll ” to be made up and dressed up. “Sour Candy,” featuring K-Pop group BLACKPINK, is the standout of the second act. Sung by all females, the lyrics “Come, come unwrap me … so sweet when I get a little angry” represent who Gaga is on the inside, when she rids herself of the theatrics and eccentricity that make Gaga, Gaga.
The third act of “Chromatica” may be the shortest on the album, but that does not mean it does not stack up to the rest of the album. With an unexpected collaboration with music icon Sir Elton John, this act certainly does not pale in comparison. Healing and moving on are essential themes of the third act, which makes for an excellent close to the journey Gaga has taken us on.
A standout from the final act is “Sine from Above,” featuring Elton John. The duo’s vocals mix together effortlessly. Lyrically, the song takes the word “sign” and replaces it with the word “sine,” which is a sound. Gaga expresses that above all things, music has always been there for her and has lifted her up throughout all her struggles.
“Chromatica” has something for everyone. Whether you are a longtime Gaga fan, someone who frequents the dance club or simply a music lover, you will surely enjoy the ride. Gaga’s evolution as an artist is something to marvel at. The album is “ARTPOP’s” bigger, better sister. Mother Monster has done it again; “Chromatica” was well worth the wait.