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July 16, 2020
 

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Music review: Chromatica - Lady Gaga

Download the singles, but unless you are a huge Lady Gaga fan skip buying the entire album

The Icons introduce our first music review, a column we hope to continue monthly. Your comments are welcome at info@adaicon.com

Chromatica - Lady Gaga
Reviewer: Craig Hoffman
Lady Gaga, the Queen of Pop, is out with Chromatica. It is the first album for the megastar since the popular A Star Is Born in 2018. Chromatica is Lady Gaga’s sixth consecutive number one debut in the US.

There is a significant contribution to the new work from well-regarded producer BloodPop. Also known as Michael Tucker, BloodPop has written and produced songs for Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Madonna.

The album takes influences from 1990s dance music. It leans heavily, too much at times, on electronic music and dance pop styles. Despite the overall up tempo beats, Chromatica covers Lady Gaga’s usual range of darker themes including lost love, depression and struggles with PTSD.

There are also guest collaborations from several artists including Ariana Grande and popular South Korean girl group Blackpink, meeting with varying degrees of success.

Three singles from the new album, “Stupid Love,” “Rain on Me,” and “Sour Candy” have done well on billboard charts around the world. In Japan, the album debuted at number three. Overall, Chromatica is solid if not spectacular. 

The 16 tracks provide ample amounts of summertime dance fodder for the beach and long car rides to get there. Unfortunately, several of the tunes are short, including three under a minute.

Lady Gaga is better than the music. And that’s the only thing that rescues some of the more bizarre creative choices made by her production team from disaster.

The pandemic and the artist’s poor personal health due to fibromyalgia contributed to delays and issues with the development of this new effort. That’s not an excuse for the weaker songs and effects on the album, but it clearly played a role.

Still, Lady Gaga finds moments of deep connection to the lyrics. This is heard in a spirited performance of “Sine from Above” with Sir Elton John, probably the best composition on Chromatica. 

Sadly, there is little new in terms of music, slightly disappointing from a songwriter of her stature. In the end, it’s an album for “little monsters” who will no doubt love their leader’s smooth vocals and thoughtful prose. But general pop music fans are likely to spin through the tracks wondering, “Is that it?”

Final Take:  Download the singles, but unless you are a huge Lady Gaga fan skip buying the entire album. 3.5/5 stars.

Introducing the Icon's music reviewer:
Craig Hoffman is a 1994 Ada High School graduate and a 1998 graduate of Ohio Northern University in music and later the University of Akron School of Music.in music theory.

He also holds diplomas in journalism, English language and literature, and writing for young readers. After years serving as the Lima Sister Cities representative to Harima-cho, Japan, Craig now lives and writes in the Kansai area of Japan.

He is the author of multiple eBooks and more than 2,000 blog posts on Japan, Japanese food, social media, and expat life. Craig is the 2020 Writers In Kyoto (International) Writing Competition Honorable Mention Award recipient.