November 29th, 2013 12:25 EST
Lady`s Gaga`s 'ArtPop' is Her 'Sergeant Pepper`s Lonely Hearts Club Band!'
Is that a bass stick thumping around on Donatello? Those buzz-saw, ripple synth-pop grooves, appear to be the predominant instrumental hook on Lady Gaga`s newly created, misunderstand masterpiece, ArtPop. The critics have been stupidly panning ArtPop, but I didn`t pay this too much mind; actually, I didn`t read any reviews penned by anyone I`d consider as a serious Pop Critic (as a matter of fact).
Well, some of these guys are in semi-retirement, or chewing on some hebetic sod which thrives in greener pastures, this is forgivable, given the dodgy status Pop Music (reduced to a junk pile) has assumed over say, the last two decades. Nonetheless, these dinosaurs should stir themselves from hibernation and take a beaming notice of what The Lady is up to on this new effort.
To start off, I took her for a test drive and kicked the tires a bit, having secured a tangible CD edition (not itunes) at this new Whole Foods (Arbor Trail) close to where I live (I couldn`t find it at StarBucks). That is, I was curious about the way the record sounded, so, I had to check out its production value, instrument separation, clarity of production (or lack of it), feel of the lyrics, or really anything I could think of, such as, it was The Record Plant in Hollywood, Ca. that got the honors.
Okay, I`ve yet to listen to ArtPop on my new Toyota Corolla LE (I`m rich too, Stefani!) , which has a killer stereo system (I suppose, it`s Quadraphonic!) One instantaneous response (of mine) is that Stefani Germanotta absolutely belts out these tunes like a Vienna Opera Queen, causing me to posit a righteous claim, the vocals are it`s crowning achievement!
And her vocal overdubs are RICH, comparably clever as The Fab Four on The White Album; as a matter of fact, I had to listen to The Whitey and to Pepper last night, since I was starting to conjure an epiphany, not ill-conceived I don`t believe, that ArtPop is Gaga`s Pepper.
Naturally, Peter Blake`s Pepper cover is the greatest Pop Art Cover ever created (nobody will ever surpass it), but Hell, Jeff Coons` cool and sexy cover (and images in the booklet) gives Blake a good run for his money. I hear, Stefani dropped 25 million on the record, and it looks like it, but does it sound like it also?
I`m certain the music measures up to the fantastic art work and packaging; I can tell how much hard work has been slammed into ArtPop, I do this stuff a lot myself (those of us who do this are obsessed and possessed). The songwriting and recording are certainly up to snuff; there`s a lot of crackle and pop in the mix, not a shake and bake, not an Overnight Sensation, or say, an Instant Karma, written and recorded in a dizzying 24 hour time period.
The kinks had to be worked out on these songs, and that`s exactly what it sounds like was happening here with Ms Germanotta. Okay, so I`m hearing, sales have been a bit lukewarm initially, only totaling a little over a quarter of a million in the first week or so, but that will change pretty quick here, as we move into the Christmas Season (hell, Friendo, today is Black Friday, the craziest shopping day of the year!)
ArtPop would make a perfect stocking-stuffer! I`m gonna get 5 or 6 myself to hand out to Friends and this will boast Lady Gaga`s sales immensely. My theory, is that as her fans, and anybody really, wrap their heads around what she`s up to here, they`ll begin to warm up to this fresh, new product.
This is precisely what happened with her first effort, The Fame, which fermented sluggishly at first, bubbling under, then percolating Chug-A-Lug, gaining momentum,gradually building steam (like a huge treble clef snowball); then magically, nearly every song on the record morphs into a humongous radio and nightclub MegaHit. I don`t see ArtPop as any different, even though Gaga`s going after something quite a bit different here; it`s just much more Arty, better actually.
I didn`t notice that the critics (no Big Guns were amongst them anyways!) were getting what Stefani is up to here; what I ultimately did (to gain my understanding), was to pull out my trusty copy of Pop Art, by Lucy R. Lippard, which I`ve thumbed through100s of times before. Eureka! Gaga has inverted the process - Brilliant! Purportedly, in the early `60s, Andy Warhol had tried to fuse the ordinary into art, which had been traditionally deemed as Elitist.
What Gaga is doing here (I fathom), is to reverse the process, and to infuse the extraordinary into the common, thus we now have a new form, Art Pop. That`s an original concept and it may take a while for this Rubic`s Cube of a riddle to sink in; thus, we have some understandable hesitation, as people scratch their heads and try to put this together. An arduous study of Art History is your best way to get a grip (on our little Genius)!
I suggest you order a newer edition of Pop Art on Amazon, if you`d really like to get up to speed with this rich, skinny Pop Star (who still hasn`t fizzled out completely)! And don`t forget, Andy worked with silkscreens, but Gaga gigs in sound collages (even if it still sounds like Disco Dance Stuff to me), big difference.