RELEASED 29TH MAY 2020
Favourite track: Fun Tonight
An insanely stunning album full of variety, bursting with energy and that takes us back to original Gaga music in the best way
As most fans of Lady Gaga found themselves on hearing about the release of her latest album Chromatica I was beyond excited for this. Gaga has proven herself a jack of all trades (and a master of them too!) as she went from disco-loving Pop queen of the dancefloor with futuristic and camp hits in The Fame Monster and ARTPOP to an acoustic singer with Joanne and her role in hit film ‘A Star is Born’ alongside Bradley Cooper. She has also done a Jazz album with Tony Bennett just to prove that yes – she can do that too. But now she is back with Chromatica that brings us right back to the Gaga we were first introduced to and I hate a cliché line but…she’s better than ever!
The first track ‘Chromatica I’ is a stunning and cinematic instrumental packed with orchestral strings and brass to give it that melancholic but powerful sound. I absolutely loved this as an opening and it was quite unexpected to be honest. It then blends into the next Wonderland-inspired track, ‘Alice’ which becomes your first club hit of the album. It opens with some intense vocals and then becomes a total disco hit. The beat is strong and constant as Gaga sings over it with various vocal ad-libs that give it her usual edge. It’s a CATCHY AF song without a doubt and puts you in the mood for a night out. The struggle of being in lockdown! The next track was one of her singles ‘Stupid Love’ (which has a great music video by the way). It’s another STRONG opening with those 80s style synths and vocal FX that gives it those layers and variety. There’s loads going on and it’s chaotic but you will find yourself moving to it.
The next track ‘Rain on Me’ features another female Pop icon, Ariana Grande. This one is slightly more Pop that Disco/Club but it works (or werkkkkks). I love how it still has that Gaga low-toned, serious delivery with “rain on me” before bursting into a vibrant musical extravaganza. Ariana’s bit worked nicely, especially her ad-libs and vocal riffs. It gave it that airy, soft, feminine touch against what would have been an extremely formidable Gaga vocal and backing. This one will be played in the clubs as well let’s face it – the album is meant for it and I am in no way complaining. ‘Free Woman’ opens with a great vocal. I love the melody here as she talks about going “downtown” and how “no one knows me” there. The album tends to repeat the idea of being “free” constantly and I’m here for that message. The beat is another club/Dance one and although the lyrics are minimalistic here, it works nicely and creates that sensual dancefloor atmosphere full of rebels and beauty queens.
‘Fun Tonight’ has to be my favourite track of the album. It’s sooooo good. It starts off subtle with some vocals and then builds in the background as she sings. Her vocal work on the chorus is insanely listenable. It’s an instrument in itself here. I love how we have the “I’m not having fun tonight”, milli-second pause and then boom – we start again with the next verse. The drums are more subdued rock-kit here but then the synths and club beat kicks in with the chorus and we have an ultra-Pop anthem perfect for the dancefloor. ‘Chromatica II’ gives us another string instrumental which is a beautiful break in this album of club hits. About 30 seconds in the plucking and quickening in pace adds that element of drama.
‘911’ opens with a hard beat and warped synth but the chorus melody is catchy and I LOVE IT. Honestly I’m finding it hard to critique this album as it gives you everything and each song is unique and distinct. It’s got a level of chaotic to it for sure but the chorus keeps it grounded and structured which offers a nice contrast. I like the sort of phone sound effects here and there – nice touch. ‘Plastic Doll’ opens with high-pitched synths and then retro-Gaga vocals. This one reminded me of her old stuff. I like the layering of the instrumentals as she repeats “am I your type?”. The chorus is excellent. Enough said. BLACKPINK features on ‘Sour Candy’ which was another single. This one has that real club bass melody in the background whilst being super playful. The vocals compliment each other well in this one as it follows a classic Pop structure.
‘Enigma’ is for the club 100%. It’s one you’ve got to dance to and go wild to at the chorus. I like the vocal work in this one and the lyrics “we could be lovers, even just tonight” which I feel pays homage to a lot of the 80s style love/club songs. The next one ‘Replay’ opens with a sort of video-game style effect and then builds into a heavy bass, retro but also weirdly futuristic sound. The melody is catchy and the lyrics tell a story about “scars on her mind”. The chorus is a chaotic club one that gives me the impression that whatever she’s thinking about needs the distraction of intense club music to blur out the blues so to speak. Something we can all relate to at some point. ‘Chromatica III’ – we have the strings again- but there is the sound of rain, the sounds seem to travel around us and we’re left on edge. It blends nicely into ‘Sine From Above’ featuring Elton John which is more of a retrospective, melancholic song with beautiful vocals. Fear not though, it is still a song you can go wild too – but more passionately this time as the chorus will force you to move. Elton’s contribution is perfect here as we have two eccentric icons of different generations delivering the same message to show that this feeling is one that will keep going. The song then becomes mad with a fast-paced beat mash up at the end.
‘1000 Doves’ is another great club song that gets you in the mood to dance with that motif of freedom and love continuing with the dove imagery. The final track ‘Babylon’ is Gaga’s lyrically clever song. We have the more obvious reference to Babylon with the “ancient city style” and “body’s moving like a sculpture” but then the word play of “babble on” as she talks about “gossip”. It’s a song that just screams RuPaul and it’s giving me all the vibes. The chorus is catchy and I like the addition of the brass sound to emphasise the melody.
There is only one true use for this album – to be played in all clubs around the world on repeat until 4am at least.