Although the “A Star is Born Soundtrack” was released in 2018, the last full-length album released by Lady Gaga was her divergent record “Joanne”, which was released in 2016. When the artist discussed new tunes, the world went absolutely wild, so let’s dive in and see if “Chromatica” was worth the long wait. I don’t want to give a huge spoiler alert super early in this review, but: this record is completely remarkable, and we’re going to talk about why that is. From the jump, it is evident that Gaga is paying it back with this album, for the majority of the tunes drive with that dance, musical genre, feel. This is surrounded with tunes that are either instrumental, classical music ballads, or selections that resonate with a lighter tone and timbre, which provides a nice amount of contrast when listening to the music from front to back. Even with the varying approaches to music, Gaga makes it a point to highlight the instrumentals as well as the lyrical lines heard throughout the record. Yes, there are moments where one takes the forefront, but for the most part- everything remains rather consistent to create an over-the-top experience that favors both musical departments. Over the years, it has become evident that Gaga isn’t shy to span her voice in terms of range, spectrum, and approach; thus, it is not surprising that she utilized the same methodology as she put together this album. One minute she is belting out- giving it 1000%, the next minute she’s singing intimately, and other moments she’s using her talking voice to outline parts of the vocal line for impact. This roller coaster of instrumental and vocal techniques relates to the contour of the record in terms of theme. Gaga has talked about how she crafted this album to tell a story in the order it is displayed. When one listens to it in that order, the juxtaposition that Gaga provides heightens the experience all the more, for they are experiencing the exact notion that the music was intended to relay. Oh, and I can’t not mention the fact that Gaga includes several seamless transitions between tracks heard on the record. These moments heighten the entire album, for they help to connect her overall story that she is telling through each selection, but to put it simply: those moments just sound cool. Overall, I am giving this album a 5 out of 5 stars. This release pays homage to the earlier days of Lady Gaga, while also remaining interesting, innovative, and very on-brand for Gaga. There is something on this album for everyone, and it is no secret that Lady Gaga came back bigger and better than ever with this record.
“Sine from Above (with Elton John)”, “Babylon”, and “Enigma”
Although Lady Gaga provides a record that is jam-packed with remarkable tunes, there are still a few that rise to the top, and these are those tracks. When one makes their way through this album, it is evident that Gaga is toying with the genres that she has utilized in the past with additional emphasis placed on the classical music genre during some portions. However, these specific tunes will strike listeners on their first listen, for they are the selections that mix the perfect blend of the vast musical genres included on this record to create soft yet energetic moments that meet the world of dance music, which will just resonate to the individual. Honestly, I would listen to the masterpiece that is this album from front to back, but if you just want an introduction: I’d start here.
At first glance, the cover of this record resonates well to the Lady Gaga brand with an innovative push. The front cover depicts Gaga lying on what appears to be a city grate, which is illuminating a pink color (the same color as Gaga’s hair in the picture). In the image, Lady Gaga appears to be dressed for the 3050 “Hunger Games” as she lies on the ground just starring into the distance. The overall look of the album artwork echoes with a futuristic vibe: the primary colors being monochromatic except for the pop of pink talked about previously. With this in mind, let’s look to see how the music on the inside connects to the cover. As one listens to the record, it is evident that Gaga is paying homage to the sound she utilized in earlier parts of her career; however, as she is using older techniques, she is also throwing in dashes of innovative musical techniques that make it feel as if she is taking the pop music scene to a completely new level. This is seen through the image through the connection of Gaga’s facial expression of reflection mixed with the overall futuristic nod present in the art. Additionally, as one listens to the album, it is heard that Gaga includes softer moments (classical music interludes) and energetic moments (dance tracks). This contrast of soft to heavy sits well with the cover art, for those softer moments are represented by the pink accents, for those accents on the album, musically speaking, are what helps to convey the whole story that is “Chromatica”. Overall, I would say that both the music and the cover art are strong on their own, but together? They create a magnificent musical masterpiece.
*”Chromatica” was released on May 29th, 2020 through Interscope Records.