(5 / 5)
Lady Gaga’s delayed sixth solo album “Chromatica” dropped today (29th May 2020) – an unashamedly commercial dance-meets-pop record – destined to be THE summer soundtrack for all those “freedom from lockdown” garden parties.
If you dig Madonna’s Vogue-era and Donna Summer/disco fodder/electro pop, then this is for you.
On Gaga’s first solo release since 2016’s “Joanne”, Pop Princess Ariana Grande, K-Pop stars Blackpink and veteran ‘Rocketman’ Elton John guest. But GaGa’s voice is King, or should I say Queen, here. Faultless, powerful and full of passion.
Pushed back from its planned April release due to the global Coronavirus crisis, these 16 tracks run for a second under 43 minutes, and are really well worth the wait.
The songs are about dancing through pain and about the healing process, so says Lady G, having been through the hell of chronic pain from the condition Fybromyalgia.
One of the most talented vocalists anywhere on the planet right now, she delivers a sparkling showcase of vocal greatness.
“Chromatica I” is a dramatic 59 second orchestral instrumental intro’, before disco Diva GagGa delivers, “Alice”. Quite Madonna-ish. A good start.
Lead single “Stupid Love” dives into electro-pop territory. A tad Eurythmics-ish and an uber-commercial, hooky track. A collaboration with Sweden’s Max Martin.
Ms. Grande guests on the fabulous “Rain On Me”, which weighs in at a radio-perfect 3.01 and harks back to disco days and the likes of Donna Summer.
Ripe for an Ibeeefa club banger is “Free Woman”, if there’s any action at all over there this year, after the CV-19 crisis.
Abba-esque “Fun Tonight” is a winner – before 41 seconds of the second of three orchestral instrumental interludes.
“911” has that 70s disco vibe and a quirky feel, while “Plastic Doll” is a pleasant little ditty, where the Lady name-checks herself.
“Sour Candy”, with K-Pop group Blackpink, takes us back again to a Madonna sound. “Enigma” has got the funk and would have been a tight fit as a duet with George Michael, were he still with us. Another cracking vocal.
“Replay” didn’t do it for me. Track 13 delivers the last instrumental interlude, “Chromatica III”, before the fabulous Elton John duet “Sine From Above” – and yes, I am spelling Sine as it is on the record.
The first slower cut of the 16 tracks, and on this one, songwriters’ credits number no less than 13 individuals. A dramatic, anthemic, electro-pop banger which veers off into a slight drum ‘n’ bass section at the end. Elton sounds fabulous, and this pairing is a vocal dream team.
The penultimate track, “1000 Doves” is a neat job, before the closer, “Babylon”, which heavily channels Madonna – and also has Pet Shop Boys vibes.
The production is clean and unfussy, and it is very much an “even listen”. Production credits include Skrillex, BloodPop, Axwell and Madeon.
The material is on-point with a vintage bent. But the focus is surely going to be on that magnificent voice, and it rings out as clear as a bell for 16 cuts. Faultless in power, control, pitch and tone.
There is no pushing the envelope or taking risks here. No blurring of the genres. This is electronic dance and pop music at its best. No need to analyse these songs. Just get on up and shake that booty. After a few months of house arrest, we all sure do need the exercise.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady GaGa the 34-year-old New York-born superstar, is said to have a net worth of circa $320 million in 2020.
Methinks the sales and song publishing royalties of this baby will boost those coffers big time, not to mention TV shows and movie soundtrack deals for some of these tracks.
“Chromatica” deserves to be a GaGargantuan hit. See what I did there?
STOP PRESS: “Chromatica” is now the UK’s fastest selling album of 2020, after zooming straight to the number one spot on 5th June – outselling the entire Top 10 combined! The album is expected to score a number one in the US chart next week.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’