First Listen: Lady Gaga – Chromatica (2020)

At midnight, Lady Gaga released her long-awaited sixth studio album, ‘Chromatica’. Prior to the release, ‘Stupid Love’ was released in February, ‘Rain On Me’ with Ariana Grande was released last week and still at #1 on most worldwide charts, and ‘Sour Candy’, the collaboration with Blackpink, was dropped 24 hours prior to the album’s release.

I streamed every song, and wrote comments in under 280 characters about every song after I listened to it. At the end, I will give my own summary of the album and what I think of it as a whole.

1. Chromatica I
Pretty standard intro. Just needs David Attenborough talking over it and you’ve got a nature documentary. 7/10

2. Alice
I really want to like this, but the constant changing of sound depths and the robotic voice in the second verse is annoying. Plus it sounds like it’s been done before. More upbeat than I expected though. 6/10

3. Stupid Love
Aged like a cup of tea in a rainstorm. It’s still fun to sing and it’s already got a nice familiar air to it but it feels so dated. Probably would have worked better if the album hadn’t been 3 months later. 6/10 

4. Rain On Me (feat. Ariana Grande)
The backing track is good, although there’s too much overlap on lyrics for me. There’s just too much going on and I didn’t like it last week and I still don’t now. The music deserves better. 3/10 

5. Free Woman
Love the message. I really don’t like her two tone vocals in the chorus though. It’s not quite dancey enough to dance to, but I can see it being impossible to sing. I’m not a big fan again. 4/10 

6. Fun Tonight
I quite like this one, and I noticed the references 👀. It feels less overproduced than the others and I could listen to it myself. 8/10 

7. Chromatica II
Piss off, all the energy in the album has now gone. The flow has gone. What pop album needs 3 of these? 0/10 

8. 911
Again, it feels a bit overproduced. I also got bored and switched off. 3/10 

9. Plastic Doll
I like it, but at times there feels like there’s something missing. I like thr chorus structure. This album is starting to feel like the same song over and over again with grandiose OTT orchestral moments. 6/10 

10. Sour Candy (feat. Blackpink)
Going against this whole album, this is one of Gaga’s best songs. Blackpink has that effect on music. It all goes well together and I like the darkpop energy. 10/10 

11. Enigma
Ok this is my sort of music. Classic synths, strong beat and slow, long-reaching vocals? I really like it, although it feels too long (even tho it’s only 02:59). 8/10 

12. Replay
It’s not Tamta, but it’s not awful. It’s not catchy enough for me, but it’s better than a lot of this album. 7/10 

13Chromatica III
Didn’t notice it, thought it was the intro to the next song. 0/10

14. Sine From Above (feat Elton John)
I love how different this is. It feels very worldbeat, it feels too good for an album almost. The piano, violin, ELTON JOHN, the breakbeats – WHAT??????? Its a mess but also ethereal heaven. 10/10 

15. 1000 Doves
It’s kept the classical energy of Elton, and its uplifting, and I like the dance beats. But it’s missing something, and at times I find myself being annoyed by her voice again. 😂 7/10 

16. Babylon
This has big dominatrix energy. I love the brass in the background, and I feel like I’m swishing on a Greek island with Abba. I like this, and it’s the only one which could really have finished the album. 8/10 

Translates into an average of 5.8/10 for each song.

The album fits well together, but the interludes are unneccessary and annoying. It’s quite weak at times but for me the high points are the collaborations with Elton and Blackpink. I was underwhelmed a bit by the end result; I didn’t feel like I was listening to anything new or outstanding – from the messages coming from Gaga and her management, it seemed like we would be transported to a new world. I wasn’t. It’s a good , solid album for her current fans, who won’t say a bad word about her and will love whatever she produces, but if I’m being completely honest here, I can’t see this album being remembered too fondly a few years down the line by a wider audience. Parts of it are already ageing badly for me.

Overall: 65/100

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