Lady Gaga promised that her third album, ARTPOP, would be “the album of the millennium.” The relationship between art and pop culture is the main theme of the record; “Venus” references Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, while “ARTPOP” discusses the abstract identity of art in the lyrics: “My ARTPOP could mean anything.”
Fans of The Fame will enjoy “Applause,” ARTPOP’s lead single, and “Donatella” — both of which echo the glamour of the celebrity world that Gaga sought to share with her fans on The Fame.
“Dope” is the biggest song on the album. It showcases Gaga’s beautiful, contralto voice. However, the issues of racism and cultural appropriation surrounding “Aura” and “Gypsy” cannot be ignored. In “Aura,” Gaga uses the burqa as a fashion item, rather than as a symbol of religious faith, as she sings: “enigma popstar is fun, she wear burqa for fashion.” In “Gypsy,” Gaga claims to “love a gypsy life,” ignoring the historical and current oppression of Romani people.
Unfortunately, the production and the incredible vocals of ARTPOP are overshadowed by the insensitivity in these two songs. Gaga’s attempt to make a piece of high art has caused her to overstep the boundary between experimental artistry and downright offensiveness. Gaga’s initial artistic revolution of pop music once had potential, but that bubble has long since popped.