Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Around Elsewhere's way, song for song, album for album, costume for costume and now movie for movie, Lady Gaga has it all over Lady Madonna.
And if you doubt it then just slide this terrific dancefloor-cum-brainfood album alongside Madonna's best which is Ray of Light by some clear margin (and 22 years ago).
Very different albums with different career intentions, but Madonna rarely returned to that style and Gaga has – with the exceptions of digressions with Tony Bennett etc – been a frontrunner star whose music has more sonic depth and punch than much of Madonna's.
And here, with clattering but not irritating beats and programmes, great pop songs (Stupid Love early on, the Cher-like 1000 Doves towards the end of these 16 tracks in just 43 minutes) and a momentum which rarely falters, Lady Gaga brings home an album which is uplifting and rewards loud play.
Yes, there is the usual crowd of producers and co-writers crammed like students in a phonebox (old man joke) and of course like most pop stars these days she would like to advance some overarching and virtuous concept (something about a Utopian place where everyone is equal).
There are some very pointed lyrics here too” check Plastic Doll.
But this sounds utterly coherent and the songs – which almost breathlessly stumble over each other – are just terrific even while their references in dance-pop (Abba, Aqua), mirrorball electronica, referencing a kind of monochrome motorik (911) and synth-pop are familiar.
If it all becomes a bit same-same over the duration – the small title track interpolations of strings only give you time for a glass of water – then you probably have to pace yourself and take it on as an album, one side at a time.
The guests (Ariana Grande, BlackPink, Sir Elton sounding autobiographical on the uplifting Sine from Above) also slide in seamlessly, and you'd have to observe her timing in the Northern Hemisphere is impeccable.
This is summertime fun for a time when people – for better or considerably worse in some places – are starting to get in close contact with each other again.
Great singer and a fine party album, so let's not blame her for spikes in Covid in clubbers and party animals up in the north.
You can hear this album at Spotify here.