I've seen so many people talking about how ARTPOP is a basic title, akin to an album being called "DANCE MUSIC" or "POP/ROCK." People are saying it only has one layer of meaning, which is disappointing for Gaga, and then other people are saying it's far too pretentious and is taking itself too seriously. So let's explore what the album title really means.
POP ART was a style of art popularized by Andy Warhol. Pop Art referred to commercialized art. Warhol mass-produced images of cultural significance, making the same image over and over and over again until it took on a new meaning, became a work of art in itself, became a comment on the commercialization of art and the over-consumerism of society.
Don't you see how this is exactly what Gaga's been doing her entire career? She appropriates cultural images, taking a little from Bowie, a bit from Madonna, some influence from Grace Jones and some musical cues from Springsteen. She called her album THE FAME even though she had none, crafting songs about being rich and being followed by paparazzi, even though paparazzi didn't care about her at all in the beginning and she was broke. She gave us the total summation of what we expected a popstar to be -- she was dumb, platinum blonde, stick thin, and she made fun songs about dancing in a club.
But then, she started to reveal what she was doing. Her performance art took on a much more meaningful aura with Paparazzi at the VMAs, where she did a piece about how society clamors for the destruction of its blonde icons. The Fame Monster era, about the dark side of fame, and The Born This Way era, about loving yourself and standing up for what you believe in, followed. She lost a whole lot of fans because she'd suddenly become too artistic?
If you watch old interviews, from back when Just Dance was taking off, she's just as pretentious as she is today. She talks about her art and her craft and her meaningful lyrics in the same terms as she does today. She talks about changing the meaning of pop culture, but all she was doing was singing about dancing and getting drunk in a club. Her attitude hasn't changed. Check out this interview from early 2009 on The View. The only difference is, now she's built a career that can back it up.
In a LM.com chat, Gaga said she wanted to turn Andy Warhol's concept of art inside out. Thus, POP ART has become ART POP. Yes, what she's referring to is her specific genre of music, that is, pop music with an artistic meaning to it, but she's also referring to Warhol's whole idea -- that mass-produced cultural imagery has inherent artistic meaning, because the act of creating it gives it meaning and it becomes a commentary on society.
So let's think back to Gaga and Andy. You were all crying and screaming for her to return to The Fame era. Who remembers this?
If these aren't some of the most, quote, "pretentious" things she's ever done, I don't know what to tell you. She made symbolism-filled concert intros for THE FAME BALL in the style of old Andy Warhol films, called herself Candy Warhol, and made a commentary on how we expect our pop stars to be dumb, lifeless, and industry-controlled.
This was for THE FAME BALL. This is the Gaga you were all clamoring for her to return to. Her "pretentious," Warhol-inspired artistic statements are not a new development. She has ALWAYS been about pop art, has always been about poking fun at society's expectations of fame and celebrity.
I've seen people fretting about ARTPOP because she promised the era would be fun and colorful. Seriously? Check it:
You really think Lady frickin Gaga won't be able to come up with fun, colorful outfits and/or videos that reflect this theme?
So now she's chosen an album that signals her return to the same sort of aesthetic she had at the very beginning. And yet, she's pretentious, she's lost sight of what she was doing at the beginning of her career, the title's basic, etc.
Someone want to explain to me, IN DETAIL, why people are losing their sh** about this title? "It's pretentious" is not good enough. She's always been pretentious. She's always been "pretentious" ABOUT EXACTLY THE KINDS OF THINGS THIS TITLE REFERS TO. It's not fun like she used to be? I love Andy Warhol and I think an era based around his image could be a hell of a lot of fun, plus, she's always been Warhol-esque. So. Anyone?
EDIT: And yes, I know I wrote an "essay." Don't try to tell me I'm reaching if you don't bother reading the whole thing. It won't kill you.
ELLIE + ROBYN + BEYONCÉ
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
My god, it's like a more artist, yet enjoyable Born This Way era.
Thanks for that though, Twai. It was definitely interesting to read - i never even considered she could have been 'playing' us from the start - I never sat down and seriously thought about it.
But I never doubted the era, I know Gaga would have something in store, she's always been like that and never failed to surprise. Ironically her portrayal of the 'typical popstar' and the depth of her movements have proven she's not just another Popstar.
But that's why I love this bitch and that's why she's my Queen.
That's what is so brilliant about The Fame and The Fame Monster. They did a good job of keeping a Warholian sensibility in balance with mainstream influences (all with tongue planted in cheek)
However, this ARTPOP thing is just her saying "OMG WARHOL GUYZ". She's done it before, but at least it was slightly more subtle.
I don't want the themes and images of The Fame back.
I want the music, and the biting social commentary that wasn't preachy.
And ARTPOP just seems like a more pretentious Fame album
If you really think there's nothing deeper than "OMG WARHOL U GUYZ" then 'pretentious' is not the word you're looking for. That would be juvenile. But Gaga knows a lot about Warhol, so to think all she's doing is name-dropping him does her a great disservice and just makes you look stupid. Think about his work with Marilyn and his "Grief" series with Jackie Kennedy. So much to be mined for pop music application. You CANNOT tell if she will or won't make use of it just based on the title
ELLIE + ROBYN + BEYONCÉ
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
I'm one of the people who think she planned out all this from the very beginning. It's all do coincidentally linked & perfectly handled. No other artist could've pulled off going from The Fame to eventually getting to Born This Way in less than three years. She constructed a way to smoothly transition her image & music piece-by-piece in my opinion. That's why I'm so excited for the new album. I'm expecting her to return to The Fame image & sometime during the era receive "backlash" & yet again symbolize the decay of her public image & the "blonde popstar". It seems like a cycle.
People don't give her enough credit. This girl is SMART. She did her research.