ARTPOP is potentially missing an F at the front.
The concept of ARTPOP started as a metaphor for how Lady Gaga has helped shape the current wave of popular culture music and fashion. She mentions this in the albums first single Applause, but what started as a self-exploration into narcissism and leadership slowly fades into following dated ‘Pop’ conventions.
Despite an array of ‘OK’ produced tracks, what fails here is a lack of a cohesive message or idea as to what ARTPOP is or wants to be. It mostly sounds like a compilation of rejected tracks from her previous two exceptional albums. The real kicker is that all the great detailed elements from previously leaked demos are now watered down on the final versions featured on the album. None of the songs are longer than four and a half minutes, potentially to save money on radio edits, or the possibility of each song being a single.
The lyrics are poor quality even for Top 40 standards. This is especially noticeable in the song Donatella where Gaga pays homage to the celebrity designer with ‘Walk down the runway/But don’t puke/It’s okay/You just had a salad today’. This sounds more like she is creating a weak commentary rather than expressing her love and admiration for one of her idols (perhaps idle).
The low points of the album are in the tracks Jewels N’ Drugs, which could easily have been a Nicki Minaj reject, and potentially was kept on for the high production cost. The other is the aforementioned Donatella. Though Applause was not initial going to be featured on the album, it proves to be one of the stronger tracks due to its oddness. The biggest highlight, Dope, is a wonderful Billy Joel-type ballad that luckily does not fit into the sex-crazed themes heard previously.
ARTPOP is not at all a worthless album, but unfortunately due to its hype will more than likely disappoint and ostracize Gaga’s Little Monsters as it lacks enough originality or even weirdness to be interesting.
ARTPOP = 3.5/5
Download: Dope, Aura, G.U.Y.
The first thing I’d like to say is I’m not writing this as a pity party or for validation. To be honest I think a big part of my personality is I find it very therapeutic to be open and honest. Lately it’s been brought to my attention by a couple of people that I lack an openness to any sort of real emotion and rather I hide behind a false sense of happiness to protect myself. In part I will say I do tend to act quite happy to enable happiness in those around me and for my own indulgent benefit, the other part is despite my charms, wit and talent, I am not a very deep person and simple things make me laugh, be goofy and act out.
The one thing I never do seem to get right though is relationships. Whether it is meaningful and deep friendships or love. I think the major reason for this is I am a self-preserver and protector. As a friend in University told me one night hammered off his face at the Heart and Crown, “Hotness wise Marc, you’re maybe a 6.5 or 7, not bad looking but with enough flaws to only attract a certain type of guy.” This spoke volumes of the type of people I surrounded myself with for years that aided in stunting my self-esteem.
As a child I was chubby, shy, and unable to understand what it took to make friends. My family was very close nit but very protective of each other. We fought, laughed and always spent time together, and for this reason I never really saw any point to knowing anyone outside this circle. It wasn’t until high school that I really wanted to be accepted, have friends and try new things.
Before I even understood I was gay or even what that meant I was made fun for it. Even at my own prom a kid, Michel Brusseau was his name yelled at me and called me a faggot in front of all my friends, just because I danced to a Spice Girls song. I was so shocked and ashamed with myself that I didn’t have the courage to stand up to him. Luckily my friend, Melissa Baker intervened on my behalf and told him where he could go.
Flash-forward to University; this is where I really opened up, had funky blue, purple, white hair, experimented with both boys and girls and realized who I was. The sad thing was that strength of character still hadn’t developed and unfortunately thought, because I was out, things would get easier. But man-oh-man, I realized that in a community where pretty much everyone has been brought down and made to feel ashamed of who they are, are even harder on their own. I believed the hype that your self worth was tied to having a boyfriend, and with that I dated a pack of ninny’s for validation. The thing was I knew I wasn’t a stud, but always wanted the confidence and looks of oh, Jeff Fennell, the guy my friends and I swooned over who worked at one of the local bars.
Now we move into the past year. The thing is I’ve grown a lot over the years. Since I turned 30 I finally learned to let go of the early crap in my life, enjoy and love myself. I know the saying that you always find someone or something when you least expect it and when you are not looking for it, and to an extent I agree. My last boyfriend, the wonderful Matthew and I dated for near five years, and I randomly met him my first week clubbing in London, UK. The thing is I feel I’ve been allowing emotions, my emotions and caring nature of other people to cloud my judgment of what it is I really need.
Let’s break it down. These are the men in the last year who have shaped either my renewed faith in friendship in the community or rather why I don’t take dating too seriously.
Boy 1: Luke. Okay Luke pretty much (and excuse the term) is a “Rice Queen”. This was probably the first clear sign as to why it would never happen. I had seen him around even when I was attached and thought he was fiiiiine. We met when he was with his ex at Pride. I didn’t pursue this because I don’t chase married men. Once I found out he was single I asked if he wanted to hang out via a Facebook message. Never received a response. We ran into each other one night at a bar and had a great time chatting, laughing and getting hammered. I walked him and his friend home and the conversation turned to them talking about work or something and when I tried to hug him goodnight he awkwardly shook my hand. I was extremely devastated and was getting a headache from the cheap beer I had all evening. I went home, tried to take a Tylenol and spilled not only the bottle on my bedroom floor but water as well. I wrote a “Sorry” note to my roommate and went to sleep. Of course I woke up to him frantically trying to wake me thinking I had just tried to kill myself.
Boy 2: Adam: I went to the UK for an internship at a fashion magazine and met Adam. He was cold, sarcastic, thin, intelligent and odd. He reminded me so much of my ex. We had a standing Wednesday date night and on the third one we heavily made out at a G-A-Y bar in Soho. Date four happened two days after my Uncle passed away and after a hellish day dealing with my boss at my second job in London. This of course was the day Adam decided to tell me, after me asking how he felt it was going that he didn’t want to pursue anything more than a friendship. The stresses of everything made me very quiet, and finally lead to me breaking down in the pub. Upon reflection the amount of pressure I was putting on myself to be a success seemed to be the reason for the tears.
Boy 3: Scott: Scott is a lovely Scottish comedian, whom I adored seeing in London. I think we really helped take each other’s minds off of the awful shit going on in our professional lives. The trouble was that it was very much a “Lost in Translation” meeting. There was a lot of caring but we knew it was not going to last forever.
Boy 4: Ken: Ken and I started off physical. Our first date was roughly 24 hours and most of that time was spent in bed. This was the first time in years I had truly wonderful sex and actually felt connected with another guy. He is bright, talented, driven, curious and interested in the World. However, being a military man, is very disciplined to have things a certain way, at a certain time and only when he feels he can make availability. After three months and only 4 or 5 dates, I decided I needed to be direct about compromise. His response was “I’m not looking for a relationship”. And that was that.
Boy 6 and 7: Mark and Joe: My favourite Ottawa couple. These men have all that RuPaul looks for: Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. Never have I had so much fun getting to know new people. They got me running again and generally just enjoying meeting the wonderful people they always have around them. Plus they are not bad to look at either. I sometimes am far too in awe of them.
Boy 8: Mason: I met Mason on the rugby boat cruise. He is one of the sweetest and cutest men around in my opinion. There is no romantic inclination between the two of us but I bring him up because his energy, spirit and drive that really inspires me. He is one of those people that you go ‘I just want that person in my life, he’s so awesome.’
Boy 9: Ben: Ben was someone I met while working at the New Edinburgh location of Bridgehead one Saturday. I served him coffee and a smile and he subsequently found me on OkCupid. We chatted for a week before he told me he was seeing someone. Six months later he found me again and wanted to get to know me better. His boyfriend broke up with him, he lost his job and had to leave his apartment due to his roommate being in love with him. I’ve got as much compassion as the next guy and let him pursue me. On our first date he became uncomfortable with a goodbye hug, and though I only lived up the road insisted on driving me home. Two hours later after my weak will (and him being very aesthetically pleasing) he said he had to leave, due to his inability to sleep without an herbal remedy. Two days later he texted me to say that though he had a great time he could never see me again as I would hinder his life goals.
Boy 10: Christian: Ironically, Christian is Ben’s ex. We met through work and though initially seemed to have a bitch off about who could be sassier, became quiet friendly. He got me to admit I was attracted to him to which he replied he really just wanted to be friends. We still maintained a flirty banter but this turned sour quickly as he decided I used my happy, indirect attitude to emotionally manipulate people around me. I didn’t understand where this was coming from, but soon realized he just wanted me to be completely honest about how I felt. I told him I cared for him and that it was hard for me to be vulnerable at times. He continued to write away his paper work and simply said “OK”. The next day he pretended nothing had happened.
Now this list may come across as me sounding victimized, but in my opinion this is not the case. There are facets of my personality that could be construed as annoying, evasive or cold but overall I (hope) I am a kind person. I simply telling my story to make everyone who has either said I am unable to open up, to be vulnerable or to allow myself to give people a chance to understand that I do do these things, I just don’t always want to broadcast why I sometimes choose not to tell them.
Writing this those and posting it has been very therapeutic and letting you guys know a bit more about me also has been wonderful. Hopefully someone will take something from this and learn a bit maybe about him or herself. At the end of the day we are the only ones who can truly validate ourselves.