3 on 3: Has Lady Gaga lost her way?
Lady Gaga's new album, "ArtPop," comes out Nov. 11, and almost every day now brings a snippet of a new song or new artwork. But in many ways, it feels as though some of the excitement for Lady Gaga has died down from the fever pitch of the last few years. For example, even though "Applause" did well, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, it wasn't the radio smash that some of her past hits have been. Plus, it's a crowded field out there for female artists right now, so artists like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus are grabbing the spotlight for themselves.
In this round of 3 on 3, we question if Lady Gaga is still on the best career path or has she lost her way a little.
Has Lady Gaga’s pop spotlight between eclipsed by Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus? Should she wait until next year to put out her album?
Gregory Ellwood: No, for someone who is the media cross hairs 24/7 pushing the album would be something of a publicity nightmare. Every reporter and commentator would be At this point, her record company should just have lowered expectations internally or the album (which feels like Gaga's version of Madonna's "American Life"). What's unclear is if there is really a solid hit single on the rest of the album. "Applause" might have underperformed because of bad timing and Gaga's insistence of going all - for lack of a better word - "arty" with her promotion. Is there really anything better on the album? We haven't seen any evidence of that so far.
Katie Hasty: I think those are very different artists who are popular for very different reasons. And the reasons that Lady Gaga feels a little eclipsed right now is because the reasons she became popular feels like they're on trial. The larger-than-life performances, the social messaging, the arty-ness of her brand is just not hitting in the massive way it had before. But that doesn't mean she should change it up, even for a less saturated release date. I love Lady Gaga, or at least the idea of her, so she should just keep beating her own drum.
Melinda Newman: Miley Cyrus has definitely stolen some of Lady Gaga’s thunder: one only has to look back to MTV VMAs to know that: Lady Gaga opened the show with the world premiere performance of “Applause,” and yet no one was talking about that around the water cooler the next day (nor were they talking about Perry’s show closing performance). It was Miley 24/7 for several days. Gaga has an endless supply of tricks so she might want to pull a few of them out between now and 11/11. As for pushing the album back into 2014: no way. She will own the week of release; no other major commercial artist is coming out that day, so she has the field to herself. Beside, pundits are estimating “ArtPop” will sell up to 450,000 in its first week. Cyrus sold around 270,000 and Perry will top out around 300,000, so Lady Gaga still has it.
Are her other antics, such as appearing nude in the yoga/meditation video, fighting with Perez Hilton, and her other Twitter rants taking away from the music or just part of her celebrity?
Gregory Ellwood: Compared to some of her peers her public antics actually are not that bad. Gaga's problem at the moment is that she's just taking herself just a bit too seriously which is framing her music in an unfavorable light (and leading to some questionable creative decisions). This has actually been something of an issue for the past two years or so, but "Gaga" got away with it during the success of "Born this Way." At this point, the club-fun persona of "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster" is long gone and an overly preachy performer stands in her place. And, well, it's just not as fun anymore to a majority of her crossover fans.
Katie Hasty: At times it seems Lady Gaga did much better with her rise to fame that she has maintaining it. Petty fights seem to be diluting what made her such a rare talent to begin with. Her appearing nude -- and not always in a pretty or sexy way -- has always been part of her celebrity, so in that case I think it give her at least the apparition of control over how she's perceived by her fans and her detractors. However, there's a hint that that control is lost when she goes on a tear online. It's a balance, for sure.
Melinda Newman: They are taking away from her music. The meditation video felt like an almost desperate bid for publicity as she began gearing up for the “ArtPop” album cycle. As for the fight with Perez Hilton, such spats seem beneath someone who has strived so hard to show an almost preternatural love for her fellow misfits. Petty Lady Gaga isn’t a pretty. We’re used to her getting attention for her barely there and wacky outfits. Isn’t that enough? Lady Gaga would have fit in perfectly with Andy Warhol’s Factory, but now, as in then, the artifice threatens to overwhelm the art.
Has any song you’ve heard from “ArtPop” so far gotten you excited about the album?
Gregory Ellwood: Sadly, just "Applause." The R.Kelly track is instantly forgettable and a misfire. Although, truth be told, it's fascinating to hear her morph into Grace Jones during parts of "Aura," but do you ever want to listen to it again?
Katie Hasty:I think "Applause" rules, it's very "her." I like the sexual vitriol of "Swine," there's something very "Bad Romance" cringe-y nasty about it. I'm just ready for a music video that makes me lose my mind, and so far I'm nonplussed.
Melinda Newman: Of the four songs I’ve heard, each has its moment, but none has held up as a song from start to finish that intrigues me. Having said that, Lady Gaga’s music isn’t an instant grab for me. I usually find it has to seep in through repeated plays, something that first single “Applause,” has not done after several listening .While I like “Do What U Want” more than my colleagues, Katy and Greg, the only tune I’ve heard so far from “ArtPop” that feels it’s in Lady Gaga’s sweet spot is “Swine,” an EDM track that feels the least labored of any of the four tunes that have escaped so far.