She’s sounding a lot less like herself than her other two albums.
Stylistically it departs from her famous pop radio hits, exploring more of the jarring sides of the Trap, Dub-step and Electro – and the most surprising of all – psy-trance (psychedelic trance) genres.
The first track “Aura” definitely needs to be highlighted. It starts off with a tribalistic bongo drumming accompanied by a shimmering twangy guitar that shifts into a restless and rapidly changing psy-trance beat – full of unusual sounds. It masterfully mixes back and forth between this and melody-driven pop. Combined with the strong characteristics of Lady Gaga’s singing, it makes for one of the most interesting songs she has done to date.
Then there’s “Swine“, another heavy-club banger from the album, sounding similar to some of the biggest electro house DJs like Nicky Romero or even Hardwell.
When you consider some of the guest producers who were brought in for this album, it’s not surprising, really. Zedd – the DJ/producer who made his claim to fame through his friendship with dub-step giant Skrillex – was the producer for three songs, while “Aura” was produced both by Zedd and the Israeli psy-trance duo, Infected Mushroom.
Zedd’s house influence really comes through in the song “G.u.y“, the mixing of the soaring synth with the vocal layers is done very well. In subtle ways, you can hear similarities to Zedd’s hit single “Clarity“. The song “Donatella” also features some of Zedd’s signature bass synth melodies.
“Dope” is the only ballad on the album. It is co-produced by Rock God producer, Rick Rubin, famous for producing hits for Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Pepper and Johnny Cash. The song has beautiful piano and organ melodies and Lady Gaga’s vocals really shine on this track with very powerful singing.
The lower points of the album would include the second track “Venus” which is like a radio friendly version of Aura and seems to lack character. The track was originally planned to be the second single but was scrapped due to the popularity of “Do What You Want“. Probably for the best – as it is a much better song. The song “Gypsy” sounds like a forgotten 90s pop hit.
The album has an incredibly interesting mixture of genres and sounds. It doesn’t seem to have the same consistency of her previous albums, which I personally think is a good thing. It’s unpredictable and relying less on catchy pop hooks; she has done well to produce a unique album.
Rating: 7.2 – Sion Weatherhead
Photos from Wikipedia.