Chromatica: An out of this world experience

Lady+Gaga%27s+Chromatica+album+cover

Photo Interscope Records

Lady Gaga’s Chromatica album cover

Xenia Kobori, R3 Op ed Editor

The long-awaited return of Lady Gaga is finally here. Chromatica, Lady Gaga’s sixth #1 album, transports listeners to Gaga’s dream world, Chromatica. Unlike her previous projects, A Star is Born and Joanne, Gaga ditches her pop-country stint, to return to her electro dance music roots exhibited in her earlier records. While Chromatica is full of electro-pop beats and powerful vocals, do not be fooled; the album describes Gaga’s life with deep and intimate lyrics.  

The opening track, “Alice,” is a refreshing, light-hearted start to a powerful album. “Alice,” accompanied by a 90’s pop beat and bolstered by Gaga’s strong vocals, is guaranteed to be dance-worthy and arguably the best track on the album. Gaga sings, “My name isn’t Alice, but I’ll keep looking for wonderland,” a reference to the popular story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as Gaga’s own search for Chromatica, the place where Gaga can truly be herself. 

In her next tracks, Gaga’s struggles with love, fame and insecurity are alternated. In “Stupid Love,” Gaga describes moving on from a relationship and accepting herself. The next track, “Rain on Me,” featuring pop superstar Ariana Grande, switches focus as the lyrics home in on a deeper topic of emotional stability and toxic coping mechanisms. 

This struggle for inner peace continues as Gaga gets personal with “911,” a track in which Gaga describes her life with mental illness and how her use of the antipsychotic drug olanzapine saved her. Disguised by robotic tones and the recurrent dance-pop techno beat, the song has a happy intonation, if not for the lyrics. 

Similarly, Gaga’s track “Replay” covers a darker topic: her struggle with PTSD after being raped at age 19. Gaga sings, “I don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say/ the scars on my mind are on replay, r-replay,” referring to a common symptom of PTSD, recurring unwanted thoughts. This track, while still energetic, takes a more somber tone, in which Gaga’s vocals allude to her struggle. 

Throughout the album, this internal fight can be seen. However, Gaga’s progress and self-acceptance in a judgemental industry is seen as well. Tracks “Sour Candy” featuring K-pop group Blackpink and “Sine From Above” featuring Elton John, mark this evolution.

Overall, Chromatica is an in-your-face, powerful album that one can dance, cry and sing along to. Filled with synth beats reminiscent of previous albums ARTPOP and The Fame, the EDM Gaga we all came to love is back. Gaga’s compelling lyrics propelled by her unique voice are contagious, personal, and intimate. Gaga both energizes and comforts listeners through her meaningful lyrics and symbolic album progression. Give Chromatica a listen, and you might just find yourself dancing in your seat.