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Doot's Review of Chromatica

Doot
Posted (edited)

Hey guys!

I wanted to sit down and properly write out and share my opinion and thoughts on the album, after I've had a day or two to properly digest and think about it. Yes, I know there is a discussion thread, but it can occasionally move so quickly that things get lost, so I just wanted to be able to have my own space if that is okay.

I want to preface this by saying that as mind-numbingly impatient as we all got leading up to the album, I enjoyed the experience and connecting with many of you. Before I get this show on the road, please be respectful, and understand that I may not like all the same songs as each of you, and that we all have our own tastes as that is what makes the world go round, it's what makes music so exciting. There is something for everyone!

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I want to start by saying that I think this is a SOLID album, through and through. It has it's highs and it has it's lows, but overall, this is 100% her most cohesive album musically to date. Upon my first initial listen, I honestly was not blown away, but I never truly trust my first reaction to music as I once stated while listening to G.U.Y. for the first time that it may be better than Bad Romance (:smh:), so that is really why I wanted to experience the album is different ways to truly understand it.

Chromatica is a full sensory experience. It's something that for me really shines when you sit down with zero distractions, put on your headphones, turn out the lights and listen from start to finish, because this is truly a journey that you go on. It's not just the standard type of album where it's individual tracks that are placed on an album based on "how much I love them", and then each song might somewhat relate to the overall idea or not. It's not that type of album. This is a format that Gaga has never given us before.

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I think there are a lot of pros for this album. I think Gaga shines here vocally, perhaps more than any of her other albums. It's like after 12+ years of creating and growing and training her voice, she's finally hit that point where she went from a singer to a VOCALIST. Tracks like "Fun Tonight" and "Enigma" are the standouts vocally, for me. The production of the songs truly put her voice at the forefront, and at no point during the album did I ever once feel like she was trying to hit higher registers than she's capable of, there was no strain. And that was something that on various tracks over the years that I ended up walking away from feeling like that.

Lyrically? SHINE ON LITTLE PONY SHINE ON. I haven't had a chance to really sit down and learn all of the lyrics, or dissect them properly, but after the multitude of times I have listened to this album since release, everything that I have caught proves that Gaga is still that song-writer. While I still do think that lyrically, Stupid Love is probably the lowest on the album, the rest of the album is just Gaga proving that she is one of the best songwriters in the biz, song after song after song. However, I will say that I am curious to know just how much of Sine From Above was written by her by the time she received it.

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 Previously, I spoke to how I feel that this album works best when listened to from start to finish, and I want to explain my thoughts on that. Aside from maybe 3 or 4 songs on the record, the short track lengths and actual content of the songs do not provide me a certain level of satisfaction when just like "Hey I put on this one song, I want to listen to it". The songs blend for a reason. The songs are short (most of them) for a reason. For instance, I could say "I want to listen to Government Hooker", and I can play that without needing to listen to the rest of the album. Chromatica's tracks for the most part leave me a little longing when just listening to the individual tracks. I'm not satisfied by just watching one scene from a film. I want to watch the whole movie. That is what Chromatica is for me. I need to have the whole experience.

From a production standpoint, I think this album perfectly encapsulated the style of 80's/90's house music with those big belting vocals.As many of you know, I am a huge electronic music fan. I've studied the music, I've learned the history and what goes into a lot of the different subgenres under EDM. This album feels like it said "I want to encapsulate this specific sub-genre" and perfectly succeeded. That's not to say every track draws those influences, with Sour Candy being a prime example which is a certified banger (although I'd like to have an additional 30 seconds added to it).

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I post the Bops and Bangers thread once a week where I showcase three songs that I am really into. To give insight into what I personally define as a "bop" and "banger"...a BOP is a song like The Fame, where I enjoy listening to it, singing along with the lyrics...I can move my body to the beat, and have fun. A BANGER on the other hand...is like Bad Romance, Alejandro, Scheisse, Poker Face, etc. Those are the songs that literally feel like they SHAKE me to the very core...where my face is scrunched like like someone hit me with a taser and I begin to convulse. Chromatica...is most fully of bops for me. That's not to say it doesn't have bangers. Rain On Me is a BANGER. Sine From Above is a BANGER, OMG IT IS A BANGER!!! Sour Candy and Enigma are both straddling the line of bop and banger.

Two days later, after really listening, I'd say that while she has beautiful vocals, majority of the songs on the album feel like I've filled the gas tank to about 3/4, but don't fill it up. Quite often I am really into the tracks and just waiting for them to EXPLODE, but many don't for me. That's not to say the songs aren't good. They are. They are very good, but I feel like a lot just don't take it to the explosive levels I was hoping for. But that's how it is for the subgenres she encapsulated. I love House Music, I am a child of the early 90's. I grew up with this music. But that's not my favorite sub-genre persay, but I do very much so enjoy it.

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Song structure wise? Some I don't get, and some I absolutely STAN. Don't get some of the artistic choices in Fun Tonight. I love the song, but I don't understand the decision to to have it go verse, bridge, but then go back to another verse. You don't get the dance breakdown/chorus until later in the song. It slightly distracts me while listening. Now Sine From Above? FANTASTIC. It has very weird structure choices, but feels like that it takes the risk and succeeds. The song just builds and builds to the point where you think that is the peak....but oh my GOD when that drop in energy comes in towards the end and that DRUM AND BASE portion kicks in, I lose my mind EVERY TIME. Absolutely fantastic and experimental choice that just goes all the way AWF.

I love 911. Absolutely love it. Love love love. Only minor critique is that the chorus needs higher energy. They increase the speed of the kicks during the bridge but then the energy drops a bit during the chorus, and I think the song would have truly exploded if they had made that chorus more energetic. Now, Babylon....the only song I don't really care for. I love the lyrics, but in my opinion, using this version instead of the Haus Labs version was a CHOICE. For me, I know a lot of people love it and I appreciate that, the song just feels hollow production wise. Not overly concerned though, because now we know we are getting the other version.

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In closing, Chromatica is a solid album that is a welcome addition to her discography. It's very different concept wise than anything in her discography, and I appreciate her continuing to push herself to always doing something different. The original three albums continue to be my favorite, because of all the different styles she's done over the last 12 years, those connect with me the most...but Chromatica is probably equal with ARTPOP to me. ARTPOP has more standout tracks, but Chromatica has more cohesion and feels more...not authentic, but an album that feels COMPLETED.

I will continue to play this album 10000000x more times, and will continue to become immersed. I'm certainly ready for more visuals though, because I have zero idea as to how the contents of the album relate to an alien world :oprah:. Thanks for listening (reading lol), and I hope everyone continues to enjoy the album and just have fun. Because that is what this album is. It's just a fun good vibe.

Edited by Doot
ᴡᴀꜱ ɪᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴏɢᴇʏᴍᴀɴ?
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darkpaw

I agree with your points about song structure. Alice for example is the opener but the structure kinda took away from it a bit. I feel like with a second verse the song could have been even better. Going from chorus to verse to bridge to chorus to post chorus didn't allow the song to build up like it should have.

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sadboy
Posted (edited)

Everything seemed fine, until I started reading about Babylon..then I stopped. Sorry :(

(jk I loved your review) but I will never understand why people hate so much the album version, and prefer the House Labs version. It doesn't fit the album imo :saladga:

Edited by sadboy

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Animal Claws
9 minutes ago, sadboy said:

Everything seemed fine, until I started reading about Babylon..then I stopped. Sorry :(

(jk I loved your review) but I will never understand why people hate so much the album version, and prefer the House Labs version. It doesn't fit the album imo :saladga:

It doesn't fit the album but it's way better.

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GreenEyes

I think Babylon takes a few times to get used to it cause it really is that bitch. Just those lyrics are so much fun to listen to dance and sing. Like bloodpop said the haus labs version I think would have been out of place as the closer, especially after a 1000 doves lmao :laughga:

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Guillermo Tello

I completely agree with everything you said except for your veneration to Sine From Above, I -personally- expected soooo much more from a collaboration between Sir Elton and Lady Gaga, definitely not what I got... what it could have been, just an "Axwell featuring Elton John" song. but anyways, it's not bad neither. I noticed we have many things in common by reading this review :D

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Franch Toast

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

I agree with what you wrote about needing to listen to the album altogether, as I mentioned on another thread. Instead of just wanting to listen to one song, I find myself wanting to listen to the album in its entirety. For the most part, just listening to one of the songs in isolation doesn't leave me satiated. The exceptions are the three previously released songs since I already knew them outside of the album, and I keep streaming them, in particular "Sour Candy," to help her on the charts. And "Sine from Above" keeps me fully satiated and amazed. But otherwise, I find myself returning to the album as a whole, listening to it in order with all of the lovely interludes. 

I think it's such a cohesive album, and when I listen to everything together, it's an amazing experience. However, if I listen to the tracks in isolation (with a couple of exceptions), I feel left wanting something. Maybe I'm just greedy, or maybe it's because they feel too short, and I'm with you on the 3/4 full tank metaphor for some of the songs – it's like, could they have been pushed just a tad bit more? Overall, for me this is an album where the sum of its parts is greater than any individual unit. It tells a story, and maybe the reason that some tracks feel like they're not pushed to their full potential is because they're meant to be appreciated alongside the other tracks. So yes, it's a new way of listening to one of her albums for me because I'm not just focusing on my favorites. I love the journey she takes us on. 

To go on a quick but related tangent, it reminds me of a couple of Beatles albums. For example, I feel like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "A Little Help From My Friends," and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" are a trifecta; they're almost always played together on the radio and are stronger together. And on Abbey Road, while there are many standalone songs I love, toward the end, there are short little ditties such as "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," "She Came in through the Bathroom Window," etc. that are best appreciated in the context of the entire album, but when plucked from their context, they don't seem as strong. 

I love that she uses the album to tell us a story. It's an interesting new way to appreciate her artistry. :heart:

 

She/Her/Hers
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Bjaf

Thank you so much for sharing! That was really interesting and I was excited to hear your thoughts on the album.

One thing I disagree with is the songs lacking that feeling of "explosion". On the contrary, I think it’s my first time listening to a Gaga album and having so many instant "holy f***" moments, such as in Free Woman, 911, Enigma, ROM and Replay. I agree that there are probably a couple of growers, but for the most part, it’s that very feeling of instant gratification, if you will, that made me fall in love with the album. I have to refrain myself from overplaying the songs so I don’t get tired of them too quick! For me, even if there’s two or three songs that I’m not as fond of, this album might contain some of the highest highs of her career.

I’m excited to see how we feel about Chromatica a couple weeks (and months and years) from now. :diane:

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HybridAT

Honest, heartfelt and articulate. Thanks for sharing this and I'm glad the album experience became better for you after multiple listens :happy:

▌│█║▌║▌║ leave nothin' on these streets to explore ║▌║▌║█│▌

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