ARTPOP analysis: Art through the popular

Lady Gaga is one of my favorite current artists. The catchiness of her songs, her outrageous looks and her mesmerizing public command during her performances granted her the fame she has today. Still, the content of her work is many times overlooked or not understood at all. This may be a result of people’s lack of care in relation to pop songs’ lyrics or to Gaga’s use of unusual metaphors to express her concepts.
Anyway, today we’re going to take a look at one of Gaga’s most brilliant songs, ARTPOP.

So, what does ARTPOP mean?
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Maybe, the first thing that comes in our minds when we think of the name of the song is Pop Art. This art movement emerged in the 50’s and was all about using art to express the popular. It is an expression of the popular both in the sense of products of our everyday lives and in the way of pop culture.
ARTPOP is not only a reversion of this art movement in the name, but also in the concept. It is Gaga’s attempt to express art through the popular, in this case pop music.

How is the concept expressed in the song?
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The first stanza represents art singing to pop.
Come to me
In all your glamour and cruelty

In these verses, pop is characterized by its glamour and cruelty, referencing the media’s treatment of pop culture and our perception of it.

Just do that thing that you do
And I’ll undress you

The undressing may be related to the sexualization present in the mainstream medium. But it is also a way of saying that art can strip pop to its core, as a way to find deeper meaning in it.

Keep it tight
Sometimes the simplest move is right
The melody that you choose
Can rescue you

Here, Gaga outrights claims that less is more by “saying that the simplest move is right”. The extravaganza that comes with the pop genre should be put aside to make the content shine. She also references the power that melody has over people.

A hybrid can withstand these things
My heart can beat with bricks and strings
My ARTPOP could mean anything

In the pre-chorus the hybrid is meant to represent a kind of work that contains the qualities of both art and pop. It is able to withstand the test of time because it appeals to mass audiences and an intellectual need. The idea of bricks and strings reinforces it. Two opposite things working together; we don’t have to choose one or the other.

The last verse of the pre- chorus is meant to show that art has multiple meanings. ARTPOP has an objective meaning, which we explored earlier, but it can be so much more for different people. The perspective of the viewer gives new meaning to the work of art.

We could, we could belong together

Again, the chorus states that art and pop can be together to form something greater than the two alone.
The second stanza represents pop singing to art.

Come to me
With all your subtext and fantasy

Art is, here, characterized by its most prominent mechanisms. The fantasy, which is the outlet for creativity and the subtext, which is what, many times, hides the deeper meaning of the work.

Just do that thing that you do
In a perverse hue

Hue means the shades of a color, but here it is a metaphor. It represents the shades of meaning that set the tone of a work of art.

Lover’s kites
Are flown on beaches
For public sight
The color palette you choose
Can profit you

The color palette is referenced in a similar way the melody is in the first stanza. The color palette, when well used, can provide different feelings to the audience. The color palette represents the visual and the melody the audio. They’re complementary to create an audiovisual transcending experience just like art and pop.

Could try to sell you out or I
Could show you all the reasons why
My ARTPOP could mean anything

This pre- chorus represents the choice people in the musical industry have. They can sell out and only care about the profit in detriment of art or make a meaningful work and showcase its concept to the audience.

Brushes with darkness won’t help you create
Your destiny of self but ARTPOP could mean anything

This part of the bridge talks about how we can try to paint an image of ourselves, but it doesn’t change who we are or our destiny. ARTPOP, on the other hand, can mean anything, thus it is the perfect medium of expression for any person and concept.

I try to sell myself but I am really laughing
Because I just love the music not the bling
Music not the bling

Here Gaga talks about selling herself and laughing because although she is a mainstream icon, she’s not only that. She is a real artist who loves the music and not the bling, which is the money.

Free my mind, ARTPOP
You make my, heart stop

Here it is shown that art has the power to free our minds. But ARTPOP even more so, because it crashes our pre- conceived ideas of what art and pop should be like.

ARTPOP is a brilliant song in which Lady Gaga advocates for a new comprehension about pop and art. They are complementary forces that can generate all kinds of artistic expressions.