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State of Grace: It’s time to appreciate ‘ARTPOP’ by Lady Gaga

Out of all the pop albums released in the last 10 years, Lady Gaga's "ARTPOP" remains one of the most underrated. Its use of experimentation, lyricism and subject matter deserves praise. 

"ARTPOP" is an album that transcends genres, an idea many music critics back in 2013 highly criticized Lady Gaga for. For example, The Guardian said, "The sad news is that there is no killer blow on "ARTPOP" – no Bad Romance, basically – that will automatically glue Gaga to her pedestal." Yet, I argue that the lack of standout lead singles allows listeners to hear different sides of the singer.

On songs such as "G.U.Y.," Lady Gaga laments about gender roles and the way masculinity affects men's views of sex and feminism, integrating hyper-pop synths and her speaking voice that replicates the works of other artists such as David Bowie. 

Meanwhile, others, such as "Swine," discuss the singer's trauma head-on, revealing her experience with sexual assault. Lastly, the fan-favorite "Applause" is an anthem for her fanbase, saying she needs them to survive the challenges within her career. 

At a period that was still afraid to hear about women's struggles, especially "taboo" ones like sexual assault and mental health, Lady Gaga made "ARTPOP" centered around the pain of being a woman. While luxurious and eccentric in sound, at the record's core, the singer put everything on the line with her art, which should be celebrated.

Beyond Lady Gaga's views, "ARTPOP" is noteworthy because of its strong connection to the singer's fanbase. In 2013, the singer was misunderstood for her creative vision, which became a major topic of conversation. Eight years later, fans started a petition online to buy the album, launching it to No.1 on iTunes in over 40 countries. 

Following this instance, many music publications began to retract their former reviews of "ARTPOP," with Pitchfork ranking it at 7.3 last year. Billboard even said, "The 'MANiCURE' into 'Do What U Want' track listing is the second-best one-two Gaga punch, behind only 'Bad Romance' into 'Alejandro.'" Without her fans, "ARTPOP" would not have gotten the increased recognition it deserves, nor would it be such a staple in Lady Gaga's career. Thus, its popularity and likability in her musical catalog are also another reason for it being such an underrated body of work. 

Likewise, the overall eccentricity of the album's lyrics is also why "ARTPOP" is a hidden gem in pop music. Lady Gaga is known for her authenticity, which is evident in lines such as, "Pop culture was in art, now art's in pop culture, in me" in "Applause." 

Other key moments such as, "Walk down the runway, but don't puke, it's okay / You just had a salad today, boulangerie" in "Donatella" prove the absurdity and irony of being in the center of pop culture, knowing that her status is one she can even poke fun at from time to time. Besides the absurdity, her lyrics are just fun and quirky, making the album an enjoyable stream of consciousness.

My personal favorite, "Sexxx Dreams," is another song that feels like you're in on a dirty secret, one where Lady Gaga admits to having feelings for another woman. With dark synths and the singer using two different vocal pitches to depict her and the other woman, the song is one of her most noteworthy on the record for its vulnerability as well as the singer's openness about her sexuality.

While "ARTPOP" may not be a memorable album from 2013, Lady Gaga's creativity and authenticity make it worth the listen today.

Grace Koennecke is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Grace know by tweeting her @grace_koe3.

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