Call it bad luck or marketing genius, but the campaign for Lady Gaga‘s forthcoming sixth album, Chromatica, actually started back in January when a high-quality leak of the first single, Stupid Love, strutted on to the internet. As well as being played in clubs worldwide and even soundtracking Christian Cowan’s show at New York Fashion Week, its official release date remained a mystery.
Until 28 February that is, when the single was finally released in all its Jigglypuff-pink glory — a riot of pure pop escapism, the likes of which Gaga seemed to have parked after jazz album Cheek to Cheek, country album Joanne, and her ‘Best Original Song’ Academy Award win for Shallow in A Star Is Born.
Here is everything we know about Lady Gaga’s latest album, Chromatica (out 10 April), from a possible collaboration with Grimes and working with pop-songwriting genius Max Martin, to the songs that might be on it and where it was recorded.
Pop Gaga is back back back
Chuck out the pink stetson, unsaddle the horse and kiss goodbye to the relentless authenticity of Joanne, because ludicrous dance-pop Gaga is back. Chromatica’s galloping first single, Stupid Love, is a gloriously concept-free electro stomper in which Gaga literally demands we all look at her, in between pleas to “freak out” and “get down”.
Sonically, it recalls the melodic high points of 2011’s ambitious (and often over-the-top) Born This Way mixed with the pulsating bangers from 2013’s patchy Artpop. “We are definitely dancing,” Gaga said of the album in a recent interview with Apple Music Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. “I put all my heart, all my pain, all my messages from the other realm that I hear of [and] what they tell me to tell the world, and I put it into music that I believe to be so fun and energetically really pure. I want people to dance and feel happy.”
The Power Rangers approve
If you were panicked that perhaps the Power Rangers might be consulting their lawyers over the Stupid Love video’s nod to their aesthetic, then worry no more. “Not sure if we should fight this monster or stan this monster,” they said in a tweet from their official account. “Just consulted with Zordon, and we have no choice but to stan.”
The album is called Chromatica
Stupid Love was teased by a series of billboard posters that showcase the album’s artwork of sticky pink lips and Y2K-style metallic fonts (the close-up of the lips also allude to Gaga’s makeup line, Haus Laboratories, so expect some sort of Stupid Love lipstick to arrive soon).
Formerly known as ‘LG6’ — the name both fans and Gaga herself were using during the album’s gestation — the image twice featured the word ‘chromatica’ (it also appears in the final frame of the Stupid Love video). On 2 March, Lady Gaga confirmed fan theories by posting to Instagram: “Welcome to “Chromatica”, coming April 10. Pre-order now.”
Chromatic has dual meanings, referring to both the chromatic music scale and to colour, and, well, Gaga is a fan of both. “BloodPop brought it up, and we talked about how it seems to be about colours […] also music is made of a chromatic scale,” she told Lowe. “So it’s all the colours, all the sounds. We’re talking about inclusivity and life.”
Pop genius Max Martin is involved
For Stupid Love, Gaga reunited with producer BloodPop, who also worked on Joanne. Having previously collaborated with Justin Bieber, Madonna and Britney Spears, he is listed as a co-producer alongside DJ and producer Tchami.
However, perhaps the most intriguing name on the credits is Max Martin, who is responsible for some of pop’s greatest songs of the last 20 years, from Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face. Obviously, Lady Gaga doesn’t need Max Martin to help her write a banger — she’s got pretty good form in that respect — but their collaboration is an interesting insight into Gaga’s more relaxed approach to her music in 2020. “He’s an amazing producer,” she told Lowe. “I’ve never worked with him, I’ve always sort of gone, ‘I write my own music, I produce myself, I don’t need to work with Max, right?’ I decided to stop being an asshole, meet him at least, you know?”
In fact, Gaga has been intent on letting as many people work on it as possible. “These records got passed around to so many different people,” she continued. “There were so many different iterations of these songs because we all wanted it to be perfect and literally nobody cared who put their fingerprints on it, as long as it was the dopest thing that we could give to the world and that it was meaningful, authentic, and completely me.”
One person not involved, however, is Born This Way, Artpop and A Star Is Born collaborator DJ White Shadow. He told E! News: “I sat this one out. I’ve heard it. It’s not my art to share with you, but I can tell you this, [as] with everything that she does, it’s genius. I’m excited for her to put it out. I think that it’s really good.”
Grimes has already heard it
DJ White Shadow isn’t the only fan. Grimes, who is good friends with BloodPop, recently posted a video saying: “LG6 is very good. LG6 is a great record!” In fact, she might be closer to the project than she’s letting on. In September 2019, on an Instagram story, Grimes revealed a photo of the back of a CD case resplendent with a picture of Gaga on it. While it appeared to be doctored, the accompanying tracklisting included a song called Tainted Love, which in theory could have been retitled Stupid Love. Also included was a song called Real Boy, that seemed to be a duet between the pair.
It was recorded in Frank Zappa’s studio
Which is to say, Gaga owns the legendary musician’s former home.
She has announced a mini-tour named “The Chromatica Ball”
For her mini-tour The Chromatica Ball, Lady Gaga will be in concert in 6 cities across the world in the following locations:
July 24 – Paris, France (Stade de France)
July 30 – London, UK (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
August 5 – Boston, MA (Fenway Park)
August 9 – Toronto, ON (Rogers Centre)
August 14 – Chicago, IL (Wrigley Field)
August 19 – East Rutherford, NJ (MetLife Stadium)
Lady Gaga’s sixth album, Chromatica, is due for release on 10 April via Interscope
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