Women of note

Women of note

Dance pop

ARTPOP

Lady Gaga

Interscope

 

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Who: Paparazzi superstar reinvents herself as a poker-faced mannequin in a dream collaboration with pop artist Jeff Koons. Recently, she elevated herself in a flying frock called Valentis at a promotional event.

Is the album any good?: Sadly, the concept music often flies as low to the ground as that hexacopter-drone contraption. Nothing takes off into the ether like the unite-together gay anthem Born This Way or is as infectious as the zombie routine called Bad Romance.

A major problem is the banal agenda she spells out in her single Applause: "Pop culture was in art; now art's in pop culture, in me."

Never mind that David Bowie and Lou Reed have already nailed that decades ago.

Gaga's metier is her ability to tap into a mother lode of self-empowerment by getting listeners all lubed up in frothy choruses. This time round, all the art-pop posturing can't mask the contrivance. Pity her fans - Little Monsters - who grasp at a semblance of a hook.

The disco-relic Venus aims for inter-galactic thrill but is bogged down by cheesy lines such as "Uranus/Don't you know my a** is famous?" while Donatella, a lamentable ode to the Versace designer, struts but there's no real bite.

Occasionally, Gaga gets loose and genuinely weird. In the R&B-pop mash-up called Do What U Want, she goes into a tizzy about the commodification of her body while R. Kelly purrs sexy sweet nothings. Aura gallops in like a sci-fi cowboy ditty, as she chants: "Do you wanna touch me, cosmic lover?/Do you wanna peek underneath the cover?"

That need for approval comes to a head with Dope, a Meat Loaf-styled dirge where she pounds the piano and snarls: "I need you more than dope."

It isn't pretty, but it feels, for once, real.

Who it is for: Art gallery patrons who need background music to blast

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