Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’ makes fans nostalgic

Lady Gaga’s new album “Chromatica” was a fantastic return to the mid-2000’s sound that made her a household name. On May 29, 2020 Gaga made her fans nostalgic for classics like “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro” and “Poker Face” with the 16 tracks on “Chromatica.”

Having not released a solo album since 2016’s “Joanne,” fans have been waiting for something new from Gaga, and she definitely delivered.

Unlike the exposed “Joanne” and the singer-songwriter vibes from “A Star Is Born” (2018) soundtrack with Bradley Cooper, Gaga returns to her high-energy, out-of-the-box sound similar to one of the most iconic albums of all time — 2009’s “The Fame Monster.”

The instrumental tracks “Chromatica I,” “Chromatica II” and “Chromartica III” serve as the opener. These tracks set the tone for the album as a whole by bringing in sounds and rhythms that are consistent throughout the album, as well as serve as exceptional transitional moments from song to song.

The true opener, “Alice,” is a reference to the traditional “Alice in Wonderland.” Gaga sings about her need for freedom and her search for a new home in “Wonderland.” This song sits well with her larger LGBTQIA+ audience because the release of the song — and the album as a whole — is right before Pride month. The themes of the song align themselves with the theme of Pride celebrations, and I can see how this will be an anthem for freedom in June. 

Songs like “Stupid Love,” “Sour Candy” and “911” are the real winners of this album. They are by far my favorite tracks because they remind me so much of the classics. This is the Gaga everyone remembers — these tracks are so upbeat and really fit in the party scene.

My favorite thing about “Stupid Love,” “Sour Candy” and “911” is the use of dramatic talking that just sends me back to Gaga’s 2009 Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance of “Paparazzi.” As a 9-year-old I was in awe, and I still remember it to this day. Gaga used this in many of her songs back in the day, from “Alejandro” to “Poker Face,” and she uses it throughout “Chromatica.”

The three duets on this album are all very noteworthy in their own way. The first duet is track four of the album, “Rain On Me,” featuring Ariana Grande. While this track was the most hyped up of the album because of the collaboration — even reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — it was underwhelming. Ariana’s floaty and light vocals didn’t hold up against Gaga’s strong and articulate style, making the song as a whole unsatisfying. 

The second duet “Sour Candy” featuring BLACKPINK was one of my favorite songs on the whole album. I haven’t heard of the K-pop girl group before — I’m not much of a K-pop fan to begin with — but I was very impressed with their vocals and the fusion of K-pop with classic American pop style. 

“Sine From Above” with Elton John was beyond beautiful, and the best song on “Chromatica.” Although it will not top the legendary collaboration between Beyoncé and Lady Gaga on “Telephone,” “Sine From Above” reaches deep and evokes true emotion from both singers. The moment Elton John came in with his first verse, I knew this would be my favorite song. Their voices meld so well together, and their combined style fit the song and the album so well. 

The closer “Babylon” — a play-on-words of “babble on” — features the same monotone talking that appears consistently throughout the album. With themes about gossip, “Babylon” was an underwhelming closer to “Chromatica.” It wasn’t the worst song by far, but it just didn’t have the same wow factor as many other tracks and blended into the background in comparison. 

The nostalgic pop of “Chromatica” makes me hopeful Gaga will return to the sounds of the 2008-2010 era of Gaga history. It was truly a time to be alive, and I still have “Alejandro” and “Bad Romance” circling on some of my best playlists. I can see “Chomatica” playing in the clubs — after they open up — for some time. 

Rating: 3.5 stars