The countdown to Artpop has begun
The dates have been revealed. Lady Gaga‘s new album Artpop will be out November 11, will be available for pre-orders September 1 and will have its first single out August 19. That’s five weeks away. A short time considering her last studio recording released was her duet with Tony Bennett in late 2011 and her last full-length record just over two years ago. But it’s a long time to wait considering most pop stars announce their anticipated singles just days in advance, if at all.
Earlier this year, Justin Timberlake tweeted “I think I’M READY” with a countdown on his website that, just days later, led to the release of his single Suit & Tie – his first single in six years. Both Jay-Z and Kanye West unleashed their recent albums with little advance in the way of singles or traditional promotion. In both cases, much of the promo was hype build off of things other than their music. But we’re all aware, Gaga isn’t like most celebrities.
The five weeks between today’s announcement and the official release of the song is enough time to build up discussion, debate, arguments and ultimately, hype. Love her or hate her, you can’t say Gaga is dull. Most of the articles I read today regarding her announcement mention the anticipation for what direction she’ll go in now. What makes her even more interesting is that it’s multifaceted. It doesn’t just apply to her music. As we can see from the photo above, she’s taken on a new look. It’s much more simple and clean cut. Most would say “normal” (a word I hate in this context so I won’t stand by it). Conventional might be better. But in keeping with the Gaga form, she has a giant mask.
Along with her music and fashion, Gaga has also keeps a hand in the world of art. In the release for the announcement, she is hosting an exhibit on the eve of the album’s release with four collaborators. Inez and Vinoodh, a Dutch fashion photographer duo; Robert Wilson, American stage director or “theatre artist”; Marina Abramović, a Serbian performance artist; and Jeff Koons, an American artist known for his object recreations done in stainless steal and mirror finishes.
Choosing to have an event directly associated with her album gives some possible insight as to what her direction is. Experimental. Striking but subtle. Human. Surfacely simplistic. These four artists are all visual which suggests a heavy visual element to Artpop – as has already been hinted at with the accompanying app.
Can she pull it off? Eyes are already rolling at the seeming-pretentiousness of it all. That’s fair. Most pop stars remain within the realm of pop music while Gaga has ventured out of it to much criticism, but it is her attempt at connecting such different worlds that fascinates me. Whether it’s her own doing, the idea of the people she works with, or her label, that’s up for debate but the brand of Lady Gaga is fascinating. She has the ability to expand the minds of people to experience things outside of the world of pop music. Whether those people bite is out of her control but even just the mere idea of creating such connectivity and watching it blossom is an adventure on its own.
Lady Gaga might be linked mostly to the music with everything else being “weird” or “pretentious” or “overdoing it” but what I enjoy most about her is the overall experience of everything that comes with what she does. These five weeks of waiting will be excitement in its own as speculation grows, quotes get released, photos get sent out, clips get leaked, hype gets created. After the single, there’s the live performances, video, album speculation, and other visual elements she’ll have out there in the way of promo shots, public appearances and interviews. All traditional methods but have the potential to be events all on their own where every single instance will be interesting because it’s what she does.