Gaga showcases ARTPOP

Lady Gaga - iTunes Festival London 2013Lady Gaga previewed her upcoming album ARTPOP in the kick-off to this year’s iTunes Festival London 2013 as she performed seven new songs from the record along with her current hit Applause.

My first impression of the songs indicate that ARTPOP will be a mixed bag of pop music that covers a lot of ground.

I’m usually partial to her zany side, which was represented tonight with Aura and Swine, the latter she says is a personal reflection of her dealings with people who negatively influenced her outlook on life.

She also had some fluffier fare in the setlist as well with Fame-era-like Sex Dreams and ARTPOP, neither of which really stood out on first listen. I’m under the impression that these songs might be there to appease those who want Gaga to be the pop diva who fits into the very box she proclaimed herself to not want to be apart of.

She took a surprising route with hip-hop heavy Jewels And Drugs that featured rappers T.I., Too $hort and Twista. While the song, like the others, incorporated layers of electronic that helped to keep it on theme, it still felt apart from the others.

Gaga performed a piano ballad called I Wanna Be With You. Gaga needs to do piano songs more, especially since she’s been confronting critics as part of her work and the best way to do that would be to provide proof that she can wow an audience with just an instrument without the glitter, even just once. I Wanna Be With You might not be the song to do that with though.

It seems like Gaga is making an effort to lay it all out there judging by her on-stage wardrobe changes. Instead of changing back stage between songs, Gaga changed clothes and wigs on stage and sometimes during songs. Before the end, she let out her real hair – making me wonder how long it’s been since she’s gone without a wig.

The stage show overall was quite rough but I’m thinking it’s intentional as it adds some realism to contrast the perfected setups of her past shows. It adds modesty and humility to a star who has received a lot of criticism over the past couple years and rather than trying to combat that, Gaga is embracing it and using it in her performances.

The sampling of ARTPOP, like the songs themselves, are mixed. But like Born This Way and The Fame Monster before it, my own enjoyment of Lady Gaga isn’t only with the songs but includes their presentation and the visuals that surround them and the album.

The songs she performed were:
Jewels and Drugs w/T.I., Too $hort and Twista
Sex Dreams
I Wanna Be With You

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