Take Me to Wonderland: Chromatica Review

Full disclosure: I am a hard-core Little Monster

LG6 is here, and her name is Chromatica.

One might say that this album and its aesthetics are heavily influenced from gaming culture and anime, and in fact, the the Enigma Vegas show also features these themes; it seems these two projects could be cohesive (she does have a song called Enigma on Chromatica). Hints of Gaga’s The Fame Monster and ARTPOP albums are found throughout the album, and is heavy on disco and 90s club music. Throughout the album, heavy, spoken-word is heard, adding a layer reminiscent of Born This Way. But this album is unique on its own, uncovering a new Gaga, who is still true to her roots. I believe that writing music for A Star Is Born had a great effect on Gaga in creating this album. There are falsettos prominently featured throughout the album (such as in Rain on Me), as there was in the pop music of ASIB (specifically in Heal Me).

Featuring collaborations with Ariana Grande, BLACKPINK, Elton John – as well as BloodPop, Max Martin, Madeon, Skrillex, Ryan Tedder, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and other musical power hitters – Chromatica is pure dance-pop, techno fun, and Gaga delivers yet again. Obviously the current pandemic will prevent Gaga from doing certain videos and promotional projects (although her and Ariana are still bringing it), but I am curious to see the story that will told with this album. There is certainly a larger concept to this album at play.

Typically you’ll find band interviews and new music announcements on this blog, but I thought it would be fun (mostly for me, maybe for you, too) to review the latest album by my favorite artist.

The album opens with an incredibly gorgeous orchestration, titled Chromatica I, which listeners eagerly anticipating the Stupid Love music video already heard in the teaser. The stage is set for the rest of this record, as we fall through the rabbit hole and into Wonderland. We are treated to two other orchestrations in the album, titled Chromatica II and Chromatica III. One has to wonder what these transitional pieces may represent. Are they chauffeuring us to new areas of Chromatica, to guide us in a new story? Time will tell.

It then transitions to Alice, and we enter the new realm of Chromatica with Gaga. This is one of my favorites off of the album. In my opinion, Alice will live in the ranks of Dance in the Dark and Scheiße. As the first full song on the album, Alice is the perfect way to kick off the journey we as listeners are about to embark on.

My name isn’t Alice, but I’ll keep looking for Wonderland

We then meet Gaga as a “kindness punk” in the universe of Chromatica in the undeniably fun Stupid Love. Based on this music video, there appears to be different tribes within the Chromatica universe, and we have to wonder how they will be incorporated in future promotion.

I haven’t seen Twitter as excited for a song like Rain on Me in quite a long time. In a world where the public loves to pit women artists against each other, Gaga and Ariana completely defy that notion, by vocally uplifting each other throughout the song. Each artist shines equally in this song. The Rain On Me music video is a must watch:

I’m not nothing without a steady hand, I’m not nothing unless I know I can

From this point on, the album (at least to me), appears to be Gaga freeing herself from something: a toxic relationship, her demons?. Free Woman is an indication of the desire to break free from chains, and to celebrate this new found freedom.

Fun Tonight may be my favorite track on the album. Detailing the realization that a relationship is no longer working, Gaga proclaims that she’s not having fun tonight, the opposite of what the song title might suggest. The line “You know the paparazzi love the fame, even though you know it causes me pain,” and obvious call back to The Fame Monster (I gasped when I heard this lyrics).

The tribes of Chromatica via Twitter

With 911, we are ushered into a disco, a self-loathing disco if that. Gaga has revealed her experiences of self-destructive actions and psychotic breaks – the song 911 may represent these particular experiences. Plastic Doll gives me The Fame vibes, we are back in 2009 (the lyrics ‘I’ve got blonde hair and cherry lips’ in particular take me to The Fame era).

Our sugar craving is cured with Sour Candy, with Kpop female band BLACKPINK. The song is sexy and sassy; exactly what you want to dance to in a club at 2am. I can only wish that a music video accompanies this song, the choreography would be impeccable. Sour Candy is another one of my favs off of the album.

We could break all of our stigma, I’ll be your enigma

Want to be lovers? How about jokers? How about anything you’d like? These are the questions Gaga asks on Enigma – you decide for yourself. Replay is a song of psychological and emotional torment. Monsters are a common theme throughout Gaga’s career, from her fans being called Little Monsters, to songs like Monster. These ‘monsters’ have represented different highs and lows throughout her life, and in replay, these are the bad monsters.

Sine from Above, featuring Sir Elton John. Their vocals soar together on the chorus. The end of the song leaves you feeling as if you’ve been sucked into a portal to a new dimension. 1000 Doves is a song one will find comfort it, especially now more than ever.

You can serve it to me, ancient-city style

The album ends with Babylon – which is a a clever play on the ancient city, as well as “babbling on” and gossip. Send me to any ancient-city style party Gaga is throwing, immediately.

The Verdict

Any hardcore Gaga little monster should and would be incredibly pleased with this album. I find myself on a journey while listening to Chromatica, and enjoyed the themes of celebrating freedom, battling for each other, and reclaiming yourself. After Joanne was released in 2016, social media proclaimed they wanted to old, pop Gaga back. For those people, she’s here. Can’t wait to dance to this album with everyone when we can <3 For now, enjoy this album from the comfort of your home (at full blast, sorry neighbors).

What do you think of the album? What songs do you have on repeat? Let me know.

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