Lady Gaga's Chromatica Shoots for Another Planet, But Lands Right Back on Earth
Lady Gaga’s return to dance music was supposed to be spectacular. For years, since 2013's critically maligned ARTPOP, Gaga, at least on the surface, was shapeshifting into a more restrained, ultra-serious pop star. She recorded a jazz album with Tony Bennett, she threw on a cowboy hat and grabbed an acoustic guitar for Joanne, she made a bid for an Oscar-worthy acting career with the deeply earnest A Star Is Born. Of course, all along Gaga was still Gaga-ing, even if she was no longer rolling up to red carpets encased in an egg, like something out of Spinal Tap. Gaga was still building out her camp pastiche brick by brick, like a Jenga tower held together by overwrought Oscar performances and piano ballads. But when she released “Stupid Love,” a punchy dance song with a Star Trek-inspired video—her hair, a Pepto Bismol-pink wig—the song felt like an ecstatic return to form: here was Gaga not overthinking it, reveling in the simplicity of feel-good synth-pop, having fun.