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7 very important things you probably didn’t know about Artpop, Lady Gaga’s ‘difficult’ third album

Josh Milton November 6, 2020
ARTPOP, that weird Lady Gaga album you may or may not have thought was a fever dream. (Getty)

ARTPOP, that weird Lady Gaga album you may or may not have thought was a fever dream. (Getty)

Artpop. It’s a word that brings up a grab bag of emotions for Lady Gaga fans: confusion, anger, euphoria and, let’s face it, a little arousal.

After Lady Gaga had cemented her fame with Born This Way in 2011, her seismic success presented a challenge: What next?

What came was a third album of disco fashion bangers, powerful power bottom anthems and songs so seething with Gaga’s cocksure wackiness that, frankly, many at the time were a little fatigued by it.

It flopped, selling a fraction of her previous efforts (but still topping the US and UK charts). But in the years since, many have come to realise it was the cultural reset we all slept on when it dropped on November 6, 2013.

Seven years on, here are seven things you didn’t know about Lady Gaga’s Artpop.

It’s a good album. Yes, really. 

(Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images)

We’re not kidding! Give it another go.

OK, now to the actual trivia.

1. That’s not Lady Gaga on the Artpop cover.

A Jeff Koons sculpture representing Lady Gaga. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Artpop›, which, believe it or not, is a portmanteau of “art” and “pop”, really does live up to its name.

Its cover art was designed by American pop artist Jeff Koons, known for inflating everyday objects, such as balloon animals, into giant, stainless steel sculptures.

The album cover features a collage of Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Koons’ own Gazing Ball. It’s aggressively high art. 

2. Her favourite Artpop song? Not one you’d expect.

“Jewels N’ Drugs” is actually the singer’s favourite Artpop anthem, she once revealed on Twitter – though she has only performed it live a handful of times.

Trailing it comes “Sex Dreams”, which she added is “a favourite” of hers. The title track is also reportedly “Elton’s favourite“.

3. Lady Gaga’s inspiration behind the album is, uh, something. 

Lady Gaga (2nd-R) poses next to her look-alike doll called 'Gagadoll' made of silicon during a press conference. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)
Lady Gaga (2nd-R) poses next to her look-alike doll called ‘Gagadoll’ made of silicon during a press conference. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m fascinated with the decay of the blonde pop icon and how culture loves to build and give birth to fantasies and then destroy them and what that means,” she said in an Access Hollywood interview.

“It’s something I want to explore on my next album.”

4. She celebrated the launch by asking fans to wear ‘bedazzled pig snouts’.

In August 2013, Lady Gaga named a gig she was playing in London, England SwineFest after “Swine” from the album.

She told fans attending the iTunes Festival set to come dressed in “bedazzled pig snouts” and “trash bags or artclothes”.

“Artclothes are clothes you don’t mind getting covered in live art!”, she tweeted. To be fair, compared to Mother Monster, we are all just pigs in trash bags.

5. She literally invented a flying dress for this album. That’s serious dedication. 

Next time your fave drops a new album, ask yourself this: Did they invent a flying dress that consists of a transport vehicle with six large circular fans atop a vertical pillar with a white bodice attached to it?

Around 1,800 die-hard fans that we are in no way envious of attended the Artpop album launch party held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Party-goers were transported there via a ferry from Manhattan, but clearly it was no ordinary ferry as it essentially catapulted those onboard into a pocket dimension of true unearthly Lady Gaga glamour.

Everyone in Gaga’s Rolodex, from Tony Bennett to Marina Abramović, attended, among a small minority of chosen few who witnessed the TechHaus Volantis fly an entire, er, few feet off the ground. It was created by TechHaus, the technology wing of Haus of Gaga.

Art!

6. Lady Gaga does, in fact, remember Artpop

Gaga ignited rage – as well as applause – in 2019 when she infamously tweeted that she doesn’t “remember Artpop.

It was just one of a volley of vague tweets the pop star sent out around the time, with beloved classics including “what’s Fortnight”, “can u eat too much Chinese broccoli”, and everyone’s favourite: “I’m calling my next album ADELE.”

Back in April this year – you know, that cursed time pre-Chromatica – Gaga told InStyle why she tweeted that she doesn’t remember an entire album she produced.

“I’m trying to crack the code that is the algorithm of the internet, and I will do so in various ways,” she said.

“You may not always understand why an ‘f’ tweet gets that many [269,200] likes.

“Who knows why? It was just a social experiment. I’m trying to understand people.”

Er, understood, Gaga.

7. She delayed dropping the tracklist for a completely acceptable and legitimate reason. 

Late to a Zoom meeting? “Sorry boss, squirrels snuck into the Artpop tree.”

Are you the state of Nevada counting votes for the 2020 US presidential election? “Sorry, the entire human race, squirrels snuck into the Artpop tree.”

More: ARTPOP, lady gaga, Music

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