Arts and Entertainment

“Chromatica”: How Lady Gaga Views the World

A look at Gaga’s new album “Chromatica,” which gives us hope and healing.

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After years of waiting, Lady Gaga's sixth studio album “Chromatica” was finally released on May 29, postponed from April 10 due to the ongoing pandemic. Despite the upbeat dance beats and fun synths, the album deals with themes of mental health and trauma, both of which are especially important for fans these times.

For Gaga, creating the album was a healing experience. Her album “Joanne” (2016) had been a disappointment to her and many fans; she realized that she made the project to try to “fix” her family’s trauma, something she could never do in the first place. Thus, she wrote “Chromatica” to try to help herself instead. This album is also a shift in genre. After her career took a turn toward country pop with her aforementioned album “Joanne,” she has returned to her roots with her time tested brand of dance-pop.

With 16 tracks, three of which purely instrumental, “Chromatica” explores her personal worldview and journey toward freeing herself from her pain. In her song “Stupid Love,” she proclaims, “Now it’s time to free me from the shame / I gotta find that peace.” The music video depicts two groups, one dressed in red and the other in blue, arguing indistinctly. Gaga commented that this scene was intended to symbolize how she feels the world is “divided” and “extremist.” The song is representative of her coming to terms with how she views the world and how she views her own conflicting mental state.

Songs like “Free Woman” and “Rain On Me” celebrate her mental freedom, with lyrics like “I’m not nothing unless I know I can / I’m still something if I don’t got a man / I’m a free woman” and “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive / Rain on me.” “Rain On Me” describes rainfall as a metaphor for life’s obstacles; you’d rather not face them in the first place, but at least you are alive in order to be able to. Gaga expresses that while her experiences may have hurt her, she’s survived and knows her worth.

Her collaboration with Elton John in “Sine From Above” exemplifies her message of being free and echoes her earlier self-love anthem “Born This Way” (2011). Both begin with something her mother told her when she was young, though now the sound (or sine) has healed her: “When I was young, I prayed for lightning / My mother said it would come and find me […] before there was love, there was silence / I heard one sine / And it healed my heart.” Gaga successfully depicts her journey to heal and become free through the various works in this album.

The symbolism of sine is prevalent throughout the project. The picture of the sine is featured in the album’s cover art and the opening of her “Stupid Love” video. With this constant imagery, Gaga portrays how music has affected both her life and mental health. In other words, she cannot use music to fix other people in her life, but she can use it to heal and spread her message of freedom, self-worth, and the ways of the world.

The cover art also features Gaga in a seemingly dystopian setting, with dark and metallic colors encompassing her, yet behind her is a bright pink light, matching her bright pink hair. Through this art, Gaga conveys that there is still hope and light out there. She emphasizes that we live in neither an utopia nor a dystopia, a dominant theme of her song “Stupid Love” and its music video, in which she is featured in a barren desert surrounded by groups of people each wearing clothes of one color, though they all join and dance together in the end. Here, Gaga seems to convey that hope can be found in the world and in others.

There is a certain familiarity in her return to dance-pop. The songs are tonally reminiscent of her earlier albums “The Fame Monster” (2009) and “Born This Way” (2011), but she is still focused on the idea of self-love, now more than ever. “Chromatica” has a sound that is unmistakably Gaga, as the loud and rhythmic sound is reminiscent of her earlier works like “Telephone” and “Poker Face.” It could bring nostalgia, but more importantly, it shows how the world doesn’t have to be bleak in the face of depressing news and emotional pain.

While the themes are significant to this album, there is something to be said about the music’s outstanding quality. Gaga has created music that can resonate with anyone struggling right now and anyone who isn’t. The songs are catchy, personal, and meaningful, and her collaborations with familiar artists successfully enhance her songs. What more could one want from an album?

Gaga’s “Chromatica” is many things. It is an album with an important message. It is powerful and excellent. But most of all, it is full of hope and positivity, something the world needs right now.