The Deviant Dancefloor Of Healing: A Guide To The Realm Of Chromatica
A comprehensive part and track-by-track guide of Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album “Chromatica”
On May 20th, Lady gaga released her sixth’s studio album worldwide and it took the world by storm. With an intriguing concept of healing and escapism, exciting collaboration with Ariana Grande, Blackpink, and Elton John, Chromatica quickly became one of the most anticipated album of the year by debuting at #1 at Billboard album chart alongside with its second single, Rain on me. Take a deep look of this record, as the mother monster herself, created the sensational dancefloor from the immersive-realm, Chromatica.
This album is a new approach that people can use to touch sensitive issue in their life, as this album is compiled with full dance up beat song, it has an empowerment undertone to its beat. Being inspired by 80’s house dance beat, this album is filled with disco-inspired club banger. Though with its upbeat and dance aspects, Lady gaga actually talked a lot about her struggle and other sensitive aspects in human life that was intended as an approach for self-recovery. This album is one of her most personal album yet released.
Was inspired from her struggle of fame, stardom, and mental health, Lady gaga created a realm of acceptance from her full dance-beat album that celebrates her battle. The album was divided into 3 part, Chromatica I, II, and III, each part celebrates different message that she wants to share. Here’s a track-by-track and parts explanation that will guide you to the world of Chromatica.
Gaga welcomed us to Chromatica with a cinematic orchestral song titled “Chromatica I”. She wanted to start the journey with an intense and dramatic sound. This track is her musical interpretation of triumph “Every Journey, I believe, begins with an element of triumph. I win and fail all the time. They’re both meaningful. They both inform me. They’re equally epic” she said.
She continued to “Alice” in referencing to Alice in Wonderland. Though, the traditional narrative of the story tells that Alice has found her wonderland or her “happy place”, Gaga expressed the opposite situation that she is still searching for her wonderland. In early beginning of the song she said “My name isn’t Alice and I’ll keep looking for wonderland.”, She wants people to essentially have vision, self-believe in greatness within, and positive reinforcement when overcoming hardship and obstacle. She wants us to believe that there’s always wonderland.
“Stupid Love” as the lead single of the album is her third track of the album. She talks about her needs for love, “All I ever wanted was love” as she expressed her obsession with love. She created this tribe called “Kindness Punk” as a persona who sing this song because she wanted to spread love and kindness in Chromatica. Her inspiration to write song about kindness and affection are her believe in love, as she said “The core issue that’s been driving connection force behind all things I do is love”.
The next track is her collaborative duet with Ariana Grande titled “Rain on Me” and this was her second single off the album. Lady gaga and Ariana Grande joined together to sing an anthem that celebrates their survival in fighting trauma. “It’s coming down on me, water like mystery, I’m ready rain on me” expresses their acceptance for their trauma and their readiness to triumph and move on. Lady gaga and Ariana Grande wanted to tell the listener to accept your tears (misery), they can be teacher if you let them.
The fifth track is “Free Woman”, this song is a celebration of womanhood. Lady gaga wanted to celebrate woman as who they are regardless what the society said. She believed woman should have the ability to define who they are and whatever they want to be, biologically or not. She wanted to spread the message that woman are capable of their own, even though they are on the lowest of their position and have no companionship (as having a man is a society standard for women to have), “I’m not nothing without a steady hand, I’m not nothing unless I know I can, I’m still something if I don’t got a man” she said.
The last track of Chromatica I is “Fun Tonight”, a song about self-reflection. Lady gaga wanted the listener to listen to this song by imagining they’re singing to themselves. This song recites all the negative enforcement a human can have that sabotage their life, by singing this song to yourself, you’re acknowledging and accepting all these things because its lyric contains Irony that she wanted to poke that most human failed to acknowledge or accept. She wanted to advocate radical-acceptance as she described “accepting that you’re not going to feel well every day, maybe a little bit. Some days are way worse, some days aren’t.”.
She concluded the first part of Chromatica with a self-reflecting song and that’s what the first part of Chromatica is all about, the focus was intended to explore self-acceptance, love, and triumph as an essential to start every journey.
Lady gaga welcomed us to the second part of Chromatica with “Chromatica II”, another orchestral number. She produced this song as a representation of her magic. She believed as people, in a middle of our voyage things get hard, sometimes it forced us to do something impossible. She created this interlude to remind her and the listener that she still got her magic, and she believed that we (listener) got our magic works too, as she said “So I was scared, but I believe in magic. So, I wrote this interlude as a reminder that my magic was working, I believe that means yours is too”.
The second track of the second part is “911” as in the Emergency Service Phone Number in United States of America. She uses 911 as an alteration of anti-psychotic medication (Which she did not glorified unless with doctor prescription) and explore the effect it has had on her life. She used irony as a device to acknowledge the story of addiction, as she sings “My biggest enemy is me, pop a 911, My biggest enemy is me ever since day one, Pop a 911, then pop another one”. She wanted to show how dangerous and shallow it is, as she explained it in Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe “It’s no end, keeps coming its bottomless pit.”. She wanted to point out how artificial life can be and how it should not define you, as she continue the discussion into the addiction of creating impact in stardom “What makes you valuable is your value, your moral, your ethics, your code, how you act, how you treat people, your behavior, not how many people likes your post. Acknowledgement, likes and appreciation didn’t define you.” She said.
She then continues to talk about artificial aspects in society by singing the next track titled “Plastic Doll”. She tells how society likes to put artist in certain label, category, and groups to the extent of creating archetypes that the artists have to fulfill. She opened the song with an acceptance of being controlled and continued to state her discomfort of that system as she sings “Don’t play with me, it just hurts me, I’m bouncin’ off the walls, No, no, no, I’m not your plastic doll”. She wanted to create an anthem that expresses people’s hardship of being put in a certain box.
The next track is “Sour Candy” with BLACKPINK. She collaborated with one of the current most influential girl group to create an anthem about women’s submissiveness. They have concerned that women are often expected to be “sweet” and “Submissive”, she wrote this song as an analog to that narrative. She gathered a group of powerful women to create a bigger dynamic to challenge the narrative. They stated their stance very clear, as BLACKPINK sang the lyric “I’m sour candy, So sweet, then I get a little angry; Ask me to be nice, and then I’ll do it extra mean; If you wanna fix me, then let’s break up here and now.”. They proposed an opposite idea of what the society expect them to be, which are: women can be aggressive, have independency, and free to do/be whatever they want. They believe that women are more than just being sweet, it’s the idea of versatility that they want to advocate.
People often create a persona and live behind it, “Enigma” is a track that explore the idea of “persona” as Lady Gaga herself, is a persona made by herself. Stefani, Lady Gaga’s biological name, said that she created “Lady Gaga” as an escape for her rebellious and everchanging soul. She created this song as an anthem about her ownership of her persona, “We could be lovers, even just tonight, we could be anything you want, we could be jokers, brought to the daylight, we could break all of our stigma” she sings. She created this “Lady Gaga” persona as a form of escapism to break boundaries, create stigma of her own, and escape it too. Essentially, she wanted people to feel comfortable for themselves and if having a persona can give you comfort, she said so be it.
She closed the second part of Chromatica with “Replay” a song that explore someone with PTSD (Post Traumatic Disorder). In her life, she had endured a lot of trauma as she is a victim of bullying, fame, and is a rape survivor. This song was meant to be a therapeutic exploration of that side of her. She expressed her confusion in the recovery process as people with PTSD had been struggling dealing with the “trigger” that bring back all that part of their life, this is her reciting that problem “Am I still alive? Where am I? I cry, who was it that pulled the trigger, was it you or I?” she sings. She also expresses her frustration of the daily struggle that people with PTSD had to face, that it is a torture to have that memory keep coming resurfacing, “I don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say, the scars on my mind are on replay, r-replay, the monster inside you is torturing me, the scars on my mind are on replay” she sings. Though, this song was intended as a therapeutic session for her as she expressed her triumph that trauma finally become the precise thing that now powers her life to be braver, as she sings “It’s a game I play, and I hate to say, you’re the worst thing and the best thing that’s happened to me”.
“Replay” concluded the second part of Chromatica with an exploration of Trauma. This part of Chromatica explores a lot of artificial thing in human’s life and as a social commentary advocacy, from Addiction, Social Construction, Persona, and Trauma.
Chromatica I and II are set to be the journey that Gaga took against all odd and Chromatica III is a revelation that opens a new, more positive, and brighter life of hers. The last orchestral interlude titled “Chromatica III” is an expression of her understanding that life will eventually get hard, however, this is a dramatic reminder that hard things are also followed by revelations.
She explained her revelations in the next track, “Sine From Above”. This empowering duet with Sir Elton John, is a biographical expression of their struggle in the past and preservation in overcoming it. She expressed her ambitions and disappointment as a reflection of how life works, though, she kept her head up to the sky. “I heard one sine from above, then the signal split in two, the sound created stars like me and you, before there was love, there was silence, i heard one sine, and it healed my heart”, she sang expressing her revelation of recovery, from music, as her strong believed guided her through the hard times. In the second verse, Elton John tells his story of his young age, “When I was young, I felt immortal, and not a day went by without a struggle, I lived my days just for the nights, I lost myself under the lights, when I was young, I felt immortal” he sang, expressing his ambition alongside with the inevitable struggle. This song is a celebration of positive reinforcement and belief before strong determination.
She continued her triumph with a touching and empowering song, “1000 Doves”. She wrote this song as a promise, that she will try just as hard as the beginning when it was hard. However, this song is her cry for help, as it reminds her of her past struggle, when she had done everything she can. Eventually, as a human, we cannot do everything by ourselves, and that’s why she was broken, a little bit of help is all she need, “Lift me up, give me a start, ’Cause I’ve been flying with some broken arms, Lift me up, just a small nudge, And I’ll be flying like a thousand doves” she sang.
Finally, she closed her album with “Babylon” as in one of the civilizations of Mesopotamian empire. She wrote this song as a celebration of her journey and reminder of beginning of every end. She referenced Babylonian civilization infamous history of war with “battle for your life, Babylon” as a reminder that life is a constant battle that we have to face and overcome. She also expressed her growth through her journey in Chromatica, as she is now powerful enough to dance through whatever people say about her, including gossip, “That’s gossip, what you on? money don’t talk, rip that song, Gossip, babble on” she sang.
Ultimately, the concept of Chromatica explore the vulnerability state of a person through hardship, trauma, artificiality and triumph as a form of journey. It is realm where people can dance through their pain and misery.