November 5, 2013


The Complete Guide to Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP'

UPDATE (11/5): You can now stream the full ARTPOP album on iTunes. Click here to listen.

It's not supposed to be out, but it is: Lady Gaga's third album ARTPOP has leaked in full one week ahead of its official drop date. Whether you're about to download and delve into it or merely hold a passing curiosity, here's everything you need to know about Mother Monster's wild new record.

The Rock Edge of Born This Way Takes a Backseat to Dance/Electronic on ARTPOP

ARTPOP producer DJ White Shadow said he intentionally "made a lot of songs" for ARTPOP that are similar to Born This Way's "Government Hooker," which he also produced. Unlike her last album, which flirted heavily with classic rock and hair metal, DJ White Shadow said the overall tone of ARTPOP "is more the way I do things."

ARTPOP's App Will Resemble Interactive CD Notes

Gaga described the ARTPOP app in broad, airy terms last year, but she put it more bluntly in a recent Twitter Q&A: "In essence, [it's] an interactive jewel case." For those of you who have never purchased a physical album, CDs used to come in jewel cases. So she presumably means that the ARTPOP app is a digital, interactive version of CD liner notes. You can download it for free via iTunes and GooglePlay on 11/11, the day the album drops.

First 500,000 Copies Have Limited Edition, Collectible Covers

The first half-million physical copies sold won't have a flat picture cover. "Lady Gaga" will be pasted on in "hot pink metallic foil" and the word "ARTPOP" will appear in silver foil. "This is the true design of the cover as imagined by the artist Jeff Koons," Gaga revealed on her Facebook. After the first 500,000 are gone, that's it.

There Are High Art References Aplenty

Gaga described the album as "reverse Warholian," which you might have gathered through the Pop Art-referencing title. Jeff Koons—the most commercially successful living artist—designer the album's cover, which features a picture of his Lady Gaga sculpture as well as images of The Birth of Venus from Renaissance painter Botticelli.

Her Collaborators on ARTPOP

While T.I., Too Short and Twista all appear on "Jewels n' Drugs," the only other collaborator whose voice you'll hear on ARTPOP is R. Kelly on "Do What U Want." In the production booth, however, things are more diverse. and David Guetta team up for "Fashion!" while RedOne—who produced her early hits and several tracks on Born This Way—returns to work with her on one ARTPOP track, "Gypsy." Zedd and Madeon—who opened for her Born This Way Ball Tour—also lend their producer skills. And Rick Rubin—who co-founded Def Jam and produced everyone from Run-D.M.C. to Johnny Cash to Kanye—was recently revealed as a co-producer on "Dope."

It Features a Collaboration With a Dead Jazz Legend

"Venus" features a collaborator from beyond the grave with experimental jazz innovator Sun Ra. Specifically, it samples a cover of Sun Ra's 1973 track "Rocket Number Nine" recorded by French synth-pop duo Zombie Zombie.

"Dope" References the Former Best Friend Who's Suing Her

In the midst of a song about alcohol and drug abuse, Gaga makes a reference to Jennifer O'Neil, the ex-best friend and former personal assistant who is currently suing her for alleged unpaid overtime. "I know I f--ked up again, because I lost my only friend," Gaga sings on the just-released song. "I need you more than dope." While performing it at the YouTube Music Awards, she tellingly teared up a bit. 

"Sexxx Dreams" Is About Thinking of Someone Else While Doing It

"Haven't you ever been in bed with someone and fantasized about someone else?" Gaga asked in a recent radio interview. "In ['Sexxx Dreams'] I'm explaining my infidelity to the person I'm with."

Check out our "Who Wore It Best: Lady Gaga vs. the World" gallery below.