Chromatica Review

Deemed the Queen of Pop by many, Lady Gaga has been making waves for over a decade with her eccentric and boisterous persona and music. Gaga is an ally for the people who feel the most discarded by society. 

“I want to help people…. I don’t wanna just take your money and sing for you. I want to help change your life,” says Gaga during her 2020 Visions Interview with Oprah. Well, I can profess she’s done just that for me with her new album Chromatica.

As a queer, dark-skinned Black woman, I have struggled with my identity as it relates to my place in the world. The release of Chromatica has plucked me out of my rabbit hole of despair and transformed me deep within its world of fortitude and empowerment.  

Chromatica begins by ushering you into its dream world with the sounds of a grand galactic symphony, reminiscent of the sounds on KiD CuDi’s debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day Album, another album which helped me through dire times in my life. 

Photo of Ariana Grande and Gaga Compliments of Billboard.com

Gaga succeed in fully capturing me with her single “Rain on Me” featuring Ariana Grande. When this song plays, I cannot stay in my seat! Immediately, I am reminiscent of college days where I danced on bar tops with my best friend.  The chorus is catchy and empowering (“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive/ Rain on me, rain rain/Rain on me, rain rain.”)

“Sometimes I’ve thought I’ve cried so many tears that that’s all I was anymore— a fountain of misery to cycle through,” Gaga stated while giving background on her hit single. Between Covid-19 claiming countless lives and the vicious police brutality against Black people, a deep depression found solace in my heart. I too cried countless tears with all that was going on around me. One of my worst fears as a Black American is to become a victim of police brutality. As Black people we are trained from young on how to interact with the police. Be overly polite. Always keep your hands visible. Keep all documents accessible. And the reality is that none of those precautions keep us from being murdered by the police. 

Blacks continue to be lynched by white supremacists with little or no justice served. Ahmaud Arbery’s murder especially triggered me because it further amplified this unsavory truth about American race relations. Ahmaud was a 25-year-old Black man that was fatally gunned down by a White father and son during his jog in a Georgia neighborhood, earlier this year. Following this heartbreak came the horrific murder of Breonna Taylor, who has yet to receive any form justice, after being murdered by the police in her own home while she slept.

Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, George Floyd, …the names continue on and on as my thoughts swirled out of control. In the midst of this trauma, Lady Gaga lended her money and platform to organizations serving firsthand in the fight for equality.  

Photo Compliments of @KW_Illustrate

Gaga also gets very candid about her stance on love throughout the album. She professes in an exclusive storyline with Spotify that she’s been labeled a love addict and acknowledges that there is “freedom in simply acknowledging that [her] need for love is a bottomless pit.” 

I have been yearning to experience an overflowing, “ace of cups love,” as I would describe it to my tarot-friendly readers. This yearning for a partnership contradicts my independent nature. Lady Gaga understands this dichotomy within me. I am proud to be an independent woman; however, my ability to be independent does not cancel out my desire to be in an intimate relationship. This point directs me to my next favorite song on the album, Free Woman.  (“I’m not nothing without a steady hand/ I’m not nothing unless I know I can / I’m still something if I dont got a man/ I’m a free woman.”)

Gaga reveals that her song Free Woman was birthed from her experience of being sexually assaulted by a music producer. She says that the assault compounded her feelings and made her think about what she had compromised to get to where she is now. For the past two years, I have been in this space of analyzing the painful parts of my past in order to make way for my future. Gaga helped me to remember to trust myself.  To use my voice.  And, to remember what I deserve.

Photo Compliments of Medium.com

I would like to give special mentions to my other favorite songs on the album: Plastic Doll, Sour Candy, and Babylon. These songs reiterate themes of being valued, remaining a fighter, and dancing your way through life. Chromatica unleashed pieces within me needed to rise from the ashes. Her words made me feel validated, seen, and powerful in all of my glory. 

Give it a listen. I hope it does the same and more for you. Oh, and I’m totally here for an Alice Remix featuring Janelle Monae! Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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