Lady Gaga is a master of reinvention.
With shimmering, studded platform heels and throaty, soulful vocals, she left an indelible imprint on music with her electro-pop sound on 2008’s The Fame. Years later, she pivoted to jazz for an album of duets with famed singer Tony Bennett, and 2016’s Joanne—a hodgepodge of traditional country, folk rock, and pop—is the last solo album we’ve seen from Mother Monster since. But after all that genre-hopping, Gaga’s new album Chromatica is taking fans back to the beginning: the dance floor.
Chromatica’s journey has been marred with obstacles from the beginning, from a leak of lead single “Stupid Love” to the novel coronavirus postponing the initial April 10 album release. But good things come to those who wait, and Chromatica finally has a new date. Ahead, everything you need to know about the album.
Chromatica will be released in May.
On Wednesday, May 6, Gaga announced that Chromatica will finally arrive at the end of May. “The journey continues. You can officially join me on #Chromatica on May 29,” she wrote on her socials. Back in March, Gaga shattered the hearts of her Little Monsters when she announced she would postpone the album’s release date in order to support COVID-19 workers in the midst of the global pandemic.
“Instead I prefer that we spend this time focusing on finding solutions,” she wrote in a note posted on social media. “It’s important to me that the attention is on getting essential medical equipment to health professionals, making sure kids who depend on public schools for meals get the assistance they need, and that we help those who will be financially impacted by the pandemic.”
What does “Chromatica” mean anyway?
Some fans believe the name relates to the color scale, which she mentioned to Lowe: “When you first look at it, it seems to be about colors and all the different colors and also music is made of a chromatic scale, you know? So it’s all the colors, all the sounds…so we’re talking about inclusivity and life and also a lot of what we see around us and what we’re experiencing is math, which is very much like music and and sound is math as well.”
But the album is also about healing: “The symbol for Chromatica has a sine wave in it, which is the mathematical symbol for sound, and it’s from what all sound is made from, and, for me, sound is what healed me in my life period, and it healed me again making this record, and that is really what Chromatica is all about,” she added. “Chromatica is a frame of mind.” The album takes us into Gaga’s world and shows us her perspective on life and love, something she’s never shied away from.
Dance-pop Gaga makes a return.
If Gaga’s lead single “Stupid Love” is any indication, Little Monsters will be dancing away their sorrows to Chromatica.
“We are definitely dancing,” Gaga also told Lowe. “I put all my heart, all my pain, all my messages from the other realm that I hear of—what they tell me to tell the world—and I put it in music that I believe to be so fun and energetically pure. I want people to dance and feel happy.”
The upbeat songs on the album helped Gaga out of depressive episodes. In an interview with Paper, she explained she would “start out the day so down and I’d end up dancing, looking in the mirror, practicing my moves, singing along. Every day was an enlightening experience, but it had to happen every day.”
And if Chromatica can help her out her funk, she hopes it does the same for her Little Monsters. “I will do whatever it takes to make the world dance and smile,” she added. “I want to put out a record that forces people to rejoice even in their saddest moments. And by the way, I’m not standing over here with a flag going, ‘I’m all healed, everything’s perfect.’ It’s not; it’s a fight all the time. I still work on myself constantly. I have bad days, I have good days. Yeah, I live in Chromatica, it took a minute to get here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember what happened.”
The features are few but powerful.
Gaga recruited the best of the best for her new album. Elton John, Ariana Grande, and Blackpink are all featured on the 16-track effort. Gaga told Paper that when she and Ariana sat down to record the song, the tears were flowing.
The powerhouse vocalists created a song Paper described as a “dance tune” and the “message is about submitting yourself to devastation,” according to writer Justin Moran. “I sat with her and we talked about our lives,” Gaga said of collaborating with Grande. “It’s two women having a conversation about how to keep going and how to be grateful for what you do.”