The first bite of Lady Gaga‘s much-hyped ARTPOP landed on our plate last night and left something of a bitter aftertaste. “Aura” (or “Burqa” depending on who you listen to) picks up where some of Born This Way‘s weaker cuts left off — by prioritizing kookiness over catchiness. It’s never easy to judge an unfinished demo but the song isn’t the knock-out punch we’ve come to expect from Mother Monster.
However, the great thing about pop music is that one listener’s misfire is another’s flawless gem. In our round-up of reviews, opinions were largely negative but some critics could hear a nugget of Lady Gaga magic hiding beneath the excess. Head below to see what other’s had to say.
:: SPIN called the burqa-themed club-banger “a grasping EDM mess” but described the chorus as “memorable enough that it might be legit”. They also picked up on Lana Del Rey overtones in the intro.
:: Music Times says Gaga’s latest “starts much shakier than it ends”. They generally praise her willingness to experiment but note that “the second half is a little more radio friendly”.
:: Pop Justice took a cryptic approach, labelling the track “quite something”. We’re not sure if that’s a compliment or not.
:: Stereoboard warned fans that they are “in for a grim surprise” before adding: “we’re sure that if this does turn out to be an actual ARTPOP track, she won’t be receiving such high ‘Applause’.” Geddit?
:: Paper couldn’t make head nor tail of it, declaring: “controversial and mildly clever lyrics set to a throbbing, almost-grating dance beat that’s at times great and at times horrible.”
:: MuuMuse was diplomatic, saying: “this is just a demo… so any sort of hair-trigger analysis is unfair considering the demo of ‘Bad Romance’ sounded pretty terrible, and then the real version became one of the best pop songs of the decade.”
:: Popdust was cautiously optimistic. They expressed reservations about the intro but maintain that the hook is “as big as anything on The Fame Monster“.
:: Chart Rigger noted Gaga’s experimentalism and held off final judgement until hearing the finished version but quipped: “would it kill Lady Gaga to just give us another good old-fashioned verse-chorus killer, circa Fame Monster?” Yes, she would probably combust.
:: We Are Pop Slags kept it short and sweet, opining that: “the demo contains all the elements one expects from Gaga, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised if the finished product is entirely different.”