Sure, she seems to be having a successful run with Cheek to Cheek, her 2014 collaborative album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett (more on that later because it may be crazier than most of the obviously crazy things she’s known for), but there’s been a lull in the fame and celebrity surrounding Gaga for a few months now. The woman who arrived in an egg at the Grammys, the woman who wore the meat dress (which apparently really stank), the woman who performed with a ‘vomit painter’ on stage, the monstrous feminine, the mother creature, the weird fiction narrative come to life... is now wearing jumpsuits and her original hair colour, and crooning with an 88 year old performer of show tunes. She’s doing it well, by all reports, but it’s just not as interesting, is it?
With Tony Bennett, Gaga is a tempered-down version of herself. She's still occasionally seen with green hair or pink, but when she's with Bennett, she has gone back to her original dark brows and hair (even if styled as a 70’s Cher style ‘fro or Princess Leia braid) and her patented get-ups are reduced to swishy long dresses made of regular boring materials like silk. She’s relying totally on her voice to carry her through this, which is great since, surprise - she really can sing. I do miss the spectacle element, because that’s something so much a part of what she does, but in a way it’s sweet that she’s respecting the much older, more experienced entertainer she’s with by not distracting from what they accomplish with their voices alone.
What no one wants to talk about is 2013’s ArtPop - the album and accompanying music videos that seem to have left everyone cold. Maybe Gaga went her own way and she just didn’t connect with as many people, maybe it all finally just got too weird, maybe the music industry is crazy to not consider an album that still sold over 2 million copies a success, but still, I have to agree: nothing that came from ArtPop felt like it had the longevity of something from The Fame Monster.