By AARON KREIN
Last Saturday, pop superstar Lady Gaga headlined the second day of performances at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California. With a 19-song set, Gaga took the audience and YouTube streamers across the world on a trip of her biggest hits.
There were also some fan favorites such as “Scheibe” and “Teeth” in the mix. However, the most-talked-about moment of Gaga’s set was when she premiered a new track called “The Cure.”
After the performance, she announced the song was immediately available on iTunes. At the time of this writing, this song has topped the iTunes chart in over 50 countries, including the United States.
With no prior announcement of a new project in the works and the “Joanne” World Tour fast approaching, no one saw this coming.
Her most recent album, “Joanne,” was released last October with only two single releases, “Perfect Illusion” and “Million Reasons.”
With her last two albums receiving criticism for not being as mainstream, it seems as though Gaga has the want for another hit with “The Cure.”
The track starts with an electronic beat before being drowned in a sea of fingersnaps.
The first ten seconds of the track sound like something current and radio-friendly, making the single a departure from her past work.
The track was co-written and produced by Nick Monson, who previously worked with Gaga on the majority of “Artpop.” It also has a writing credit from DJ White Shadow, who helped generate success for Gaga during “The Fame Monster” and “Born This Way” eras.
Gaga sings over an R&B-esque beat similar to Ariana Grande that leads into a bubblegum pop explosion of a chorus. The music itself is reminiscent of the recent urban pop style of Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas and Britney Spears.
Interestingly enough, Monson worked with those three on their last projects. Lyrically, the track is about wanting to support your lover during a tough time even if they are unwilling to receive it.
It’s a basic premise that has been quite popular lately. It reminds me of when Gaga premiered “I Wanna Be With You” at the iTunes Festival during the “Artpop” era in 2013. It was relatable and easily became a fan favorite.
However, when the album was released, the song was reworked into something overly specific and renamed “Dope.” Gaga might be learning from her mistakes.
The biggest debate online right now is whether Gaga ‘sold out’ to the mainstream. It’s an accusation many performers, such as Nelly Furtado, Usher and Jewel, have received after changing their style rapidly to be current.
There is no question that this song, after two setbacks with “Artpop” and “Joanne,” is looking to be a hit. As previously stated, the track checks all the boxes for the formula for a hit in 2017.
An electronic beat, a mid-tempo pop drop, R&B/pop infused verses with finger snaps, and a vocally explosive chorus are evidence enough. However, I don’t find any harm as long as the track is decent. In this case, I think “The Cure” is one of Gaga’s biggest earworms in a while.
During the pre-chorus, Gaga also uses a whisper tone in her voice, which is different from the in-your-face powerhouse vocals we’re used to hearing from her.
It just vaguely reminds me of Jessica Simpson’s vocals during the “In The Skin” era in 2004, especially on “With You.” It’s nice to see her experiment with different ways to project her voice.
At the end of the day, I’m hoping that this single is slam dunk for a star who audiences have been rooting for the past few years.
The track’s digital sales are great after a day, but we’ll see how it does after a longer period of time. “Perfect Illusion” started off high but ended up only debuting and peaking at number 15.
I’ve been a fan of Gaga since her debut and wish nothing but the best for an artist who has pushed the boundaries of pop for nearly a decade.
However, as discussed, it’s not always a bad thing to pull the curtain back and do something simple.