Gaga is back: Lady Gaga rediscovers sound, self-love we all missed in ‘Stupid Love’

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Yes, it’s true: Pop megastar Lady Gaga has broken her more than two-year-long musical hiatus with “Stupid Love,” a fun, energetic venture back into the early stages of her career. Fresh off of her leading role in “A Star is Born” as well as the major success of its partnered soundtrack, the next move from Gaga no longer seems like a question mark for fans and critics alike. 

We’ve seen Gaga explore numerous genres in recent years, from jazz in Cheek to Cheek to country in Joanne, and with her sixth studio album eminently approaching, many wonder most of all how Gaga will shape her image for the new decade. Luckily for us, in her new single, we see Gaga release the triumphant techno-disco energy fans haven’t seen from her since 2011’s Born This Way.

The track begins with an anticipation-inducing intro, including a simple kick drum partnered with teasing auto-tuned vocal melodies. Then, finally, we’re thrust into the rumbling, dance-heavy bass that dominates much of the track’s verses. Here, the song’s energy becomes bombastic; with the help of its ‘80s techno-alluding rhythm, the song is something one might dance to at a club or rave-like setting. 

This is Gaga in her prime: delivering nostalgic dance tunes that evoke the same obsession fans had with her 2008 debut single, “Just Dance,” a brief, euphoric escape from the tumult of daily life. With this new single, one can imagine the world she’s creating in anticipation of her next full-length project: an album that’s not only packed with earworms and get-up-and-dance tracks that call back to much of her earlier work but also presents a Gaga that feels much more at ease with herself than in past records.

“Gotta quit this cryin’, nobody’s gonna/ Heal me if I don’t open the door,” she jives. “Kinda hard to believe, gotta have faith in me.” These lyrics mark a major tonal departure from her 2013 lead single “Applause,” in which she sings: “If only fame had an IV/ Baby, could I bear being away from you,” implicative of the addictive relationship she had with fame during this time. Gaga’s shift here denotes a rediscovered self-love that was sparse in Artpop — her previous venture into the electronic genre — the major themes of which included addiction, loneliness and loss of freedom. 

Yet, this new self-love-infused single is not an entirely new route for Gaga, as she maintains much of the sound and lyrical style that have traveled with her throughout her expansive career. Her 2009 lead single, “Bad Romance,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart the same year, reflects much of the style and content of “Stupid Love” in all the right ways. 

The “Bad Romance” lyrics, “I want your love, and I want your revenge,” aren’t too far off from “I would battle for you (Even if I break in two).” What she chooses to retain here, however, is what we absolutely love about Gaga: It’s the carefree, self-driven mentality that differentiates her music from every other dance track out there, giving her tracks personality and allowing us to connect with them. 

“Stupid Love” is a high-energy, feel-good track that brings us into the bliss of the world Gaga’s creating, pushing us to shed our hesitations and immerse ourselves in the confidence she radiates fully and foremost for the first time in a long time.

Contact Ryan Garay at [email protected].