Lady Gaga’s ‘Dawn Of Chromatica’ is worthy, superior take on its innovative predecessor

Album cover of Lady Gaga remix album
Interscope Records/Courtesy

Related Posts

Grade: 4.0/5.0

With the release of Chromatica, Lady Gaga’s sixth solo album came mixed emotions from casual listeners and super fans alike. Originally postponed due to COVID-19 and eventually released in late May 2020 with the solemn realization that the world was entering a “new normal,” an upbeat album meant to be played in the club was a hard sell, to say the least. Nonetheless, the album contained plenty of incredible vocals, heartfelt lyricism and an experimental ethos that has lived on over a year later. Such musical spirit is celebrated in the newly released remix album Dawn Of Chromatica — though this time, it’s with a much more ready and optimistic audience.

The release is a clearly collaborative effort, featuring cameos by some of pop music’s most current and groundbreaking artists, all while remaining consistently cohesive. With remixes from pop princesses, such as Rina Sawayama and Charli XCX, to producers on the music industry’s forefront, such as Arca and A.G. Cook, the record has a little something for every one of its listeners and consists of nearly all unskippable tracks. 

The album starts off with a bang in the Berlin-based DJ LSDXOXO’s remix of “Alice.” By pitching Gaga’s voice down and accentuating the track’s original backing vocals of distorted screams, LSDXOXO completely transforms the original piece into a much darker, more danceable track than before. In Arca’s remix of “Rain On Me,” a similar mindset of complete transformation is used to create an enticing soundscape of harsh drums, Ariana Grande’s adlibs and striking dynamic variation. Arca remolds what once existed as a radio-friendly pop song into an avant-garde piece of musical artwork, where hidden fragments of her idiosyncratic production style can be found within each repeat listen.

In the “Sour Candy” remix by Shygirl and Mura Masa, the song’s original instrumentation remains recognizable with its bouncy synths and simple drum patterns, though this time, it is paired with incredibly enticing verses from the provocative U.K. rapper. In her iconically cool, sensual vocal style, Shygirl sings, “Yeah, I could be sweet, but I’m sour for you/ Taste the poison, make your dreams come true,” adding an undeniably fun, yet seductive layer to the already entertaining song.

Out of all the songs on the record, the expectations for Dorian Electra’s remix of the fan-favorite, deep house-inspired “Replay” were some of the highest. Luckily for Electra and listeners alike, the hyperpop royal met and exceeded all presumptions for the track. Combining their quintessential auto-tuned vocals with a Metallica-esque guitar backing, Electra provides an impressive, simultaneously lighthearted take on the endlessly beloved song, contributing one of the best, if not the best remix on the entire album.

While there isn’t a single track on the compilation worth skipping, there certainly are a few that don’t quite live up to the grandeur of the others. In Planningtorock’s take on “1000 Doves,” a choppy bass track and modulated Gaga vocals create intrigue for listeners, but the minimalistic mix feels unfinished and a bit too simple to justify a runtime of more than minutes. Similarly, in the Bree Runway and Jimmy Edgar remix of “Babylon,” the instrumental remains far too similar to that in the original song, making one wonder what justified the remix to exist in the first place.

The original tracklist of Chromatica certainly met its promise to be a futuristic take on the pop genre, yet Dawn Of Chromatica has somehow surpassed its former on nearly every level. By including such a numerous amount of up-and-coming faces within the experimental scene, the record plays as a joyful celebration of what the future of popular music has to offer. Filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind musical ideologies, uber-talented electronic production and artful insights into the music of tomorrow, Dawn Of Chromatica is a fabulously intriguing listen and is bound to impress both those within and outside of the Gaga fandom.

Contact Ian Fredrickson at [email protected].