Lady Gaga and Deerhoof with the new and noteworthy 

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Lady Gaga, Chromatica (Streamline/Interscope) – It’s no wonder the new Gaga album has received such a polarized reception. You could call it a perfect suite of 18 brief dance-floor gems, or an album full of predictable riffs. Both are correct. Gaga avoids breaking much new ground here. Sure, the lyrics may be self-disclosing, but they also are trite. But EDM snobs who say the production is flat don’t take into account the rapid-fire vigor that brings the songs to life. Collaborations with Ariana Grande and BLACKPINK put “Rain on Me” and “Sour Candy” among Gaga’s best cuts. That’s enough to make the album a hit.
Deerhoof, Future Teenage Cave Artists (Joyful Noise) – This former Bay Area ensemble was born in noise and dissonance, yet moved slowly to a more commercial beat, until 2017’s Mountain Moves offered collaborations with dance-pop vocalists. The new album is a return to experimental roots, but feels as if the lo-fi and dissonant flourishes are misplaced. As usual, the band’s loving, heartfelt intention comes through, in tracks like “I Call on Thee,” but an effort to move away from commercialism and back to pure art doesn’t always ensure an evolution to greatness.


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