In the last stretch of her massive continent-spanning 119-date Born This Way Ball world tour, Lady Gaga’s right hip gave.
The doctors found a labral tear, where the cartilage connecting the femur to the pelvis had degraded, fraying connective muscle and ligament as well. It’s an affliction caused by excess strain on the legs.
It was obvious Lady Gaga’s frantic dance routines had finally caught up with her.
On Valentine’s Day 2013, tour organizer Live Nation confirmed that Gaga’s last 21 dates were canceled. The battered 27-year-old pop star, confined to a wheelchair, would spend the next six months recovering her mobility.
Those same six months were also spent polishing her third album. As albums go, the third installment is the most vital in a career arc. Album three is often an artist’s definitive masterpiece. It should represent the best of its predecessors and set a new direction for ensuing releases.
When the six month hiatus had elapsed, Gaga revealed the gruesome details of her injury to a leading fashion magazine. According to her, the wounds were worse than initially suspected.
But she’s okay now and, better still, Artpop is done and ready to go. Its lead single Applause broodily went viral in August.
Her newest album, however, is due on November 11 and is accompanied by a mobile app promising users an experience along the lines of “altering the human experience with social media. The viral advertising copy even went so far as to describe it as “a reverse Warholian expedition.”
To think almost eight years ago, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s fledgling music career almost never happened. Growing up in Yonkers, New York, the young Ms Germanotta’s home life was as normal as can be. As early as her exclusive Catholic high school years, the dream had come alive.
A stint in a prestigious conservatory honed Germanotta’s budding talent. It took a text message from producer Rob Fusari to christen her Lady Gaga, giving an identity to a 20-year-old hopeful with a passion for hard rock and songwriting.
But when Def Jam records dropped her after three months, she was devastated—and penniless.
According to one account, shared by Gaga herself, she cried on the family couch as Destiny’s Child’s Survivor played on TV. Lady Gaga’s impasse spanned one broken relationship, a bad romance with cocaine, and pole dancing in clubs until she climbed the ranks of the almighty Interscope Records.
Having overcome her starving artist period, Lady Gaga’s The Fame dropped in 2008. To promote it she toured with the Pussycat Dolls as an opening act, performing intense six-song sets across Europe while her album fired the charts. As the saying goes, the rest was insanity.
When she tethers her purpose-built craziness, Gaga can be frank about her inner world and appear human. “Coming from me, and everyone thinks I’m a sexually charged pop music maniac, which I am, but I didn’t start to enjoy sex until I was much older” she reveals in an interview.
The Fame begat a redux—The Fame Monster—and was followed by the spectacular Born This Way and its rousing title anthem. Although many believe her sophomore effort was lackluster, it produced enough hits to bury its worst critics.
But as soon as Born This Way shook the pop world, Gaga dove into her next album. Forsaking a studio, she brought along collaborators like DJ White Shadow, a Chicago native and seasoned producer, to start laying down tracks. Also on board were 24-year-old German DJ Zedd and 19-year-old French DJ Madeon, both of whom served as openers in her lavish Born This Way Ball stage shows set in a castle built by design company TAIT, who promise their clients “We embrace every challenge. We build the impossible.”
As a much anticipated release, much of Artpop remains classified material. Judging by Applause, however, the usual Lady Gaga showgirlship is intact with additional servings of circus freakishness.
How far is she pushing the envelop this time?
Hard to tell. But one can expect a combination of:
Nude or semi-nude dancing.
Massive sing-along choruses.
Beautifully crafted electro-pop melodies. Weirdness, in general.
Print ed: 10/13