Her dive back into disco, electro-pop, and house music couldn’t come at a better time

If anyone was going to send a love letter to disco and house music at a time when going to the club feels about as alien as wearing a dress made of cleaved meat, it’d be Lady Gaga. Although she initially had reservations about putting out Chromatica at the start of pandemic shutdowns, there’s something comforting about the way the album captures the feeling of banging your feet on a sweaty dance floor and bumping into strangers during the loneliest, most isolated moment in history.

It might not have been her intention when she recorded the album, which signals a return to her electro-pop roots, but between her hopeful choruses and floorboard-thumping beats, she has captured the longing for togetherness that people are now feeling while wearing headphones, squinting into their webcams, and dancing alone in their basements.

In the decade or so since Gaga introduced herself with “Just Dance,” she’s drifted from big-haired pop ingenue to jazz chanteuse to lite-rock balladeer to Hollywood belter, but with few exceptions, she’s best when she drops the guises and gets personal. On Chromatica, her sixth album, she shows off all the sides of herself that made people fall in love with her in the first place: She’s a romantic, a ham, a truth teller, a gossip, a flirt, and, most often, a woman who needs healing after being hurt too many times. Her goal may still be to just dance, but she seems more three-dimensional this time, more human than the “Fame Monster” title she gave herself all those years ago.

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