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Track Review: Lady Gaga, “Venus”

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Track Review: Lady Gaga, “Venus”

Another week, another Lady Gaga single pseudo-controversy. A snippet of “Venus,” the latest promotional single from the singer’s new album, Artpop, hadn’t even been released yet when accusations of thievery began to fly. Gaga credits the late jazz musician Sun Ra’s 1966 song “Rocket Number Nine Take Off for the Planet Venus” as the basis for some of the song’s lyrics, but French electronic duo Zombie Zombie took to their Facebook page last week to cry foul. Their 2012 track “Rocket Number 9,” which likewise co-opts Sun Ra’s lyrics, sounds awfully similar to Gaga’s release, for which three different covers were shot by Steven Klein, one of which (pictured above) emulates a portrait of mentor Marina Abramović from 2005. It wouldn’t be the first time two artists had the same idea, but this latest copyright kerfuffle comes on the heels of two other Artpop songs, “Aura” and “Do What U Want,” whose backing tracks have similarly dodgy origins. (The lesson Ms. Germanotta apparently learned from the fallout over her 2011 single “Born This Way” was to swipe from lesser-known artists.)

“Venus” was scheduled to be the second single from Artpop, but once teaser track “Do What U Want” debuted atop the iTunes chart (reportedly due, at least in part, to automatic sales tallied from pre-orders of the album) the singer and Interscope hastily changed their minds in a move reminiscent of their decision to release “The Edge of Glory” as the third single from Born This Way. Though “Do What U Want” has already tumbled from its digital sales perch, it will probably make a better single than “Venus,” which finds the singer affecting both the Bowie-esque accent of the underwhelming “Applause” and the more guttural, Xtina-style belting of “Do What U Want.” Silly, seemingly nonsensical lyrics like “Aphrodite lady seashell bikini garden panty” recall Gaga’s early hits, but the idiotic “Uranus!/Don’t you know my ass is famous?” is no “I’m bluffin’ with my muffin.” “Venus” is a solar system away from smashes like the hook-laden “Telephone” and the epic “Bad Romance”; at best, it’s sorta fun, tongue-in-cheek album filler. Listen for yourself:

Artpop is set for release on November 11th.