“Dawn of Chromatica,” the latest album from pop icon Lady Gaga, is a glimpse into the hedonistic side of pop. From its surrealist promotional material to the cover’s garish use of tentacle monsters and color scheme, the remix album for the original “Chromatica” seems like a delirious reimagining from her three previous albums. If the original album was Gaga returning to her dance pop roots, “Dawn of Chromatica” fully embraces the camp alien aesthetic its predecessor toyed with.
Executively produced by electropop personality BloodPop, “Dawn of Chromatica” features a hodgepodge of alternative pop giants such as Ashnikko, Bree Runway and Shygirl taking a stab at remixing Gaga’s original album. Indeed, almost all of the tracks on “Chromatica” are remixed here; the only tracks that obviously didn’t make the cut were Grimes’ rearrangements of the original interludes. Aside from that missed opportunity, almost every dancehall hit is accounted for in “Dawn of Chromatica.”
Hyperpop industry giants dominate “Dawn of Chromatica” — A.G. Cook, Arca, Charli XCX and Dorian Electra, to name a few. Fans of the pop subgenre should expect a lot of the “pots and pans'' sound that’s so joked about, and indeed, the “Rain on Me” and “911” remixes are just some of the tracks that deliver on this sugary soundscape.
As expected, the hyperpop focus of this remix album brings out some of the genre’s hilarious highlights. Coucou Chloe’s remix of “Stupid Love,” for example, features a delicious bass boost one just cannot take seriously, but that’s the point: “Dawn of Chromatica” is here to party, to have a good time.
But despite the complete departure from the source material, many of its remixes are quite conservative, never splicing or distorting so much that the tracks feel completely new. Contrary to critics’ beliefs, “Dawn of Chromatica” is more than just “noisy or just plain tuneless,” often staying true to the originals’ arrangement. You can, in fact, sing along to the hyperpop counterparts of “Plastic Doll” and “Sour Candy.”
And while “Dawn of Chromatica'' unapologetically leans into the synthetic maximalism of its hyperpop aesthetics, there’s more to it than plasticy beats and auto-tuned vocals. The Rina Sawayama and Clarence Clarity remix of “Free Woman,” for example, heavily leans into the iconic arena rock Sawayama is known for; Doss’ remix of “Enigma,” meanwhile, leans into the producer’s Y2K trance style. These strays from the hyperpop aesthetic are not predominant, but they are breaths of fresh air in an album full of high-energy distortion.
The perfect remix album strikes a balance between the familiar and the unexpected, and for the most part, “Dawn of Chromatica” manages to hit that middle point. Its tracks feel like fresh reimaginings of Chromatica’s earlier hits, some better than others. There are a few low points on the album; Chester Lockhart, Mood Killer and Lil Texas remix of “Sine from Above” feels aimless and Pabblo Vittar’s remix of “Fun Tonight” feels like mediocre bachata music, but even these feel surprisingly fresh and accessible.
“Dawn of Chromatica” is a perfect sister album for the original “Chromatica” — opposite sides of a coin, one sonically conservative and the other overly ambitious. Both Gaga enthusiasts and hyperpop fans have a lot to look forward to with “Dawn of Chromatica,” as the album successfully caters to both audiences without compromising too much of their originality. Suffice to say, both are well-suited for the dance floor.