Beneath the high-art lyrical references and driving electronic production of most Lady Gaga songs are straightforward pop hooks, many of which are quite effective. The same holds true for Gaga’s ARTPOP app, released simultaneously with her album of the same name, which relies upon a complex premise to introduce a streamlined environment for Gaga die-hards to hear the album and create some cool images while chatting with each other.
Developed by Relative Wave and free to download on iPad, iPhone or Android, the app prompts users for a surprising amount of personal information upon downloading. “Before you can exist in the universe of ARTPOP, I must first generate your aura,” says Petga, the app’s interface, which then asks users to enter their name, a location, and to select their personality traits from a list. The process is actually an arduous (albeit sleekly designed) exercise in assigning the users the color of their aura, a glowing orb that shares its name with the first song on ARTPOP.
Then, the fun begins: Users can enter the ArtHaus portion of the app to create trippy GIFs using different photos, filters, graphics and movements, and then share their masterpieces on a timeline that pulls from all app users. It’s MS Paint meets Instagram, and the design options — as well as the ability to “remix” another person’s creation — can occupy even non-Gaga fans for a long time.
Two components of the app, dubbed TrakStar and GagaTV, will be unveiled in early 2014, and aside from ArtHaus and the Little Monsters Chat (which lets users converse with each other), the app lets users listen to Gaga’s “ARTPOP” album — but only if they purchase it first. The ARTPOP app will get more intriguing as more elements (and, hopefully, some sort of album-streaming option) are added, but until then, it offers sensory pleasures as guileless as the chorus of “Applause.”