Monday, October 21, 2013

Lady Gaga - Do What U Want (Feat. R. Kelly)

I feel like the big pop stars are struggling when it comes to the concept of featured artists.  Katy Perry tainted "Dark Horse" with Juicy J and Ke$ha is working with super creeper Pitbull.  It all feels like an attempt to cross market into other radio formats.  Oh, her new single features a rapper.  Let's send it over to the hip-hop stations and get double the audience impression. Very rarely do these collaborations feel like two artists working together to create something of a combined effort.

"Do What U Want" is Lady Gaga's new promo single.  It features R. Kelly, which completely confused me.  He's not exactly the most in demand name out there, so maybe it's not a call for record sales after all.  But then again, it's R. Kelly we're talking about.  Why would Lady Gaga, arguably the most powerful character in the business, select an R&B singer that drastically contradicts almost every style decision she's presented thus far?  Why is she also showcasing her thong wearing rear? Because she's Lady Gaga.

In the end result, R. Kelly only weighs down a nice pop song.  This is almost completely personal taste speaking, since my own knowledge and liking to his music extends from "I Believe I Can Fly" to the Céline Dion holiday duet, "I'm Your Angel".  That's not much to talk about.  Maybe Gaga's just a fan of his music and it's nothing more complicated.

The "Do What U Want" instrumental is fantastic, though.  It's crushing with a jagged synth and then the bouncing climax only elevates everything. Gaga's vocals are also a feature to talk about.  She's a bit more showy than usual, with added runs and throaty belting.  But all of the recent tracks from Gaga just seem a bit strange after Born This Way.  She went from an extremely heavy album filled with morals and feel-good messages to something that's, I don't know... not quite as powerful?  All shall be revealed when ARTPOP arrives.

Listen to "Do What U Want" below and remember to check out ARTPOP on November 11.

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