True or false: the last Lady Gaga album was the soundtrack to “A Star is Born.”
The last Lady Gaga album was “Joanne,” released October 30, 2016. Its first week sales were a total 162,000, and it collapsed after that. It wasn’t until Gaga appeared as the half time musical act on the Super Bowl, the following February, that the “Joanne” album finally exploded. Indeed, all Gaga recordings flew up the charts that night, and revived her sales enormously.
“A Star is Born” followed almost exactly two years later, in October 2018. Opening week sales were 201,000. It was another slow builder, until the movie finally took hold and “Shallow” became an anthem.
Now we wait for Friday’s “Chromatica.” Postponed from April 10th, the album had a first single, “Stupid Love,” that was more of a loss leader, a teaser. It didn’t do much more than tell the world Lady Gaga was back.
The second single, a duet with Ariana Grande called “Rain on Me,” is number 1 right now. It couldn’t be anything else. Ariana’s manager, Scooter Braun, touts it on social media like it’s his client’s record and Gaga is the guest star. But it’s brilliant marketing, the marriage of two superstars.
“Chromatica” is already number 1 on Amazon, and will debut on iTunes Friday at midnight at number 1. But aside from the two singles, no one’s heard any of it. There are no press copies — too much concern about piracy. Even Tony Bennett hasn’t heard it. So Friday midnight could cause Spotify to crash, as all Gaga fans pile on the service to hear the album for the first time.
With very little else going on, will “Chromatica” have a bigger opening week that “Joanne” or “A Star is Born?” If the marketing is any indication, first week sales should exceed 200,000. Of course, the big problem is media appearances. In a normal release, Gaga would be on Jimmy Fallon first, then doing Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, hitting “Today” or “GMA” for morning concerts, etc. But none of that is available this week.
Lucky for Gaga, with all the beef shortages, her meat dress was probably broiled and served a long time ago. “Chromatica” will be a vegetarian delight!