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Music

Ally Who? Lady Gaga returns to modern pop with new single ‘Stupid Love’

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s new single, “Stupid Love,” marks a return to the dystopian dance-pop that made her a pre-streaming superstar.
(Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images)

Ally Maine has left the building.

Lady Gaga released a new single Thursday night, the 33-year-old pop singer’s first piece of music since her acclaimed starring role opposite Bradley Cooper in his 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born.” A knowing return to the flamboyant dance-pop sound that brought her to fame more than a decade ago, “Stupid Love” — in which she declares, “Now it’s time to free me from the chain,” over a throbbing disco groove — landed on streaming services around 9 p.m. accompanied by a colorful music video in which opposing tribes flex their best moves in a post-apocalyptic desertscape.

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“Stupid Love,” which Lady Gaga created with a team headed by BloodPop and the Swedish studio wizard Max Martin, comes nearly a year and a half after she appeared in “A Star Is Born” as the latest version of the showbiz hopeful previously played by Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Janet Gaynor. For her performance as Ally — a gifted songwriter in a volatile relationship with Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine — Gaga was nominated for an Academy Award for lead actress; she won an Oscar for original song for co-writing “Shallow,” her and Cooper’s rootsy power-ballad duet.

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In late 2018, the singer kept up the high-toned razzle-dazzle with the premiere of a long-term show at Las Vegas’ Park MGM— two of them, in fact: “Enigma,” a high-tech pop spectacle with elaborately choreographed renditions of songs like “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance,” along with “Jazz & Piano,” in which she does standards including “Luck Be a Lady” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” while backed by a small orchestra. The residency, for which she’s reportedly being paid $100 million, is scheduled through mid-May.

Lady Gaga’s last album (not counting the soundtrack from “A Star Is Born”) was 2016’s classic-rock-inspired “Joanne.” Before that, though, the New York-born Stefani Germanotta scored some of the biggest hits of the pre-streaming era with the self-explanatory “Just Dance” and “Born This Way,” a thumping stadium-rave jam about LGBTQ pride. The challenge before her now — at a moment when former peers like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus are struggling for visibility — is to attract young fans with a song that sounds like anything other than hip-hop.

“I want people to dance and feel happy,” Gaga said of her new music in a recent interview with Zane Lowe of Apple’s Beats 1. “I put all my heart, all my pain, all my messages from the other realm that I hear... into music that I believe to be so fun and energetically really pure.”


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