Each month, the editors and critics at Rolling Stone compile a list of must-hear new albums. Our picks for May include Lady Gaga’s return to the dancefloor, Bad Bunny’s quarantine quickie and Steve Earle’s tribute to coal country
Lady Gaga, Chromatica
Chromatica is a return to form, and a return to the dance floor for Lady Gaga. The singles “Stupid Love” and “Rain on Me” have the pop sensibilities of her early hits, and the music throws back to house, disco, and even new wave, but it still feels like a progression as Gaga sings about rising above past bad romances and her hope for the future. She kept the guest list tight this time, so when Ariana Grande offers up breathy verses, Blackpink rhyme Gaga’s English lyrics in Korean, and Elton John does his best Rocketman on a song about, surprisingly, sine waves, it’s never too distracting. Although there are a few missteps on Chromatica — as always, whenever Gaga gets too high concept, such as on the Barbie metaphor “Plastic Doll” or “Babylon” (a blatantly Madonna-esque ode to gossiping, whose title should be read “babble on”) — Gaga crafted a potent antidote to the quarantine blues.