Just when you thought the pre-holiday was going to be crowded with need-to-listen pop albums, things get even more jam-packed. Not only will we see the release of Lady Gaga's long-awaited third album ARTPOP and Katy Perry's next reinvention with Prism, word is that we're now going to get a new album from Rihanna the same month as Gaga and the month after Perry. So of course, all related coverage has been pitting these albums, and by extension, their makers, against one another in a "who will have the best album" race to the finish. (Including, yes, Bustle itself.) For three songstresses that have worked hard to individuate themselves in a generic industry, it's a little conspicuous that we'll get three of the most anticipated albums of the year within a few weeks of one another.
This album release explosion certainly raises a few questions, both about who will outsell who, but more importantly, why are all of these albums grouped together in the first place? Because the really nice thing about Rihanna, Perry, and Lady Gaga is that they each produce music that is unique enough from one another to avoid comparison. You never hear a RiRi track and think, "Whoopsie, totally thought this was Katy Perry," and Gaga's voice is too distinctive to be mistaken (although her beats ran towards ordinary on her last album).
But releasing albums all at the same time, each with a potential reinvention in mind (we know for sure we'll be getting one from Gaga, as per usual, and Perry seems slated to let out her dark side), seems to force us to compare them. Which seems counterintuitive from a marketing standpoint — if you are already a unique product with a niche market, there is no gain whatsoever from releasing your new product into a flooded marketplace. The people who buy a Rihanna, Perry, or Gaga album are all generally the same, so who benefits from forcing them to choose between the three?
I just can't wrap my head around it. There are 12 months in the year, yet three of pop's leading ladies have miraculously decided to release an album within three weeks of one another. And it's sort annoying that now, instead of three separate radio takeovers, three slews of late night talk show appearances, and three rounds of critiques to stalk/read through, we're going to have a mashed combo of all of them at once.
So are these pop singers trying to invite comparison? Am I just not seeing the big picture, missing an essential piece that makes this crowding thing make sense? I'm of course excited to hear what these ladies will put out next, but I wish I wasn't going to be judging them all at the same time. Now, the only thing that could make this worse is if Miley Cyrus decides to release her new album Bangerz during that same three-week period, and she actually beats out Katy, Gaga, and RiRi for record sales. Then we'll all have to jump off a cliff due to pure confusion and deeply rooted despair.