Lady Gaga and Katy Perry both arrived in 2008, with major-label debut albums. Twelve years later, they’ve both released their sixth LPs, in their mid-30s. Both “Chromatica” (by Lady Gaga) and “Smile” (by Perry) have been hailed as “return to form” records that draw on the aesthetics that helped make them famous. Discussing the new work, both singers and songwriters have referenced periods of darkness that grew largely from the weight of celebrity, and the ways their personas grew detached from the artists within.
Where do “Chromatica” and “Smile” fit into each artist’s trajectory (particularly as follow-ups to their last albums, “Joanne” and “Witness”), as well as the larger pop landscape during a summer ruled by Taylor Swift, a third major force who has held No. 1 for six consecutive weeks with an album far outside the dance-pop paradigm? Caryn Ganz, the pop music editor for The New York Times, guest hosts this episode of Popcast.