The Long Saga of Lady Gaga’s Unreleased Artpop Act II

Lady Gaga attends the ARTRAVE in a little face mask.
(Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Topping the charts in several major countries and making more than a few “Best Of” lists back in 2013, Lady Gaga’s Artpop was a pretty successful record that did little to curtail the singer’s rise to icon status. But to Little Monsters, Artpop represents something mythic. To them, it was Gaga’s highest peak and an unregarded masterpiece that never got its full due. So, what began as an April Fool’s Day prank pulled by the album’s main producer, DJ White Shadow, has led to new calls for something even more mythic in the eyes of the Monster faithful: Artpop Act II.

Gaga herself has now acknowledged the outpouring of support, adding hope that something new may arise from the ARTPOP ashes.

“The petition to #buyARTPOPoniTunes for a volume II has inspired such a tremendous warmth in my heart,” Gaga wrote. “Making this album was like heart surgery, I was desperate, in pain, and poured my heart into electronic music that slammed harder than any drug I could find.”

“I fell apart after I released this album. Thank you for celebrating something that once felt like destruction. We always believed it was ahead of its time. Years later, turns out, sometimes, artists know. And so do little monsters. Paws up.”

Shortly after her post, the original album hit the top spot on iTunes Pop Album charts.

Though, to fully understand the buzz, you have to go back to before Artpop was even released.

Gaga Has Been Teasing Artpop ACT II Since 2012

Even a year before Artpop’s November 2013 release, Gaga was already teasing something of a follow-up.

"It's a bit more modern. You never know if radio is ready," Gaga told MTV News at the time. "I can't decide how to tracklist it yet. Sort of thinking that Volume One should have all the commercial songs and save the experimental material for Volume Two."

Gaga began referring to the project as “ACT II,” and even hinted that there could be more than two acts. The last time she publicly acknowledged the possibility of more installments of Artpop, however, was at the SXSW conference in 2014. She went on to release her jazzy duets album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, later that year before releasing her country and rock-tinged solo follow-up Joanne in 2016. Though many regarded her 2020 album Chromatica as her return to the dance pop-fare of the Artpop era, fans have still held out hope for an official sequel to the latter album.

Dozens of Unreleased Songs Exist From the Artpop Era

Gaga has stated that she wrote over 90 songs for Artpop, though it’s not completely uncommon for artists to work on dozens of potential songs before whittling down an album’s tracklist. Gaga has mentioned a few of the cut tracks, while fans have dug up proof of the existence of others. Tracks include “Brooklyn Nights,” “Tea,” “Princess Die” (which has been performed live), and even one called, uh, “Onion Girl.” There were also two collaborations with rapper-turned-internet troll Azealia Banks recorded for the album.

At Times, Gaga Seems to Have Moved on Completely From the Era

The pressure on Gaga before the album’s release was high. She was at the peak of her imperial phase, and both the media and stans had fueled the flames of something of a rivalry between Gaga and the original bleach blonde Italian-American pop goddess Madonna herself (“look it up”). Meanwhile, she had to cancel the end of her tour for Born This Way to undergo hip surgery. As her tweets above reference, she also wasn’t in the healthiest mental space.

So it’s understandable that sometimes she has mixed emotions about the album, but she still rankles fans when she tweets stuff like this:

On April Fools’ Day, DJ White Shadow Teased the Release of “Tea”

On April 1st, White Shadow joked about finally releasing the track “Tea,” but fans took it seriously and started a petition and the hashtag #BuyARTPOPoniTunes.

So, Is Something Actually Happening?

Well, maybe...White Shadow took to Instagram to report that he’s talked to Gaga, and they’ll discuss future plans after she returns home from Italy after filming House of Gucci. “No promises made, but kindness and love are strong as steel,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, There’s the Possibility of a Chromatica Act II

While White Shadow has been banging the gong for more Artpop, Gaga’s main Chromatica collaborator Bloodpop has been teasing new dispatches from the land of Kindness Punks.

On April 4th, the producers teased work on a Chromatica remix album that may include contributions from Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama.

Meanwhile, Gaga also recorded unreleased tracks with the late producer Sophie during the Chromatica sessions, which have also been teased as someday seeing the light of day.

What About Joanne Act II?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Apologies to all the Grigio Girls.