updated 03/19/2014 AT 5:55 PM ET
•originally published 03/20/2014 AT 11:45 AM ET
A day doesn’t seem to go by when Lady Gaga doesn’t raise eyebrows or turn heads. From her ever-inventive and wacky couture to her controversial onstage antics, she loves to incite conversation. But lately, all that attention-getting hasn’t translated to chart-topping hits.
In the latest issue of PEOPLE, music critic Chuck Arnold takes a look at how the pop star has gone off course – and what she can learn from Beyoncé.
If Lady Gaga really lives for the applause, then she must be worried. Despite being heavily hyped, her latest album, Artpop, has pretty much gone away since its release last November. While 2011’s Born This Way went platinum in just one week, Artpop hasn’t even approached that after four months.
The second single, “Do What U Want,” failed to make the Top 10 – even after a revamped version swapped in Christina Aguilera for R. Kelly – and strangely a video was never released. Gaga? No video? You know something must be up.
How is the woman who redefined the pop-diva aesthetic after debuting with 2008’s The Fame now getting upstaged by the likes of Miley Cyrus? All stunts, gimmicks and costumes aside, it goes back to the music.
I went back and listened to Artpop before writing this, and it hasn’t held up well. It feels dated, frustrating, and there are few obvious singles. Although Artpop may be a bust, there’s no denying a talent as huge as Gaga. She can take heart from her “Telephone” partner Beyoncé, who appeared to be slipping with 2011’s 4 before rebounding to deliver the best album of her career in her self-titled surprise set last December.
Don’t fret, Little Monsters: Gaga will get her groove back.
For the must-listen albums to check out this week, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.