[Artist]: Lady Gaga
Overall Grade/Rating: 9/10/A
Subject Matter: A
Replay Value: A++
Fav Songs: A-Yo, Perfect Illusion and Sinner’s Prayer
Least Fav Songs: Grigio Girls
Play or Nay: Play!
Lady Gaga’s new album Joanne is Gaga in her most raw form. No, not raw as in a meat dress. I’m talking pure emotion, back to roots, using every skill, music straight from the soul, raw. Lady Gaga is talking about love, family, heartbreak and friendship in her new album and she is in no way holding back.
Joanne is Lady Gaga’s fifth album and it feels like New York. New York has different cultures on every block with different looks and feels. The album is a reflection of that New York culture in that every song is a different genre but it still flows together as an album rather than a collection of singles.
Gaga is no stranger to change. The album cover itself is a change from the outrageous outfit wearing Gaga. Every album Gaga has put out has had a slight reinvention from the last. At the beginning of her career, Gaga was solely pop music. But as her career has progressed, her sound has evolved from pop to rock influenced to rave dance music to jazz music on her last album “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett. Joanne is a combination of every genre Gaga has mastered.
The album starts off with “Diamond Heart”. Gaga praises herself belting “I’m not flawless but I’ve got a diamond heart”. Considering this album is much different than her previous dance albums, “Diamond Heart” is a great song to kick off the album. The closest Lady Gaga comes to her signature dance tracks is her third single off the album “A-Yo”. The song is sure to be a hit. It has funk, rock and contagious handclaps in the background. Gaga released a behind the scenes video of the making of “A-Yo” showing her dancing around, smoking joints, typing lyrics on a typewriter, and jokingly yelling “Yeah I know it needs to be as good as f*ckin’ Uptown Funk” at the producer of the album, Mark Ronson, as he says the track needs something else. Their incredible chemistry is shown completely throughout the album.
Hillary Lindsey, Bloodpop, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala and Josh Hommes of Queens of the Stone Age are also contributors on the album. Bloodpop is most notable on “Perfect Illusion” the first single of the album. Hillary Lindsey brought in her country influence on “Sinner’s Prayer”, a track where Gaga preaches, “I am what I am”. With so many contributors, it is no wonder the album has a variety of sounds.
The track on the album that is sure to make waves is “Angel Down”. There is no doubt that the track is about the Black Lives Matter movement, especially Trayvon Martin who died at age 17 after being shot by a man who was threatened by his appearance. Lady Gaga cries out “Where are our leaders? I’d rather save an angel down”. Gaga is scheduled to perform on the biggest stage of the year, the Superbowl. After Beyonce’s performance last year of “Formation”, a song also about Black Lives Matter, caused controversy I can only hope that Lady Gaga will perform “Angel Down” on the big stage.
You can catch Lady Gaga on her dive bar tour with Bud Light. Dates and venues are announced day of. She has stated that dive bars are where she first got her start as a musician. Although her album with Tony Bennett was great, I’m glad Lady Gaga is back as a solo artist and being her true self. The world needed her and her music back.