I finally listened to Lady Gaga’s new album Joanne! The album, Gaga’s solo follow-up to 2012’s “flop” ARTPOP, was kicked off by the lead single “Perfect Illusion”. The rock-influenced single, very different from the pop-heavy hits she’s known for, set the pace for Gaga’s stripped-down, “experimental”, pink-hat-wearing Joanne era. While the single met mixed reviews landing at #1 on the Billboard HOT 100, the bold statement once again showcased the award winning singer/actresses undeniable talent. Upon it’s release, I anticipated Joanne’s release looking forward to what Gaga had up her sleeves. Lady Gaga describes as far more elaborate and conceptual, her new functional style is not more authentic, just different. It’s a concerted effort to make the music the focal point, not another ring in the circus. The stunt, completely opposite from Gaga’s image, is a complete stunt itself as the singer explores the country and rock genres.
Joanne opens up with a stripped down rack titled “Diamond Heart”. The intro which finds the singer crooning about a “young wild America” is a reference to Gaga’s relationship with ex-fiance Taylor Kinney. The project sets the pace for the autobiographical project and all of it’s glory. The next cut, A-YO, is an upbeat party song serving as the album’s third single. The title track, “Joanne“, a ballad dubbed as the project’s “heart and soul”, finds Gaga referencing her late aunt, Joanne Stefani Germanotta. After getting away with her fantasy lover on a country-inspired track titled “John Wayne”, Gaga delivers a sexy reggae-influenced number about female-masturbation on “Dancin’ in Circles”. After revisiting the lead single “Perfect Illusion”, Gaga teams up with American song writer Hillary Lindsey on one of the album’s highlights “Million Reasons”. On the next track, Gaga tests the waters of spirituality before delivering a ballad about love titled “Come To Momma”. The next two tracks, in my opinion the most impressive, Gaga teams up with Florence The Machine before delivering a Trayvon Martin inspired piece on “Hey Girl” and “Angel Down” respectively. Before appropriately closing the album with the upbeat number “Just Another Day”,
Gaga Stefani delivers an emotional ballad titled “Grigio Girls”.
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Although Joanne doesn’t serve up the pop-heavy hits that the Little Monsters have been anticipating over the years, it definitely adds to Gaga’s well-developed and diverse set of projects. Following 201’s ARTPOP and Cheek To Cheek, her latest top-charting collaboration project with Tony Bennett, Gaga successfully pushes her image with a stripped down, country/rock inspired project that sets her apart from any pop stars of the time. The production on the album, provided by the likes of executive producer Mark Ronson, allows Gaga to showcase her talent (both vocally and artistically) as she explores the country/rock genres. I really like this project and appreciate Gaga for testing new waters! Definitely worth the listen! As always, looking forward to what Gaga has up her sleeves next! Check out Lady Gaga’s Joanne below!
Lady Gaga – “Perfect Illusion”