Lady Gaga ‘Joanne’ Album Review


photo courtesy of billboard

          Out of the eccentric, overshadowing spotlight and electropop genre for which she became famous, “Mother Monster” Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) released her fifth studio, soft rock and dance-pop album “Joanne” on Oct. 21.

          The full-length album features two singles and 11 songs in the regular edition, with three additional tracks on the deluxe version. The album’s name, an ode to her late aunt, is deeply influenced by the monumental effect her death in 1979  had on her family and Gaga’s music. Each song combines elements of subdued soft rock and less intense pop, showcasing Gaga’s vocal prowess. The album’s attributes, while far from her heavy electronic and disco constituents, reveals a profound and fervent creativity. Each song takes on its own identity along with added instrumentation and slower tempos, offering a chance for the lyrics to convey both emotion and pensivity.

          “Hey Girl,” featuring the album’s only collaboration with English singer-songwriter Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, talks about a sense of support that transpires simultaneously between two individuals that ‘lift each other [up].’ Gaga’s vocals, in combination with Welch’s, compliments the older disco rhythm and tempo, mainly due to Welch’s deeper octave. “Even if you lose your way,” the lyrics evoke the message of constant upliftment and companionship, illustrating a relationship bound together by dependency rather than desire, allowing for the tone of the song to evolve seamlessly.

          As one of “Joanne’s” earlier released singles “Million Reasons,” second to the album’s lead “Perfect Illusions,” was released on Oct. 8. The song conveys the message of a million reasons to let go and leave a dysfunctional relationship; however, needing only “one good reason” to stay. The song is completely instrumental and devoid of electro aspects, emphasizing Gaga’s voice by allowing to drive the song forward without the unnecessary electropop influences. The soulful tone cohesively combined with the bitter-sweet meaning creates a melodic cadence that has a sort of country feel to it. Appropriately, the song fits the album’s overall qualities and adds to its originality.

          “Grigio Girls,” a deluxe exclusive, exhibits the acceptance of vulnerability and companionship, with one individual teaching the other to embrace it all. Realizing the ability to “let your heart pour out,” the portrayal of ebullience and joy are conveyed spectacularly through the lyrics of friendship and sisterhood. Although not available in the regular edition of “Joanne,” “Grigio Girls” depicts one of the album’s themes of new-found jubilance flawlessly.   

         In its entirety, “Joanne,” along with its mellifluous compositions, outstanding creativity and slower beats perpetuates Gaga’s messages of her family and life. It unifies each song under the album’s self-possessed attributes, yet still adheres to her usual musical style.