This album is an organic musical journey, the likes of which we have never seen from Gaga.
In a world where the Pop Diva may not shine as brightly, the need to recreate oneself is a necessary evil. Yet, when it comes to Joanne, the new disc by Lady Gaga, this is more than the typical angle of trying a different sound. This is a more personal, streamlined Gaga. Gone are the drum machines and mega-synths that made her club and radio sound; today it is the guitars, pianos, and African-based percussion that make this album addicting.
Lyrically, Joanne hits the high marks, with personable prose that comes off quite sincerely. This is the work of a more delicate, song-based nature, as opposed to just releasing anything simply for chart value. Gaga takes a risk here, perhaps over-emoting a bit, but overall, the tracks are strong.
Beginning with opener “Diamond Heart,” this album is an organic musical journey, the likes of which we have never seen from Gaga. Some may draw comparisons to certain Madonna eras, but that would be unfair. In a business where you are only as good as your last hit, this album should prove the prowess The Lady has as a songstress.
With a much more down-to-earth, raw production, this release takes Gaga into unknown and unfettered waters, and she sails through beautifully. While the album may not find a steady run in the dance clubs, it is, indeed, a good listen worthy of praise. Tracks like the first single from the album, “Perfect Illusion,” still hold somewhat of a dance-y style; however, new offerings like “Million Reasons,” with its intense moodiness, and “Sinner’s Prayer” bathe the singer in a new and flattering light.
If you are looking to dance the night away, then put on Born This Way, or even Art Pop. However, if you are looking to see a side of this artist you never imagined you’d see, grab Joanne and be ready to get a little sentimental—and just a little sassy. A | Marc Farr