Goodbye Gaga, Hello Joanne
Written by Asha McCarty
Lady Gaga wasn’t exactly kidding when she tweeted “I’m quitting pop music” last April. Her anticipated album, Joanne, has a much different sound unlike any of her previous albums. Joanne is by far her most personal work in her career by a landslide. The era of Joanne has a lot to live up to, as her fans are expecting this album to be another record breaker.
As most Gaga fans remember the songstress for her avant-garde outfits, intricate and theatrical performances, and eccentric music and behavior ever since her debut in 2008, her newest collection of music is on a new level of complete contrast. Released on Oct. 21, Joanne is the most raw and honest album to date.
Joanne continues captivate the world in Gaga’s perspective, as each track brings you closer to her. Even though Joanne definitely has a more folky, down to earth sound, this genre-bending album takes on its own twists on funk, pop, and dance, with most notably, country music.
Many long time Lady Gaga fans are disappointed with such a drastic change in Gaga’s sound, but Joanne continues to dominate charts worldwide. She’s even brought in some new fans with the country sound, as expected. Critics rave over the deeply personal lyrics Gaga wrote into each track, and honestly, her vocals are perfectly suited for the slower songs that open eyes to her soul.
The album opens up with “Diamond Heart” and from the very start, the tone of the entire album is set with a single guitar cord and her raw vocals. While beautiful enough in itself, the song progresses into a deeply saddening story of an encounter with sexual assault she faced as a young woman. Her vocals are rich and resonate in your ears in a dreamlike, yet empowering sound.
Moving on to “A-YO,” one of the more fun, electric upbeat tracks on the album, Gaga gives her all and shows us a glimpse at her country side. It has a similar vibe to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off,’ but this track is all about blowing smoke in the face of adversity and continuing to create and follow one’s own path. With intense guitar strumming from Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, “A-YO” is certain to get you up off your feet and dance.
“Joanne,” the of the most personal tracks, is Gaga’s most heartfelt and original ballad in years. It pulls on the heartstrings in a way that no other song off Joanne does. With the opening lyrics, “Take my hand, stay Joanne / Heaven’s not ready for you,” the listener is instantly shown the real sadness and longing for a loved one that has been lost. Overall, ‘“Joanne” is one of Gaga’s most beautiful songs that stands out for its simplicity and honesty.
With “Perfect Illusion,” Joanne’s first radio single, anybody who enjoys to sing with their all will join in on the catchy 90’s, heartbreak hook. It’s empowering, it’s strong, and it’s unapologetic. “Perfect Illusion” is my personal favorite track on Joanne. Much like the other songs on the album, Gaga she skips the flashy synths and club beats for a streamlined, rock-n-roll banger. “Perfect Illusion” is thrilling to the core.
Overall, Joanne is Lady Gaga’s best album in years. The tracklist will drag you onto a roller coaster of emotion, feeling heartbreak, loss, strength, affection, and happiness all the way through. The album is taking is big risk by providing a folky/country sound, but most fans are absolutely loving it and will continue to support Gaga no matter what additional changes she will make musically during her career. Joanne proves that although Gaga’s power to shock fans with eccentricity has worn off, her artistry continues to evolve her music and career in exceptional ways.