Joanne is a little more Lady and a little less Gaga [Review]

Cyril Ip

Our favourite kooky, Just Dance-ing, Born This Way idol is back with her fifth studio album, Joanne. How does it rate?

Cyril Ip |

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The Mother Monster is back with Joanne, a rock, folk-charged album that sounds nothing like her previous works. If you fell in love with Gaga only for her, well, gaga, you will find this album not to your tastes, or you’ll be amazed by her dynamic vocals and presence.

The first song Perfect Illusion sets the tone for the unapologetic manner of the album. Gaga joins forces with Mark Ronson, Bloodpop and Kevin Parker to create this rock infused headbanger. Gaga’s explosive vocals match perfectly with the vigorous electric guitars and drums. In the song she belts her heart out about the ups and downs of a relationship and laments the lack of authenticity and real human connection in our technology reliant world, and suggests that maybe we’re all too “caught up in [a] show”.

Joanne will find more favour with her older fans rather than her younger Little Monsters hanging out at parties, as there are more songs on this album that are appropriate for more mature occasions. Songs like Joanne and Come To Mama have a deeper tone and more melancholic sound to them. Titular song Joanne in particular stands out for this – Gaga sings about pain and loss, as she paints a picture of her late aunt Joanne, who passed away from Lupus twelve years before Gaga was born. She performs it with a thick, raspy aria, drawing parallels to Speechless, her signature breakup song . Fans of her more cheerful songs won’t be disappointed though, as songs like A-YO and Hey Girl are bursting with lighter and more dance-y rhythms. They display her typical messages – empowerment and cheer – in a style we’re much more used to from the lady.

The lyrics found on the songs in this album are, when compared to her previous album ARTPOP, repetitive and can come across as boring. Fans may find it difficult to relate with the singer and accept her growing music style – and I include myself in that group. It can’t be denied, however, that Gaga has limitless creativity and that she’s unafraid to experiment with different genres.