‘Joanne’ a musical triumph for transformed Lady Gaga

November 14, 2016 — by Julia Miller

Lady Gaga's new album is bound to suprise her audience

Joanne, Lady Gaga’s fourth studio album, brings light to a Gaga we’ve never seen before. The modest, soft-rock album is the complete opposite of the wild, unrestrained Gaga we’ve grown used to seeing, from her outrageous award show outfits to her puzzling music videos.

The album’s songs possess a deeper, more mature side to Gaga, while incorporating a sound we’d never thought we’d hear from her: country. The cover art, which depicts Gaga’s profile while she sports a large pink cowgirl hat, speaks for the album itself: Gaga has turned away from pop in Joanne.

Acoustic guitar sounds, piano ballads and hand claps orchestrate Gaga’s country vibe, while chimes, horns and strings softly play to mesmerize listeners.

There was speculation surrounding the inspiration behind the name of the album. It was confirmed by Gaga that Joanne is dedicated to her late aunt, Joanne Germanotta, who died before Gaga was born. When asked about Joanne in an interview with Rolling Stone, she responded with, “I never met her, but she’s been one of the most important figures in my life.”

Gaga set the stage for Joanne’s release with the single “Perfect Illusion” along with its subsequent music video. Gaga tells the story of a moment of clarity she experienced after realizing her partner never truly loved her. The song is full of emotional anger, especially when Gaga belts out the chorus during the song’s hooks, while electric guitar dominates the listener’s eardrums.

Although “Perfect Illusion” perceived Gaga’s new album as one filled with her usual thumping beats and musical chaos, fans weren’t prepared for the complete opposite.

Gaga’s musical transformations are clearly shown through the songs “John Wayne” and “A-YO.” Gaga sings along to more vibrant electric guitar in “John Wayne,” expressing her crave for country boys like the late Western film actor, John Wayne. Similarly, “A-YO,” one of Gaga’s only soul songs on the album, is accompanied with clapping hands and funky horns, a song that will surely make feet tap and heads bob.

Gaga transitions into slower songs that are stripped down and emotionally powerful. In “A Million Reasons,” Gaga possesses this strength in her voice that’s astounding, as she cries out over a piano for a reason to stay with the man she desperately loves.

Joanne features just one other artist: Florence Welch, the lead singer of Florence and the Machine. They beautifully sing and strum guitars together in “Hey Girl,” while a techno beat softly accompanies them.

Joanne is quite different from the Gaga we’ve all come to know. This album appeals to all of Gaga’s supporters and even may entertain her detractors, for the sound, style and inner soul expressed in this album covers an impressive range of musical styles.

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