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New Music: Lady Gaga

By Derek Baker, November 1 2016 —

American singer and pop icon Lady Gaga released her fifth studio album Joanne late last month. Known for her experimental avant-garde style, the artist completely abandons her usual dance-pop genre to create something entirely different.ent_gaga

Never in my life would I think that “Lady Gaga” and “country” would appear in the same sentence. But with Joanne, Mother Monster takes on a more organic and raw sound, releasing something that is quite unexpected.

I was skeptical but optimistic when lead single “Perfect Illusion” premiered. The track features Gaga belting over a pop-rock beat, with lyrics speculated to surround her ex-fiancé and the blinding nature of love and infatuation.

And of course, second single “Million Reasons” is a stripped-back ballad emphasizing Gaga’s powerful and soulful voice. Still, I held hope that we’d get a banger on Joanne, especially since it was reported that producer RedOne — who was prominent in the production of The Fame — would also work on this album.

Unfortunately, a song suitable for the dance floor never surfaced, disappointing many fans.

Some solace may be taken from tracks like “Diamond Heart” and “Just Another Day.” The album-opener provides a rich sound to bop along to, while the latter is reminiscent of her more laid-back tracks in previous work.

Never shy of providing social commentary, Lady Gaga tackles issues of race in “Angel Down,” which was written as a response to the death of Trayvon Martin. The track is powerful, demonstrating her commendable effort to use her fame to draw attention to important issues.

Musically and lyrically, the album is solid. But if you are a Lady Gaga purist — with the thought of combining country twang and all things Haus of Gaga preposterous  — this album is not for you. In fact, Joanne might seem like punishment for the criticism Artpop received.

But if you think everything Lady Gaga does is talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never-the same, totally unique, completely-not-ever-been-done-before, give it a listen.

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