Although her last album, the concept project ARTPOP, didn’t exactly wow diehards, one of the exceptions being The Music Universe, Joanne takes another turn musically for Lady Gaga. Always known for her hi-tech pop sounding tunes that always had a revealing, personal side if you listened carefully, Joanne is much more bare-boned, far more than any previous release. In Joanne, Lady Gaga exposes herself and the musical results still come out monstrous.
Experimental can also be used to describe this Gaga/Mark Ronson collaboration. There’s still the dance-y, electronic tunes we’re used to hearing from Gaga but she makes sharp turns musically. Country, big band, acoustic, this is Gaga the well-rounded musician really taking chances, not going back to familiar territory. Another plus Joanne has going for it.
Gaga has Nashville in her heart for the track “Diamond Heart” which has a taste of pop and the results here mesh well. “Joanne” has Gaga pouring her out in this terrific, very powerful ballad dedicated to her beloved aunt. “Perfect Illusion” is a powerful, energetic, raw track that helped defined pop music in 2016. Yes, Gaga is that kind of artist, an artist that can change the game and define the sound of contemporary music. “Million Reasons” is simple but it’s melodies simply grab you in this track that describes an ongoing inner conflict, a ballad that when you hear it you know it’s a Gaga signature tune.
Joanne is an another soon to be classic monster album, more so for the versatility Gaga shows than what you normally expect to hear. When artists attempt to change or experiment it usually doesn’t go over well with fans and sometimes critics. Gaga doesn’t have that problem to worry about with Joanne.