Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Nov 1st, 2016

Lady Gaga: Joanne

gagaLady Gaga
(Streamline/Interscope Records)

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Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, Joanne, is here. Opening with the slightly stuttering different parts of “Diamond Heart,” from stark, just four-on-the-floor bass drum beat and warble piano (and Gaga’s warble vocals) to big snapping snare into bridges that roll into slicing single-note guitar chunk. “A-YO” is a hand-clappin’, fun mover and the title track features a cloppin’ acoustic behind a truly vulnerable-sounding Gaga (almost Bette Midler at her saddest delivery) on one of the better tunes here I feel. “Perfect Illusion” is a big dance number with pretty predictable lyrics and big beat, reminding me of Madonna, with full, solid production choruses. This kind of thing has never been done better; Gaga’s team has this down cold! I prefer the Western-influenced guitar roil and Gaga’s lower register delivery on the gem “Sinner’s Prayer.” A song like this, with its spot-on production, hinting at almost a soundtrack cut from a great 70’s movie and a truly expansive vibe, shows off the best of what Gaga and her minions can accomplish. “Come to Mama” is a big come-together-everybody declaration. With horns here (played by James King) and the backing vocals high and solid, this fun tune mines 60’s girl groups with again Gaga keeping to her lower warble singing a trite (but it works) lyric (“The only prisons that exist are the ones we put ourselves in”). “Hey Girl” has big beats, plodding synths and Gaga having fun, doing her best Prince to round out the album. Yes, the lady has a good voice throughout here, the productions more stark and simple to let Gaga sing strong and get the tunes to move. Remarkable, maybe not. But it’s still good pop stuff.

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Lady Gaga: Joanne