Lady Gaga - Joanne (Track By Track)

28 Nov 2016

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on here, but I am obsessed with Lady Gaga, and I have been since I heard Just Dance when it came out. I don't care if it's considered uncool nowadays, I just absolutely love her. So when I found out she was finally bringing out a new album, I was almost weeing myself with excitement! As much as I loved Artpop, I was so ready for something new and I was really looking forward to hearing her new stuff, especially as Elton John himself said it reminded him of the Born This Way album. I've been absolutely playing this album to death on Spotify and finally treated myself to the deluxe edition, so I can karaoke in the car with it!

The album is named 'Joanne' after Gaga's late aunt and her middle name, so I can only imagine that the entire album is very close to her heart. Can we take a minute to appreciate the cover? She is absolutely killing it with this gorgeous, stripped back look at that pink cowboy hat. Plus, colouring it with the Pantone colours of the year? Genius.
The album itself is just sensational, and I'd say it's my second favourite, right after Born This Way. It is totally different to all of her others in content and style, and it's quite risky in that way. It goes so against the Gaga we all know and love, so I know a lot of people have been a bit disappointed by it. But hey, you can't please everyone, right? Listening to the album, it's quite easy to forget that it was written by a woman that once wore a meat dress and a lobster on her head. I'll have a chat about each of the songs, but if you haven't listened to it yet and would like to, click here.
Diamond Heart - This is a gorgeous album opener, as it outlines exactly what the rest of the album will be like. It fuses something quite Springsteen-ish with pop, resulting in quite an anthem. Her vocals are so cutting in this song, and I think it really highlights her talents. It almost sounds live. It's definitely one of those that makes you want to get out of your seat and have a little dance, and maybe even double fist pump at "come on baby, do you have a girlfriend?" It's definitely one of my favourites off the album.
A-YO - If you didn't want to get up for Diamond Heart, A-YO is the one to do it. This is a super energetic song with a country and blues influence. I can imagine it being played at one of the honky-tonk dive bars in Nashville, whilst also topping the charts. It's packed full of sharp guitar lines, attitude and fun. Another one of my favourites!
Joanne - This is the title track of the album, and it's raw and beautiful for lack of better words. Dedicated to her aunt, who died of lupus at the age of nineteen, it's emotional, powerful and really showcases Gaga's voice against a stripped back accompaniment. I can imagine this to be absolutely stunning live, with lots of piano and some strings.
John Wayne - Offering a bit of relief from the emotion of Joanne, this song swaggers around the room and is just a bit daft really. It's all about daydreams, desire and the handsome, mythical figure of the American cowboy. Again, it flirts a little with country tropes mixed with pop, which really works and fits with the rest of the album.
Dancin' In Circles - The first time I listened to this song, I said to J, "I'm pretty sure there's a song on Gaga's album about masturbation," and I'm 100% certain that's what this song is about. She's pretty explicit about it by using clever words, referring to it as 'dancing.' It's quite Fame Monster-ish in terms of content, but the sound is totally different. It's still quite poppy, but just different - you'll have to listen for yourself. And of course, the end spins out and turns ever so briefly into a Bollywood-influenced dance explosion, because why not?
Perfect Illusion - This was the first single from the album, although I'm not entirely sure why. When I heard it on Radio 1, I was excited, but the rest of the album is nothing like it. I feel Diamond Heart would've been a better choice, but I'm not the one in charge. Perfect Illusion is a lot like Born This Way in that it's a bit rock opera-esque fused with dance, a stark contrast to the other country-inspired songs on the rest of the album. It's a good song, don't get me wrong, just an odd choice for a lead.
Million Reasons - This is another stripped back song that really highlights Gaga's vocal talents. It also has beautiful harmonies which are really fun to sing along to. It's definitely a lighter-in-the-air type of song, where the audience would sway and belt it out along with her. It's moving and heartfelt, all the things you want in a ballad.
Sinner's Prayer - This another of my favourites off the album with the simple message, "I love you as you are and I hope you love me as I am." It's another country one that just begs for you to tap your toes along with it, plus, that opening guitar is just too catchy! It's got shuffling beats and great harmonies, and while her Southern drawl isn't too convincing, it's still a fabulous number.
Come To Mama - I absolutely love how theatrical this song is, with its saxophones, doo-wop melodies and backing vocals. It just begs to be in a Broadway show, which I think would work really well for Gaga's voice! It's definitely something she should consider.
Hey Girl (feat. Florence Welch) - Bit of an unpopular opinion, but this is my least favourite song on the album. I couldn't wait to listen to this song once I found out it featured Florence of Florence and the Machine, but I just don't think it works. Separately, they both have gorgeous voices, but together, I find them just too different. I also think Gaga really held back on this song. It's so soft and just not what I expected from a duet by two of the biggest voices in the current industry. Plus, doesn't it sound like Elton John's Bennie and the Jets?
Angel Down - This is the perfect closer for the non-deluxe album, as it's sombre and slowed down. It's about the death of Trayvon Martin, so it is quite dark, but it allows us to soak in the album we've just listened to. I think it's great that she's made a song about something like gun violence, because with a following like hers, she can make a real difference.
Grigio Girls - The first of the two deluxe songs (I'm not including the Angel Down working tape), and it's yet another of my favourites. It's such a feel good song that's all about girl power. Again it's another country-pop number, with a toe-tapping beat and "ooh-woah" vocals that just dare you to sing along.
Just Another Day - It's about time we had a track that draws on Gaga's love for swing! It's very glam and New-York-esque, with punchy guitar, brass and piano. Apparently it was inspired by David Bowie, and I can definitely hear that! She's clearly drawn on his earlier material and his vocal style. Plus, Brian Newman is featured, so of course, it's absolutely glorious.

Like I said, this is my second favourite of Gaga's album. It's packed full of really fab songs and I've been completely hooked since it was released. I've been on the edge of my seat waiting or her to announce a tour for it - I'll be right at the front of the queue!

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