Lady Gaga’s latest album takes her in yet another new direction

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Lady Gaga’s latest album takes her in yet another new direction

Alyssa Domasica, Reporter and Editor

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Lady Gaga has been pop’s version of multiple personality disorder since the start of her career, but on her latest record “Joanne” (released on Oct. 21, 2016), she takes an outstanding stab at a new genre for her that can’t hide her talents.

 

Many artists have an “Artpop” in their catalog, which is an album that’s so off-based that it’ll forever define their futures. But, since Gaga’s “Artpop,” she has swapped out her classic raw meat fashion choices for career moves designed to highlight what has always made her a true diamond in the rough.

 

In her past albums, she teamed up with Tony Bennett for a duet called “Cheek to Cheek” and then put her acting skills on display with a starring role in “American Horror Story: Hotel.” With “Joanne,” Gaga attempts to come full circle and, once again, inherits her role as one of pop’s most daring artist.

 

The opening song, “Diamond Heart,” begins with a preview of Gaga’s impressive vocal talent that she highlights throughout the record. The song is built on a slithering guitar line. Some credit is definitely due towards, producer Mark Ronson, who has been a co-writer on ten out of eleven of “Joanne”’s tracks.

 

Brief trips to past music genres are frequent on “Joanne,” On “John Wayne” or the ’60s girl group harmonies on “Come to Mama.” Gaga covers a lot of ground, slipping in some country energy, but never truly rests in one single genre for very long. On “Dancin’ in Circles,” she invites Beck to help her push hip-hop tones into “Joanne” that give a feel that’s a little out of place.

 

One collaboration on “Joanne” is the Florence Welch assisted duet on “Hey Girl.” The two dazzling voices join on a slow-jam groover and belt out their notes in a ‘80’s harmony that makes anyone want to get up and groove. The lyrics are simple and to the point. Ronson and co-producer Bloodpop also give a honky tonk shine to “A-YO,” sprinkling in hand-claps and a dirty guitar into this song that one could easily see belonging to Kelly Clarkson.

 

The immediate question about “Joanne” becomes about self; is this just the latest costume for an artist who has thrived on the unusual, or are we finally seeing who Stefani Germanotta truly is?

 

The answer, of course, is almost certainly somewhere in the middle. Gaga isn’t truly exposed on “Joanne,” but she has stripped off any sign of AutoTune or specious lyrics. The result is a work that may not close any circles, but instead start the pattern of a new shape: something weird, but compelling and largely authentic. Gaga may have an “Artpop” in her catalog, but now she has a “Joanne” too, and that’s a good thing.

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