Album Review: Joanne (Deluxe) by Lady Gaga

Grade: B+

Lady Gaga, who is probably best known for her meat dress and electropop singles “Born This Way” and “Poker Face” recently released her new deluxe album “Joanne” — a 180-degree flip in the music industry for her.

Recently, Gaga was also chosen to perform during Super Bowl LI. This performance will take place on Feb. 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Sadly, her latest album sales have not reflected nearly as much excitement over her success as previous releases. Showbiz411.com has recorded “Joanne” as only selling half as many CDs as her previous albums during the first week of their release. The website also said “[Gaga] gave up her wild looks and outfits for performing,” and because of that “it may have cost her some audience.” Well, let us see if she still has it in this, her newest album.

“Diamond Heart” and “A-YO” start the album off strong. “A-YO” gives a familiar country feel, as do a number of other tracks on the album. With a surprising twang in her voice, Gaga rocks this song. “Diamond Heart” serves as the best example the album’s diversity, demonstrating a perfect genre mash. She carries her southern style into a genre more familiar to us, an electropop style, though the track — as well as some of the musical characteristics of a pop-rock song. All together, this is the track that summarizes her new personalized singing style and if the rest of the album had been like this song, it would have been graded an A for sure.

“Perfect Illusion,” the lead single off the album, has been released and has reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Listed as No. 6 in the song order, the track sounds a lot more like a rock ballad than Gaga’s other work. Gaga belts out this one, giving her words a healthy scratchiness that works well with the song’s genre.

I do not like the first 30 seconds or so of “Joanne” — but the turn immediately after convinces me to feel otherwise about the song. The chorus, with an abrupt switch in tone, has a very strange and fantastical feeling to it — especially when paired against some of the slower country tracks.

No. 7 in the album, “Million Reasons,” has a sweet concept, trying to get the “one good one” to stay. However, Gaga’s vocals seem a bit harsh for the style of the song. It felt like she was trying to rush to fit all her words into the verses she’d crafted.

“Come to Mama” is like a swing song that some might just not be able to groove to. It’s just a genre that is difficult to see her in. Some listeners might prefer her country and rock-styled songs instead.

Is this the same Lady Gaga we became so overtly enthusiastic about a few years ago? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean she is not still a great artist. On the contrary, Lady Gaga has strong, impactful vocals comparable to Florence and the Machine and I find that this somewhat experimental album could be what lines her up along top artists, just not in the genre we would have originally expected.

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