James Crowley and Marisa Wincowski discuss Netflix’s 2017 documentary about Mother Monster, Gaga: Five Foot Two. They discuss the candid nature of the documentary, Joanne, Gaga’s rise to popularity, her live show, and pop documentaries. Continue reading
The Grammys are usually predictable, but not painfully so, like this year. This has been a year with a lot of heartache, and after the Grammys have blown it in nominating rock artists of consequence or giving the album of the year to an undeserving pick two years in a row, it’s hard not to get a little cynical, but here are my best guesses of who will win and should win:
Album of the Year
Will Win: Lorde-Melodrama Continue reading
I’d only ever flirted with the idea of seeing a major pop-star live. I like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake enough to think about going to their shows. I’ve seen Kanye on the Saint Pablo tour, but he’s a rapper. I’ve seen Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco at major arena tours, while they’re still mostly relevant, but both are still (mostly) considered rock bands. Lady Gaga was like my first kiss, kind of great-kind of awkward and underwhelming. Continue reading
Lady Gaga released her new video for “John Wayne” to her Vevo account. The video is reminiscent of some of her older music videos. “John Wayne” is an upbeat, catchy pop song with some country rock thrown into the mix. The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund with whom Lady Gaga worked with on her two music videos for “Paparazzi” and “Telephone.”
Last night, in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton held the final rally of her campaign with musical performances from Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi. Here’s a clip of the two performing “Living on a Prayer.”
Lady Gaga was cool once. There was once a time when America found Lady Gaga to be shocking. It hadn’t really set in with the singles “Poker Face” and “Just Dance,” but when Lady Gaga died on stage at the 2009 Video Music Awards, she was badass. When blood dripped down her stomach during the final chorus of “Paparazzi,” Gaga had more akin to Mechanical Animals-era Marilyn Manson than Beyoncé or Taylor Swift. The Fame and The Fame Monster releases made Gaga a truly dark presence in pop-music. Even though she was still making fun, party music, she became a leading force in my own personal delve into poptimism due to her dark themes and theatricality.
Following Gaga’s leap into fame, she released pretty lackluster albums. Born This Way had the hits “Edge of Glory” and “You and I” but hardly mandatory listening. ARTPOP was a total flop. Cheek to Cheek was more of a passion project that was mostly loved by moms. Joanne is an excellent return to Lady Gaga making great pop-music.
Joanne is the type of dance music that fans have come to expect from Gaga, but it’s run through an 80’s rock and country filter. The first single, “Perfect Illusion,” sounds like Lady Gaga singing a Van Halen track. The gal-pal anthem “Hey Girl” has more akin to “Benny and the Jets” than it does to “Starboy.” Gaga’s anthemic pop-music is much better than any of the artists actively trying to make stadium-rock today. Joanne has been called a crossover into country music, but it’s really a crossover into classic-rock.
Despite this being Lady Gaga’s dad-rock album, she never loses sight of her youthful audience. Any song that isn’t a ballad is a certified banger. “Dancin’ in Circles” is a funky club jam. “Diamond Heart” has the type of soaring chorus that only a Lady Gaga fan could love. “John Wayne” is dance-rock at its best. Despite disguising itself as a country song, it is much more like Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out.” “Sinner’s Prayer” and “Joanne” are both bluegrass ballads that would fit on Led Zeppelin albums. “Angel Down” is an epic power-ballad of a closing addressing some of the large issues this nation faces with gun control. “Million Reasons” is probably one of Gaga’s best ballads yet with all the grandeur of a Mötley Crüe song.
The lyric themes on Joanne are as varied as the genres that can be drawn. “Diamond Heart” is an ode to resilience and partying. The title track is a tribute to Gaga’s late aunt who the album is named for. “Dancin’ In Circles” has Gaga singing the joys of masturbation: “feels good to be lonely/baby don’t cry.” The Florence Welch featuring track, “Hey Girls” has the two singing, “Help me hold my hair back/walk me home cause I can’t find a cab.” “John Wayne” longs for a certain flavor of Blue-Collar-Americana that Joanne certainly brings.
Lady Gaga may never reach the same level of success and greatness that she hit with her earliest works, but Joanne doesn’t compromise any of Gaga’s integrity. It’s her best record in years, and we can only expect an excellent tour to follow.
The new Joanne track is a funky, twangy new jam.
Lady Gaga has shared “Million Reasons” from Joanne. Following up the arena rock single, “Perfect Illusion,” this is a completely awesome power-ballad.
Lady Gaga has released the official and deluxe track listing for Joanne.
1. “Diamond Heart”
4. “John Wayne”
5. “Dancin’ In Circles”
6. “Perfect Illusion”
7. “Million Reasons”
8. “Sinner’s Prayer”
9. “Come To Mama”
10. “Hey Girl” (Feat. Florence Welch)
11. “Angel Down”
12. “Grigio Girls” (Deluxe Edition Track)
13. “Just Another Day” (Deluxe Edition Track)
14. “Angel Down (Work Tape)” (Deluxe Edition Track)