“Joanne” is a breath of fresh musical air, which may come as a surprise to those of us who have grown to know Lady Gaga’s unusual pop style. With the release of “Joanne”, Mother Monster has revealed a softer side of herself, letting go of her usual glitz and glam to sing some sweet and soulful tunes. If there was ever any question about whether or not this woman was a true artist, there isn’t any now.
“Joanne”, the title song, pulls at our heart strings. Written about Gaga’s late aunt, who tragically fell ill and passed away, “Joanne” completely covers every emotion of not wanting to let a family member go who has passed on.
“Every part of my aching art/ needs you more/ than the angels do” she sings, and everyone who has ever lost someone close to them clings to those words and sheds a tear.
“A-yo” is a perfect song to play loudly in a car full of your best friends, while “John Wayne” has a country/rock vibe, all while being very typical for Gaga in the content. “Come to mama” is a warning to all of us to be kinder to each other as Lady Gaga sings, “stop throwin’ stones at your sisters and brothers,” a desperate plea from Gaga to be more considerate of each other. “Hey Girl,” a duet with Florence Welch, shares with us the story of two women encouraging each other, not tearing each other down. I’d argue that this song is the new feminist anthem, because why should women tear each other down when women could support, encourage and build each other up?
“Angel Down” is very powerful for many reasons. The vocals are one thing, but the biggest reason is the story and message behind the lyrics. During an interview with “Beats 1,” Gaga explained that this song was heavily inspired by the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a young unarmed African-American teenager who was shot and killed on the street in his neighborhood in Florida. Gaga acknowledged the fact that as she is a white woman of privilege, she can’t really relate to what the African-American community is going through because she has never lived it. She does say how she feels she can’t just say nothing about all of this, especially with the state the country is currently in. She states how she was overwhelmed by how people just stand around and do nothing while innocent people are being shot in the street.
“Grigio Girls” is my favorite song on the whole album. This song is upbeat, relaxing and serious all at the same time. While being one of the more personal songs on the album, Gaga opens up to us about her friend Sonja who is battling cancer. It’s a very beautiful song that’s very catchy and infectious.
Full of vulnerability and freedom, but most of all love. This is her most stripped-down album to date, stepping away from the manufactured pop music expected of her and really gives her fans a taste of her folk/rock/country side. 4 out of 5 stars.
Cover photo courtesy of Amazon.