After the release of 2013’s “Artpop,” which was not a hit with critics and fans, Gaga went through a semi-reinvention, teaming up with Tony Bennett for an album and dialing back her usual antics. Three years later, Gaga has resurfaced as a new artist, different from the one we first saw in 2008 on “The Fame.”
Gaga’s latest album, “Joanne,” can be described as a country album but it’s more than that. There are hints of jazz, pop and rock. Gone are the days of “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face,” but while “Joanne” may seem like a departure for Gaga, it’s still the Gaga that many fans know and love. Lady Gaga still creates dance songs like she’s been known for, but while her style may have stole the show before, Gaga’s vocals now take center stage. The singer has never been afraid to try new things and on “Joanne,” Lady Gaga shows off her next form of evolution.
1. “Hey Girl” Featuring Florence Welch
When Gaga revealed she had a duet with Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine on the album, I didn’t know what to expect, but after finally hearing the song, it may go down as one of Gaga’s best collaborations. With funky production from Blood and Mark Ronson, the ode to friendship between women stands out as the album’s best track thanks to Gaga and Welch’s vocals.
2. “John Wayne”
Is “John Wayne” about ex-boyfriend Taylor Kinney? We may never know. But what I do know is that the song is one of the best on “Joanne.” “He called, I cried, we broke / Racin’ through the moonlight,” Gaga sings on the song over a guitar from Josh Homme. “John Wayne” features an anthem-sound that makes it perfect for Gaga’s upcoming Super Bowl performance.
3. “Another Day”
When describing “Another Day,” Gaga said she took influence from David Bowie and The Beatles and it can definitely be heard. “Another Day’s” Beatles’ vibes are undeniable as Gaga’s vocals shine over Mark Ronson’s guitar and Brian Newman’s horns.
Lady Gaga has never been one to shy away from opening up on records but the title track from her new album may be her most emotional songs yet. Named after the aunt she never met, “Joanne” is a song for Joanne Stefani Germanotta, who passed away at the age of 19. When Gaga sings, “Girl, where do you think you’re goin?” you can hear her pain as she longs for her aunt who had so much left to accomplish.
5. “Dancin’ in Circles”
“Tap down those boots while I beat around / Let’s funk downtown,” is just one of the risque lyrics Gaga sings on the Beck-assisted “Dancin’ in Circles.” If those lyrics don’t give away the song’s meaning, maybe these will: “I fool myself / Swirl around as if I’m someone else.” Gaga’s ode to masturbation has hints of reggae and ska, reminiscent of “Alejandro” and is sure to be a fan-favorite deep cut.
6. “Million Reasons”
“You’re giving me a million reasons to let you go / You’re giving me a million reasons to quit the show,” sings Lady Gaga on “Million Reasons.” With some help from singer Hillary Lindsey, the lyrics of heartbreak and hope are sure to resonate with listeners.