Tone Deft

“Joanne” by Lady Gaga

By Hanna Schindler
On November 3, 2016

One of pop music’s most eccentric and bold personalities, Lady Gaga, released her fifth full-length album, “Joanne,” Oct. 21.

The album was one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and with good reason as it features two singles that were well received before the album’s release.

It gave us a glimpse at the newly invented sound Gaga was rumored to be working on.

As a result of the collaborations and featured artists on this album, including indie artists Father John Misty and Haim among others, and rock vocalist Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, “Joanne” is most definitely Gaga’s most stripped down album yet.

Songs like “John Wayne” and “Dancin’ In Circles” aim for a country tinge of soul and roots.

However, the album in the sense of vocal, instrumental and thematic continuity misses the mark that Gaga was seemingly shooting for.

Many of the tracks that aim for that soulful vintage rock aura including “A-Yo” and “Angel Down” include all of the components of the style, but are lacking the passion that make those kinds of songs so alluring.

Sure, most of the tracks include electrifying guitars, hard-hitting drums and horns which are accompanied by harmonizing background vocals.

However, all of this instrumentation sounds like it was produced in such a tight regimented way that the wild and passionate atmosphere of a rock song seems to somehow become lost in the process.

One element of continuity on this album is just how out of place Gaga’s vocal performance sounds on the record.

Every track features a soulless attempt at sounding soulful, creating a passionless tonality and an almost monosyllabic attempt at lyricism.

With any album that misses the mark; high points do exist on “Joanne.”

The title track “Joanne” is one of them, being a tribute to Gaga’s lost aunt whom inspired the record.

The weary vocals Gaga attempted on this track are definitely lacking, however this is one of the better ballads on the record, including a powerful emotional chorus and instrumental backing.

Although “Joanne” is only Gaga’s first step toward a reinvention, she definitely still has a long journey in front of her if a soulful vintage singer songwriter is in fact the sound she is aiming for.

Unfortunately, although a glimpse of that sound can be heard on the record, it is ultimately misplaced and instead creates a sound that is superficial, engineered and trying to be something it’s not.

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