Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” shows growth as a songwriter

Lady Gaga poses for photographers during an event to promote her new album "Joanne" in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

Lady Gaga released her newest album “Joanne,” on Oct. 21, showing a more organic side of the singer and earning Gaga her fourth number one album in a row on the Billboard charts in the United States.

The album features a raw, singer-songwriter Gaga. It’s far off from the clubby dance-pop Gaga churned out in her early albums, but a sound she’s been moving toward slowly throughout her career.

While the album can be lukewarm at times, Gaga explores many genres and plays with her songs in an artistic way.

On “Joanne,” Gaga showcases a rock ‘n’ roll attitude mixed with country and folk influences.

The album features several guests, including Mark Ronson, who also co-produced “Joanne,” Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Florence Welch.

Gaga called the title track the “real true heart and soul of the record” in an interview on Apple’s Beats 1 radio.

The track is written for Gaga’s aunt who passed away at 19. It’s a folky, vulnerable acoustic song. “Every part of my aching heart/Needs you more than the angels do,” she sings in a low, raw voice. While promoting the album, Gaga revealed her middle name is Joanne, after her aunt.

“Perfect Illusion” was released in September as the album’s first single. The song is a stomping, pounding dance anthem. While a little out of place with the singer-songwriter vibe of “Joanne,” the song holds up.

Another highlight is “Hey Girl,” Gaga’s duet with Florence Welch. The song is a seventies soul-influenced ode to female friendship. Gaga’s breathy voice balances nicely with Welch’s trademark wail.

Gaga promoted the release of “Joanne” with the Dive Bar Tour, performing at three small bars around the country, giving fans an intimate first listen to the album’s songs live.

Gaga debuted the second single “Million Reasons” on the Dive Bar Tour. “Million Reasons” is one of a few country-influenced tracks on the album. The song was co-written with Hillary Lindsey, who wrote country mega-hits like Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” and Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.”

“Come to Mama” is Gaga’s appeal for all of us to just get along. The track is Springsteen-influenced, down to the saxophone solo. “Why do we gotta tell each other how to live/The only prisons that exist are the ones we put each other in,” she sings at the end of the song.

The album showcases Gaga’s genre-bending abilities and her growth as a songwriter. Some tracks stand out, like “Joanne,” “Hey Girl” and “Perfect Illusion,” while others are more forgettable. But “Joanne” is an entertaining listen and a different side of one of the world’s biggest pop stars.


Schae Beaudoin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu