I know I’ve said it 100 times, but the music in 2016 just keeps getting better. On Friday, Lady Gaga dropped her 5th LP rocking out on the rooftop of The Bitter End in Greenwich Village. And let me tell you, it was iconic. The album is SO GOOD that I put together a track-by-track review in that SONG list formation.
Diamond Heart // The second the drums thump in, you know Joanne is going to be one heck of an album. Gaga’s voice soars from each lyric to the next and explodes on the bridge. It’s rock and roll. It’s pop music. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the LP. “Young Wild, American.”
A-YO // Is it my favorite song on the ALBUM?! Do I start dancing every time I hear this song?! YEP and YEP. It’s the soulful version of ARTPOP’s “MANiCURE” infused with Bruce Springsteen-vibes and handclaps for days. Plus the performance of the song on SNL this weekend was electric.
Joanne // The title track is a soft change of pace from the first two songs on the record. It’s GAGA in a brand new light. You can hear the emotion in each note. Shed a tear here and there, especially when she sings, “Can’t wait to see you soar.”
John Wayne // VOICE MEMO INTRO = genius. CAN YOU GO A LITTLE FASTER?! It’s a synth/metal/country/jazz song. Quote heaven and pure fun. Fingers crossed this one gets featured at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in February.
Dancin’ In Circles // A rustic, mellow upgrade from The Fame Monster‘s “So Happy I Could Die.” Gaga plays on the lyrics whispering “Let’s funk downtown.” Not a head-banger, but a cruiser. Co-written with Beck, it’s a jam that many fans are already hoping is an upcoming single.
Perfect Illusion // Mark Ronson. You are a GENIUS. You, and Kevin Parker, and Bloodpop. We get picked back up on that high adrenaline roller coaster with the album’s first single. All in a modern ecstasy, the key change (which seemed out-of-place as a single) feels complete within the story of the album.
Million Reasons // Gaga brings in songwriter Hillary Lindsey to highlight the strength of her raw vocals. No distortion. No frills. Just Gaga doing what she does best, singing live. Capturing the magic – that is just her and a piano – from her live shows.
Sinner’s Prayer // Could this have been the theme song to True Detective?! Totally. Folk and country production gone all out. Supported by a bass guitar, the song would have had my Grandpa jamming along. Further proof that literally anyone could find something to love about this album.
Come to Mama // “There’s more than enough good love to go around.” Complete with doo-wop production, it’s part Little Shop of Horrors // part Bye Bye Birdie // part Amy Winehouse. A STANDOUT track on the album and a total fun Broadway-esque tune.
Hey Girl feat. Florence Welch // A complete departure from the music scene in 2016. Throwing it back to those days where Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore fell in love in that movie about a wedding singer with those synths. Welch’s vibrato with Gaga’s soul craft a woozy combo that is simply enchanting.
Angel Down // RETWEET to basically everything this song is about. It’s glorious. A triumphant finale without the bells and whistles. It showcases Gaga not as the girl who rocked a meat dress to the VMAs or sings with Tony Bennett in her spare time. Rather as a songwriter with a musical range here to raise the standard once again.
Is Joanne Lady Gaga’s best album? Absolutely yes. Are the bonus tracks worth it? DUDE YES, that Brian Newman trumpet and Pinot Grigio anthem are gold. Do ya get the physical copy? Do it man. It’s an album you want to sink your teeth into.
Hear it now on Apple Music.