With the recent release of her album Joanne in October, Lady Gaga has finally came back from her music hiatus. But this time Gaga’s sound is no longer the crazy electronic pop we’ve all come to know and love, but a more rock and country-inspired sound. Although aspects of Gaga’s signature vibe isn’t lost in this album; Joanne just offers a much more bare and authentic Gaga. The fifth studio album, named after her aunt on her father’s side, displays much more vulnerability with songs portraying the loss of loved ones, hardships in relationships, and even commentary on social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Being a Gaga fan since her Fame Monster days, I have to say this is one of favorite albums she’s ever created. Whether you are going through heartbreak or in need of inspiration, this album will definitely evoke some deeper emotion. But if you don’t have the time to listen to all fourteen songs, at least check out these four stand-out songs.
The entire album is golden, so it’s very hard to pick favorites. But if I had to choose, it would definitely have to be A-YO, Angel Down, Joanne, Grigio Girls. A-YO is surely one of the more upbeat songs from the album. Listening to the song will make you want to jump up and dance. This song has country instrumentals, a clapping element, and a very catchy beat. I can see this becoming a top hit on a mainstream pop station for its sound is very confident and fun. This is surely a song you’d listen to when you’re in a feel-good mood.
On a more somber note, Angel Down and Joanne are more heartfelt, powerful ballads based on tragedy. Angel Down was inspired by the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, adding commentary to the injustice towards the marginalized people in this country. It’s a compelling piece that criticizes the American legal trial system and government that’s allowing these instances to happen so frequently. Throughout the song, Gaga ask why people “just stand around” when these injustices occur and “where are our leaders” when change is needed. Aside from all the other songs on the track, this one truly awakens a sort of sadness and awareness of the very real events that are taking place in our country.
Similarly to Angel Down, Joanne stirs up some powerful emotions. This song was based on Gaga’s late aunt who passed away from Lupus at nineteen years old. Despite never meeting her aunt, Gaga claims that she’s been “one of the most important figures in [her] life” (Billboard, 2016). Additionally, Gaga feels the need to continue the art of her aunt’s legacy through her music. It’s a beautiful and pained piece, one that will truly make you feel for Gaga’s loss.
Last, but certainly not least, is the personal ballad called Grigio Girls. This is about Lady Gaga’s close friend and managing director Sonja Dunham who is fighting cancer. And although the tone of Grigio Girls has a very sorrowful undertone, it’s actually very powerful and uplifting. This song is about all your girlfriends--or guy friends--getting together and bonding over life’s trials and tribulations; it makes me want to bond with my girl gang and pour my soul out. Something about being a "Grigio Girl" is so empowering and meaningful, for its accepting your own vulnerabilities as well as other people’s. And that is why I’ve been listening to this song everyday on repeat, for it is a truly a Grigio gem on the album.
If you haven’t heard the album, now is the time to do it. Gaga will be in many upcoming performances, so stay tuned for that. Once you binge-listen to all fourteen songs, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy and sing along to her performances and truly appreciate the music. It’s also official that she’ll be the headline for the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show. So check out the album ASAP because you’ll hearing them a lot from Mother Monster within this upcoming year.