RATING: 3 / 5
starts off strong. "Diamond Heart" is a pop song with a country touch and even though the lyrics are questionably about a prostitute, it sounds like an American dream (perfect for a Super Bowl performance, cough cough). Gaga and her trusty team of producers, mainly Mark Ronson, keep the flow of good tunes going with "A-YO," but then it starts to slow down from there.
Other positive highlights are "John Wayne," a fuzzy and danceable song and "Dancin' In Circles," which was co-written by Beck. It sounds like a new Beck single in the best way possible, featuring a club beat and baby Lana Del Rey-like vocals in the chorus, making us wonder why it wasn't released as the first single off the album. After all, "Perfect Illusion" left many feeling confused, with its screechy everything and vague, redundant hook.
Gaga dips into indie-rock territories on this record with "Sinner's Prayer" and "Come To Mama," co-written by Father John Misty back-to-back. Although "Come To Mama" is a great 60s do-wop throwback, it completely abandons the country-pop theme that Gaga had made such a strong start with, and we start to slowly lose grasp of her vision. The ballad "Million Reasons" dangerously flirts with triteness, as Gaga sings "I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away / But baby, I just need one good one to stay."
Melodically, "Angel Down" sounds like a cut off of The Killers' Sam's Town
and importantly addresses the Black Lives Matter movement, "Angel down, angel down / But the people just stood around."
isn't what we were hoping for thematically, Gaga's voice has definitely not softened. If we can thank this album for anything, it's for putting her voice at the forefront. We're reassured that Gaga still has one of the greatest voices today, we are just questioning her own faith in it. Joanne
comes with both good and bad moments, but ultimately has us feeling downright confused.