Lady Gaga has always been known as an innovator and at the start of this decade she was truly one of our only hopes as far as musical innovation went. Gaga pulled from artists like Elton John, Madonna, David Bowie, Warhol, Freddie Mercury, and she manifested a soul, a spirit, a musical icon out of that fusion–herself, or at least her on-stage persona.
Come to 2016, nearly a decade after her career began, she has written an album that is unlike the rest. And when I say “unlike the rest” I mean that it is not this crazy pop album that pays homage to her lineage, this is much more subdued, raw, exposed, and intense. Joanne, which is named after her late aunt—a sexual assault survivor who died of lupus at nineteen—experiments with idioms like country and folk, maybe as a kind of goofy gesture toward authenticity, or maybe just to distance herself further from 2013’s overblown and gloppy ARTPOP.
And not that there aren’t the dance songs that fans have come to expect–the first single “Perfect Illusion” and “A-Yo”, “Come To Mama”, and “Dancin’ In Circles” are all familiar to what Gaga has put out on past records. So before you go putting it down really consider what you’re listening to, who you’re listening to, and why they put this out there for the public. Sure, you don’t have to love it or even like, but a little respect goes a long way.
Take a listen to “Perfect Illusion” below: