Lady Gaga’s new album is ‘Joanne’ her first pop music album since 2013’s ARTPOP. Critics are weighing in on her return to the genre that made her an international superstar. Here’s a roundup of reviews.
Lady Gaga launched her relaunch with a catchy EDM dance single ‘Perfect Illusion’ that’s become an international club hit. It was a revisiting of the late aughts when she rose to fame with the likes of Poker Face and Just Dance. As fans know, her 2013 ARTPOP was panned by many critics, some of whom began dubbing it “Art Flop.”
The woman who once wore a meat dress to the Grammy Awards retreated into the gentile world of jazz with a collaborative album, ‘Cheek to Cheek,’ with the now 90-year-old legendary singer Tony Bennett. She even retreated to the small screen with a recurring role on ‘American Horror Story: Hotel.’
She told The Mirror that in the aftermath of ARTPOP, “I needed a moment to stabilize.” She added, “When my career took off, I don’t remember anything at all. It’s like I’m traumatized. I needed time to recalibrate my soul.”
But once again, it’s Lady Gaga pop icon whose back with less outrageous costumes for now, donning derriere-bearing cutoff shorts and a crop top that flirts with wardrobe malfunction. For the title she didn’t have to search any further than her legal middle name — Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta a name that she shares with her late aunt, who died at age 19 — years before she was born — of the lupus she suffered in the aftermath of a sexual assault.
As for the music and the album itself, she opens up about its personal significant, saying “It was really Joanne, and that story of our family, and the toughness that made us who we are, that gave me the strength to go, ‘You know, I’m going to live the rest of my life in a way that she couldn’t.’”
Needless to say, those are high aims and intentions. But nonetheless, critics are weighing in, giving the album mixed to negative reviews.
“….While Joanne is elemental, nothing about it is bare. Instead, it’s confused, full of songs that feel like concepts in search of a home, small theater pieces extruded from other imaginary productions and collected in one miscellany bin. ….” –The New York Times
“….Working together, they [Mark Ronson, Beck, Father John Misty and dudes from detail-obsessed rock bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Tame Impala] assemble some gorgeous pieces. … Yet other songs, for all their vivid sonic color, lack strong stories…..” — L.A. Times
“….While its modernity is expressed by mixing and matching genres or adding digital zing to familiar tropes, for all its bravura exuberance and pop slickness it is old fashioned to its core. ….” –The Telegraph
“….It’s understandable that Joanne finds Gaga performing authenticity, if only because it’s the strongest way to convey artistic evolution to the masses in 2016. The image here–the illusion, really–is as imperfect as it is meticulously rendered….” –SPIN
“….Although Joanne lacks the indelible pop hooks that those two influences [Elton John and Prince]–not to mention Gaga herself–are famous for, the album is more sonically consistent and thematically focused than the singer’s last solo effort, the regressive Artpop……” –Slant Magazine
“….Even if Joanne fails to connect with you emotionally, it’s nonetheless the album that will make fans and observers once again rethink what they know about the daring diva. Make no mistake: even with all her extracurricular endeavors paying off cultural dividends, Gaga’s greatest achievement is yet to come, and Joanne, flaws and all, feels like the necessary step to get there. ….” –Pop Matters
“….She blew it. This was Lady Gaga’s big chance to erase the memory of 2013’s abysmal last solo outing, Artpop. Instead, her fifth effort is a disjointed and unrealized mess that sounds as if Gaga got cast in a bad off-Broadway rock musical. ….” –US Weekly
“….Joanne may not become the multiplatinum blockbuster Bella Donna was, but the record absolutely feels like Gaga is once again on an upward trajectory…. –A.V. Club
“….To a certain extent it works, especially when Josh Homme’s on hand to lend gritty riffing and imaginative lead lines to some tracks: his spiky but fluid breaks on “A-Yo” and “John Wayne” are undoubted album highlights. Sadly, the bombastic orchestral stomper “Perfect Illusion”, a much-anticipated collaboration with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, is less impressive, just stridently dull. ….” –The Independent
Check back as more reviews arrive. Meanwhile, you can see Lady Gaga’s ‘Joanne’ album cover art and music videos below.