Lady Gaga has proven herself to be quite the enigmatic figure in popular music since she arrived on the scene. Starting out by making your typical dance-pop radio fodder, over the years, she has crafted quite creative and interesting material. She has also proven to have quite a wide-ranging list of influences, giving credit to such night and day artists as Iron Maiden and Morrissey. Where would all of this land Gaga on her latest release, 2016’s ‘Joanne’?
The trouble Lady Gaga has had so far in her career is creating a record that maintains interest from start to finish. Gaga records typically have good moments, but rarely do these moments carry the record through to the finish. Unfortunately, this time around is no different. Although the record does produce two of Gaga’s best tracks to date, “Diamond Heart” and the title track, “Joanne”, she just can’t keep the momentum going. It’s actually quite frustrating, because her talent and her potential are not in question. It’s very clear that Gaga has a keen artistic vision.
The record does pick back up for the decided radio hit of the record, “Perfect Illusion”, which is catchy, infectious pop music at its finest. The ballad following it, “Million Reasons”, should be exciting and moving, but it just isn’t. It’s the musical equivalent of a painter staring at a blank canvas. It’s not a bad song by any means, but it should also be held accountable to elicit more of an emotional reaction than a meek, “Meh”. Even still, it will undoubtedly be better than Adele’s next sappy love ballad (God help us all).
A lot of the material on this record isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just boring. This is, as mentioned earlier, the most frustrating aspect of the record. Lady Gaga is not a boring artist. She is exciting. She is a grand spectacle in every sense of the word. If only she were capable of putting out more consistent records. She has grown as an artist, mind you, and one would hope that she continues to grow into the artist that she’s fully capable of being. Not her best record. This is probably second or third best in Gaga’s catalog.