Joanne brings a pleasant shift in sound for Lady Gaga, orienting more towards a songwriter approach with acoustic guitars, more piano, and less four-on-the-floor dance anthems (though there is plenty to dance to on this album). I welcome this shift in sound. Gaga has always shined brightest when it's just her and a piano. Though I think I would like to hear Gaga doing this sound one album from now. This album feels incomplete and not entirely thought out. "Perfect Illusion" and "A-Yo" are two of the poster-releases for this record, and are fine pop radio bangers, but I don't find myself returning to them often. "Million Reasons" showcases Gaga's piano singer-songwriter chops and is a solid single. It is obvious "John Wayne" and "Sinner's Prayer" are attempts at a grittier country sound, but seem a bit forced. After track 8 the songwriting becomes very forgettable - pleasant at a surface-level listen, but ultimately lacking substance. The exception to this is "Just Another Day", (which is unfortunately ONLY AVAILABLE ON THE DELUXE EDITION, for some heinous reason) a bouncy, joyful track that sounds like a room full of musicians hammering out a great take in one go. This live room feel contrasts the rest of the record, which makes this track feel like a B-side that made the cut for the sake of marketing a deluxe version of the album. But it's one of the most musically genuine, honest tracks on the album. That's the Gaga I want to hear.
Easily her best album!
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