In summer 2008, I was a young freshman heading off to college. All I had known about Lady Gaga was “Just Dance” featuring Colby O’Donis, as well as Akon – kinda. The song had been a growing hit for a couple months, but I just saw it as your average dance-pop debut.
Later that summer, Gaga released The Fame and all that changed. I fell right in. I found myself lost in all of the club-ready hits. But they were more than party jams. Lyrics like, “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” and “when you touch me, it’s so delicious,” felt so freeing and fun at the time. A little bit dangerous. Reminder, I’m 17 here.
After a good month of obsession, I came up for air and realized no one else had heard the masterpiece yet. I had downloaded it when it hit the Internet, but this was pre-stan Twitter. The album hadn’t been officially released in the U.S. so the majority of my new college friends had no clue who she was. I hardly cared, as my musical tastes never quite aligned with my immediate circle of friends.
Months later, I noticed that Gaga had popped off. Although I blasted “Paparazzi” 27 hours a day, I missed her ascension to mega-pop star with the general public. She went from being my secret obsession to everyone’s fascination.
Flash forward to today. An epic follow-up EP turned album, a “good on some days” LP, and ARTPOP later, Gaga has flipped the script again. Now I know my sole opinion of Stefani is completely irrelevant to her countless achievements in the spotlight. But come on. Even if you chose not to compare JOANNE to her earlier work, the album is boring.
The chorus to “Diamond Heart” tickles me sometimes, but other than that JOANNE is just not “it.” And don’t even get me started on the lead single, “Perfect Illusion.” I will say, this is the second lead single Gaga has released in time for Halloween where her vocal delivery has rivaled Count Dracula. The chorus of “Perfect Illusion” and verses of “Applause” always take me back to “Monster Mash.”
“It was a graveyard smash.”
What baffles me the most is that her little monsters are still stanning (brb, coprighting that stat). It’s kind of like when your friend makes you dinner and it’s completely gross. You shuffle it around in your mouth while your saliva breaks it down into an even grosser substance. Finally, you find some way to spit it out, but the whole time you had to fake a smile between faux chews. All of that work just so someone’s feelings doesn’t get hurt.
I’m sure there are people that exist on this planet that find these collection of songs enjoyable. Great. And for the record, my lackluster reaction to these songs isn’t is weighted in far more than the genre shift. Soft-rock Gaga does not make a boring Gaga. Side note, where in the world is RedOne?
Anyway, the album isn’t a complete failure. I can totally see “A-YO” playing in a cool make-out scene on Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe “Million Reasons” could snag a spot in a Nicholas Sparks movie trailer. And at the end of the day, it seems like Gaga’s pretty stoked about this LP, and I mean, when you’re Lady Gaga, I think that’s all that really matters.
Pop stars go through changes all the time. I, myself, – now 25 going on 26 – am not the same person I was back in 2008 when I first discovered the chameleon-esque singer. Thus, it would be crazy for anyone to expect Lady Gaga to resort back to her old tricks.
In celebration of JOANNE, let’s look back at this wonderful performance on The View. For some reason, her glowing electro stick captivated me. Was she trying to master both pop music and magical sorcery? Who knows.