Fans expecting Lady Gaga to return to her electro-synth roots after that ill-conceived jazz album she made with Tony Bennett will be disappointed. There are hints of nostalgia; Dancin In Circles and Perfect Illusion are vintage Gaga; but Joanne is ultimately another detour, this time on the back of a horse thru the world of contemporary country music. Left behind are the pulsating club beats that have always generally been the best part of a Lady Gaga song.
Those beats are what almost made Artpop, her previous solo album, good. Even its worst songs; Donatella and Swine; are laced with innovative production. Joanne, while not bad, is comparatively mundane. So its worst; the sappy Million Reasons; is a chore to get thru. The dreamy coda of Angel Down is enchanting though; it’s a shame the whole song doesn’t sound like that; and Joanne, the song, has some interesting vocal melodies happening on the chorus.
my rating = 3 of 5