Both musically and sartorially, Lady Gaga has always enjoyed playing dress-up. Bruised by the reaction to 2013’s muddled electro-pop experiment Artpop, Joanne finds her trying on a more “authentic” American troubadour guise, complete with pink Stetson and a hoedown about bad men called John Wayne. Elsewhere there is chugging blues (A-Yo), delicate folk (the lovely title track) and, on Million Reasons, Carrie Underwood-style country balladry. Better in its softer moments – the closing Angel Down is an intoxicating lament that twinkles and wheezes in equal measure – Joanne’s influences are writ so large it takes a while to settle. At its core, however, is a career-extending, creative curio that, even in its weaker moments (Come to Mama is wretched), is never dull.
Lady Gaga: Joanne review – a career-extending curio
is a music writer for the Guardian and Observer as well as contributing
to i-D, Fader and Q. He's also the editor of BEAT magazine.