A Whole New Gaga

lady_gaga_-_joanne_official_album_coverStefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or as you might know her, Lady Gaga, dropped her new album Joanne. To call it “okay” would be the understatement of the year. The album was written to honor the creative spirit of her aunt Joanne. Best known for her meat suit, dance music, and love for the disco-stick, Gaga turned in the sequins for blue jeans and a guitar on this accept-yourself-and-love-yourself album.

Track 01: Diamond Heart- A tale of how to be strong, told from the point of view of a young, wild, American woman. The bombshell lyric, “Some asshole broke me in, wrecked all my innocence, I’ll just keep go-go’n, and this dance is on you” speaks directly to Gaga’s past about being raped. Gaga sings that although she’s not perfect, she’s got a Diamond Heart.

Track 02: A-YO- This track is laced with lyrics about sticking it to the man. Gaga herself defines this track as, “‘A-YO, A-YO were smokin ’em all’ is like “Hey you, let’s celebrate. We’re leaving our haters in the dust.” Essentially, this song pays tribute to the people who called Artpop a flop. (Gaga’s album from 2013, Artpop, received horrible reviews from both critics and fans)

Track 03: Joanne – A song written about Joanne, Gaga’s aunt who passed away at age 19. This song is written in the first person, referencing Gaga by her middle name, but is a tribute to her father’s sister. She sings, “take my hand, stay Joanne, heaven’s not ready for you, every part of my aching heart, needs you more than the angels do”

Track 04: John Wayne – This song captures the album best of all, as Gaga sings about, “being strung out on John Wayne.” The dance-like track has the same feel as Born This Way (Gaga’s album from 2011) but is a little more western-y and surprisingly heartfelt. She sings, “He called, I cried, we broke” most likely referencing the split from her fiance earlier this year. This is the western pop song I never knew I needed.

Tlady-gaga-t-magazine-nyt-1476724790-640x434rack 05: Dancin’ In Circles – This track provides the closest resemblance to the 2008 chart topping album, The Fame. The gritty lyrics, ska beat, and message between the lines hugs close to songs like “Alejandro” (Born This Way) and “Love Game” (The Fame). I’m not going to leave any of the lyrics here, but the ode to loving yourself comes in a literal sense from this track, and it’s bound to be a dancefloor anthem.

Track 06: Perfect Illusion – Released as a single to announce the album, this track is an ode to someone specifically created by Gaga and the media. She got the idea from the pressure she feels to live up to the ‘illusion’ she’s created for herself. Between her cigarette sunglasses, black firebolt eye makeup, and neon animal print jackets, she feels as though she’s created a certain outlook for herself, and she wanted to reference how that02-lady-gaga-press-photo-cr-collier-schorr-2016-billboard-1548 feels for her. The lyrics also dissect how euphoric the feeling of fame can be, while at the same time, feeling incredibly fake.

Track 07: Million Reasons – This acoustic track is a heartfelt, simple song representing a turning point in Stefani’s career in which she has, “cut through all his worn out leather” and given herself reasons to continue with a music career even though it’s headed in a different direction. Most chill-inducing lyric: “Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faith.”

Track 08: Sinner’s Prayer – This western, empathetic, track is a hard hitting song that focuses on embracing yourself for who you are. Best bone chilling lyric: “The man’s got a gift for getting what he wants, He’s thirsty when he drinks, Gets on the brink, and throws her off.”

Track 09: Come To Mama – A track that can be summed up in the first line, “Everybody’s gotta love each other” This song is the farthest from a typical Lady Gaga track. It has a gospel feel, an inspiring message, and a heartfelt plea, begging the world to love each other.

Track 10: Hey Girl – Gather up every girl you’ve ever met and blast this at your next get-together. This song is going to be your new favorite ode to friendship. Featuring Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine, this song is full of empowering, lift-you-up lyrics such as, “Help me hold my hair back, walk me home ’cause I can’t find a cab, and we dance down the bowery, held hands like we were 17 again”. It’s catchy, it’s beautiful, and it’s fun.  Girl lady-gaga-joanne-jpg-c83925511999fcc49fd859aabc799988-678x381power forever.

Track 11: Angel Down – This song is a powerful tribute to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen who was shot to death. While Gaga fears that she will get negative feedback about the song, she feels that she needs to make music with a purpose because of the platform she works within. Best lyric: ” Doesn’t everyone belong, In the arms of the sacred, Why do we pretend we’re wrong?”

Track 12: Grigio Girls – A catchy tune that pays homage to Gaga’s longtime friendship with Sonja Dunham, who was revealed last year to be suffering from breast cancer. This is my personal favorite on the album, for it’s ode to girl groups. Gaga references The Spice Girls, and calling your sisters to drink some wine after a 01-lady-gaga-press-photo-cr-collier-schorr-2016-billboard-1548hard day. Stand aside boys, tough girls on the mend are going to come out of the woodwork to sing along to the anthem ending of this song. My favorite lyric: “Pour your heart out, watch your blues turn gold”

Track 13: Just Another Day – The inspired-by David Bowie track reeks of the Electroclash movement. It’s a catchy, uplifting tune about keeping your head up in the clouds, even when people try to pull you down. Most playful lyric:  “I’ll lay back in my chair and find a way, and when you say that thing that you say, that makes me mad, I’ll turn away.”

This raw album is a new side of Lady Gaga that has never been seen on shelves before. Mother Monster opens up in every song, and even in the album artwork itself- she has taken off the wigs, glasses, and makeup to show us a more simplistic side of herself. The promo pictures for the album’s release are beautiful black and white portraits that show Stefani as she is in real life . This female empowerment album is something I never knew I needed.

Joy Division : The Middle Man

 

From Warsaw, to Joy Division, to New Order, Joy Division acted as a “voice of the underdog” for many people in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Their ability to redefine themselves over and over is a tribute to their originality in song, lyrics, rhythm, and beat. They stumbled onto a sound that fit in perfectly with their era, but somehow stood out as one of the most influential bands of all time. They originally started as ‘Warsaw’, an English rock band in Manchester who formed after being ridiculously inspired at a Sex Pistols concert. In 1976, the band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bass player Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris. Warsaw was a band name created by Sumner and Hook, referencing David Bowie’s song “Warszawa”, but they later changed their title to Joy Division to avoid being confused with a similarly titled band in the area. Their influences included legends like a Berlin-era Bowie, The Talking Heads, The Clash, The Velvet Underunknownpleasuresground and Iggy Pop.

Joy Division made music that people didn’t know they needed, not by emphasizing anger as most punk bands did, but by emphasizing mood and expression.Joy Division was the first band to bring the melancholy feel into the post-punk period. Inspired by punk energy, their music is full of loopy drum patterns, soothing guitar riffs, and odd bass rhythms, topped off by Ian Curtis and his liquid gold voice, acting as a combination of Jim Morrison, Joe Strummer and Lou Reed. Their undistinguished punk-infected rock was a quality that only could be appreciated as the songs got slower and continued on, making their live shows, where they played loudly and aggressively, some of the most attended events of the 1970s. Each show had it’s own heart and soul and no two shows were ever the same.

After Joy Division recorded their most famous album, Unknown Pleasures, their career soared. Their first-of-its-kind melancholy lyrics and punk musical vibe took the world by storm. In May of 1980, while on tour for their second studio recorded album, “Closer”, Ian Curtis, lead guitarist, committed suicide. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was performed in honor of Curtis, at the last Joy Division show.

After Curtis’ death, the remaining band members unanimously agreed that Joy Division should be figuratively put to rest in honor of Curtis himself. They continued with a different name, and brought new wave into the 80’s. New Order, which had a few new additions, became one of the most influential bands of the 80s for their combination of punk and electronic dance music. Their first single, “Ceremony” was performed in several Joy Division concerts, but officially was20150707060046new_order_movement_cover released through the new band. New Order continued into the 80s and 90s, gaining new fans as they released dance music that had depressing lyrics. They brought a new sound into a new era, and their aesthetic was to do whatever the hell they wanted. They didn’t give many interviews, encores, and released numerous nameless albums. New Order holds the best-selling 12-inch single of all time, for their song “Blue Monday”.

As a group of people who didn’t struggle to remain relevant, Joy Division lives on through New Order. Although each member of the band took turns experimenting with vocals, instruments, and new types of patterns in their music. Sumner eventually took over as lead vocal, but he refused to do interviews out of respect for Curtis. The band lyrics heavily are influenced by the death of their friend, and still insanely popular, “Low-life”, an album released in 1985, was just remastered and re-released in 2015.

 

A Retrospective on The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground was an American Rock band from the big apple. It was formed by Lou Reed and featured John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Angus Maclise. The Velvet Underground was managed by Andy Warhol for a spell, and was the house band for some Warhol events from 1966 to 1967.  Warhol insisted that Nico, a German singer, collaborate with TVU at some point, and after a year of working on the album, it was finally released by Verve Records in March of 1967. The album cover is famous for its Warhol flare: a yellow banana sticker with “Peel slowly and see” printed near the tip of the banana. Consumers who peeled the banana skin found a pink, peeled banana beneath.

downloadAlthough they had almost no success during their existence on the shelves and streets, the Velvet Underground is now recognized as one of the most influential bands of the rock era. Their album featuring Nico that debuted in 1967 was called “the most prophetic rock album ever made” by Rolling stone in 2003.

After TVU moved on from Andy Warhol as manager, they made White Light/ White Heat, which was often referred to by the band as an album that reflected, “consciously anti-beauty”velvet

From “Who Loves The Sun”, which sounds like a mix of the Smiths and the Beatles, to “Femme Fatale”, which sounds like a melancholy tune from a coming-of-age comedy-drama movie by John Hughes, The Velvet Underground has a wide span of music. While “Pale Blue Eyes” acts as a quiet lullaby to a lost lover, “Sister Ray” is a 17 minute rock anthem to drugs, violence, and transvestism. In 2013, Velvets fanbase spiked with the death of Lou Reed. Today, The Velvet Underground is an “oldie but a goodie” and is more popular than they ever were in the 1960s. rs-15392-20140519-velvetunderground-x1800-1400535552