The new era of Lady Gaga is officially here. The singer’s chameleon-like persona is so dynamic that it’s hard to imagine there’s a side of her we haven’t met. However, if we’ve learned anything from Mother Monster, it’s to expect the unexpected, which is why her new album, Joanne, is the perfect, stripped-back next step in her artistic evolution.
Pulsing with raw energy and laced with vulnerability, the 11-track LP conveys the sincerity we’ve come to expect from Gaga, who made our jaws drop with her rendition of the National Anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl and gave us chills of an entirely different kind during her emotional performance at the Oscars.
An added bonus: The singer’s voice sounds better than ever. There’s an undeniable appeal to the polished songs of her early career, but the slightly gritty quality of this latest set is constant reassurance from Mother Monster to her fans: She gets us.
Keeping in line with the autobiographical nature of Joanne, it seems like there’s a song for pretty much every occasion. Fire up your playlists because here are seven of those tracks:
1. When You Want Out of That Bad Romance: “Million Reasons”
Even international pop stars with a proven track record of rocking meat dresses have relationship woes. Gaga eloquently captures the complexities of looking for the one right in a sea of wrongs in “Million Reasons.” This is your jam when you’re struggling with whether or not you should stay — or even after you’ve made that tough decision.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “I try to make the worst seem better.”
2. When You Feel All of the Feels: “Joanne”
Gaga at her simplest is also Gaga at her most powerful. Don’t be fooled by the stripped-back nature of this song; the lyrics pack a punch that will tug at more than a few heartstrings.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “Every part of my aching heart needs you more than the angels do.”
3. When You’re Celebrating Your Squad: “Hey Girl”
This back-and-forth convo between Gaga and Florence Welch is officially your new empowerment anthem. Two of the strongest voices in the industry are all about having each other’s backs, and we’re more than happy to let them lead by example.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “Hey, girl, we can make it easy if we lift each other.”
4. When You Want to Keep It Real (Attention, Haters): “Perfect Illusion”
One of the running themes of Joanne is authenticity. There’s no doubt that Gaga is always fearlessly herself, but this latest album strips back even more layers, and nowhere is this more celebrated than in “Perfect Illusion.” Rock out to the project’s lead single as you refuse to be mislead by appearances.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “My guessing game is strong, way too real to be wrong.”
5. When You Refuse to Settle: “John Wayne”
Lady Gaga is a master of lyrical innuendo. The Fame successfully played on this cheeky aspect to her music (see also: “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick”), and “John Wayne” is a nod to that side of her personality. Keeping with the relatable nature of Joanne, the singer uses the image of John Wayne to remind us that some people are worth the wait.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “Every John is just the same. I’m sick of their city games.”
Lyric Booklet Preview of new album #JOANNE out Friday Physical and Digital:http://smarturl.it/Joanne That's a photo of me and Kevin Parker of @tame__impala writing & recording "Perfect Illusion", scribbles of music chords and ideas along the way, and an IOU (I OWE) written from Joanne to my father in the 1960's. Reminding him to return her "super" ball 🏀 that she loaned him, in a timely fashion…or else a $2 penalty!!!👋 when they were just kids. #MillionReasons #AYO #PerfectIllusion
6. When You Lay It All Out on the Table: “Sinner’s Prayer”
Gaga is perhaps at her most vulnerable with the Father John Misty-assisted track, where her message is straightforward: I want you as you are, and I hope you’ll want me as I am.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “I am what I am, and I don’t wanna break the heart of any other man.”
7. When You’re Trying to Look on the Bright Side: “Come to Mama”
In a rocky political landscape, Gaga is more outspoken than ever about acceptance. “Come to Mama” serves as an anthemic call to love one another — and it never hurts to get a gentle reminder.
Instagram Caption-Worthy Lyric: “There’s gonna be no future if we don’t figure this out.”