Review by Natalie Kucko
In 2008, she was introduced to the music scene with “Just Dance.” She has since captivated the pop genre with smash hits like “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance” and now her deluxe album, Joanne.
Stefani Germanotta, a singer-songwriter from the Upper West Side of New York City, morphed into the superstar now known as Lady Gaga. In her new album, she returns back to her roots that can be pictured as the busy streets of Manhattan.
Lady Gaga released “Perfect Illusion” in September, which was the first single off of Joanne. The song’s fast-paced beat offers nostalgia back to Gaga’s earlier music. Rumors surfaced about the dance track, claiming that it was written about her ex-fiancé.
Joanne begins with a fun song, “Diamond Heart.” The track begins by highlighting Gaga’s raw vocals, then the tempo quickly picks up and the song comes to life. Later in the album, Gaga slows things down with the song her album is named after, “Joanne.” In this track, she bares all and reveals true emotion that most likely refers to her younger self. “Sinner’s Prayer” is another intimate, soulful song on the album that talks about a love affair.
Lady Gaga features Florench Welch, of Florence and the Machine, on “Hey Girl.” This song gives off a slight 80s vibe with its rhythm. Gaga wraps up the album with “Angel Down – Work Tape,” a broken down version of another track called “Angel Down.” This was a genius move on the artist’s behalf. The song allows Gaga’s true talent to shine within a stripped down, acoustic feel.
Although Joanne does not necessarily bring back Gaga’s old dance tunes, it can definitely brighten up the mood. Lady Gaga provides the listener with songs for love, pain, heartbreak or just a casual drive.
Review by Dakota Nelson
Recommended Tracks: Tracks 1- “Anxiety,” Track 5- “Degraded,” Track 7- “Forbidden”
RIYL: Protomartyr, Eagulls, Parquet Courts
Formerly known as Viet Cong, Canadian post-punk band Preoccupations release an album that is both haunting and melodic. Living to their name Preoccupations is full of singer Matt Flegel telling about his life, and the ways he’s caught up in it.
Starting with a less subtle approach, the first track “Anxiety” is all about his anxiety. Anyone with anxiety will immediately understand what Flegel is singing about; with lines like “I’m not here solely for the sake/ Of breathing, I am wide awake/ Excuse my efforts for today.” This plays with the ideas that social disconnect, or at least mental disorder, is not taken seriously enough. All the while, Flegel mutters his lines against a “wall of sound” from bass and drums.
This theme of despair is constant throughout the rest of the album. On tracks like “Memory,” Flegel remembers someone that was very important to him, ranting about all the things they never got to do together and all the hard times he wished they never had to go through. While initialing a more uplifting part of the album being eleven and a half minutes, for a post-punk band, the song transforms into melancholy and regret by implementing wooden-stringed instruments, creating an almost post-rock sound. Then, it proceeds to go full post-rock for the last four minutes by playing the same note over and over.
The instrumentation on this album compliments the lyrics perfectly. Such as on the track “Degraded” where the first minute is nothing but blended synthesizers that lead into a fast drum beat with Flegel breaking out singing lines like “We are consistent in our flaws” and “I can’t change.” Sometimes life is too fast for us to adapt, and we’re left falling back into old habits. This is reflected by the upbeat music throughout the track, contrasting with the rest of the album.
For having to change their name and re-brand themselves, Preoccupations could’ve had this as their debut album. While their influences are still very detectible, it’s a giant leap from their first album. They could easily hone their sound and come out with an album all their own. A lot of Canadian music doesn’t really cross into the United States unless it’s mainstream, so give a listen to our brothers from the Great White North.
Review By: Matt Mackenzie
“Body Moves” by DNCE is a mixed tempo song that showcases the talent of the group that may be destined to be a hit at some point in time. Led by lead singer Joe Jonas, the group has had a few hits like “Cake by the Ocean” in 2015 and “Toothbrush” this past summer.
They follow the same style of their songs by having a positive feeling along with amazing use of instruments for the background, especially the bass. In terms of lyrics, the chorus holds a fast paced tone to it compared to other sections of the song. The mid lyrical and outro beat near the end is the highlight of the song because the sound of it changes compared to other parts of the song. I can see this song being another top hit for the group with a large amount of more hits to follow in time.