Lady Gaga Collaborated With All Your Favorite Celebrities For 'Joanne', So It's Gonna Be Good
The new Lady Gaga album Joanne drops oh so soon — on October 21, to be exact — and, as is par for the course with album pre-hype, all sorts of enticing details are coming out of the woodwork. While so far the album title and photo has implied that it's Lady Gaga's most personal effort to date, please don't confuse personal with solo work. It sounds as if the singer's new album was a team effort — with a singularly high number of celebrity collaborations on Lady Gaga's Joanne being reported. In producer Mark Ronson's interview with Entertainment Weekly, he cited not one, not two, but all the celebrity names when describing who got involved with Joanne.
Some of these names seem totally logical — like fellow femme art pop star Florence and the Machine, who duets with Gaga on "Hey Girl," or Father John Misty, who's also interested in left-field pop music and who "contributed to 'Sinner’s Prayer.'" Similarly, if the first single from the album, "Perfect Illusion," suggested to you that Gaga's interested in blurring the boundaries between dance and rock, then the involvement of high-profile rock names like Josh Homme (who fronts Queens of the Stone Age) and Kevin Parker (of the psych-rock outfit Tame Impala) also make sense.
Homme and Parker's involvement comes thanks to Ronson, who brought in his “extended musical family” to ensure Joanne was everything it could be. Parker dropped by with a demo he had titled "Illusion," which — wait for it — evolved into the song you know and love, "Perfect Illusion." Meanwhile, Homme accepted Ronson's invitation and not only played guitar and drums, but also co-produced on several tracks. Even '90s favorite Beck got involved, and, while it hasn't yet been confirmed which track he contributed to, according to Billboard, it's a "great dance song."
Also on hand was some talented production help. You may not recognize the names, but you're sure to recognize the names on their CVs. Emilie Haynie (who has worked with Lana Del Rey) and BloodPop (who worked on Justin Bieber's "Sorry") were there for the ride, but perhaps the most unexpected contribution to the album came from famed Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey (who you might know from her work co-penning Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel”). She helped Gaga pen three tracks: “A-Yo,” “Million Reasons,” and “Grigio Girls.”
But if at this point you're growing concerned — what if Lady Gaga's voice gets lost in the collaborations? — don't be. Much of the interview was concerned with how personal the album is, despite the high number of people on hand to help. According to Lindsey, who had spoken with A&R rep Aaron Bay-Schmuck after he had heard the album in its earliest stages, "Aaron said [Gaga] was really digging into writing some real, true songs about her life.” She also relates hearing a track Gaga had penned about the death of her aunt and bursting into tears. Clearly, despite the high production values, the new sound, and the celebrity calibre on hand, this is very much a Lady Gaga album.
Also, it's always helpful to have people on hand who have more distance from the material to give objective opinions on personal material. Sometimes, the most personal material can be the hardest to compose if you're too close to it. Clearly Gaga made sure she would swerve that potential danger by recruiting a seriously talented team.
So, with just three weeks to go until the album drops, clearly it's time to get (over)excited; this is going to be the album we've all been waiting for. While I love Gaga's art-school stylings and conception of fame as a mask, I'm looking forward to seeing the singer at her most personal. The high numbers of incredibly talented musicians on hand just guarantees that the album will be personal without being self-indulgent, the perfect sweet spot.