New look, new sound, old faces... we break down what to expect from Mother Monster’s imminent release
Separate to her jaw-dropping (and award-winning) appearance on American Horror Story, you may have noticed that, until recently, Lady Gaga has taken some time away from the pop music spotlight. Having previously shouted “fuck you, pop music!” while a performance artist vomited all over her and having spoken about wishing to free herself “from the expectations of the music industry, and the expectations of the status quo”, you’d be forgiven for thinking the follow-up to 2014’s Tony Bennett collaboration Cheek to Cheek might never arrive.
However, last week, Gaga revealed that a new album was actually on its way, saying: “You know, I am putting out an album this year. I won’t tell you when!” With this in mind, we’ve scoured every corner of the internet, picking up clues to find out exactly what it might sound like. Like Madonna, Mother Monster tends to reinvent herself at every turn, so a new Lady Gaga album usually means a brand new Lady Gaga. Here’s what we think she might sound like:
THE PRODUCER BEHIND HER BIGGEST HITS IS RETURNING
Lady Gaga’s long-time musical partner RedOne has been spotted in the studio with her, both of them donning shades – which we can only assume are there to protect their eyes from the sheer inventiveness of their music. Previous work with RedOne resulted in some of the biggest and best hits of the Gaga canon, including “Bad Romance”, “Poker face” and “Just Dance”. Considering RedOne was mainly absent from Artpop, can we assume that Gaga is going back to the heady days of The Fame and Born This Way?
Speaking to The National, RedOne explained: “We took a little break from each other and now it feels like we are in a good place, both of us. She did her thing, I did my thing, and it feels like we’re back on track together...the new material feels great. That’s what it is like with me and her – when we both feel great, it’s incredible. A lot of it is to do with trust, no ego, just love for the music. And when it’s fun and respectful, putting the egos aside, it’s magic.” He goes on to say that “with Gaga, I’m fully committed until we’re done – we’re just going to work on writing songs – 20, 30, 40 songs – until we get hopefully the best album of the decade.” That process sounds more like a musical marathon than an album, but who are we to say it won’t be the best of the decade?
THERE WILL BE AN ADDED DOSE OF GUITAR
Around the time The Countess was in the studio with RedOne late last year, she posted this silent video of herself playing guitar. And then, just six weeks ago, she posted another silent video of herself playing guitar… We get it, Gaga – you’re big on guitar sounds.
This isn’t the only indication that the artist could be utilising those rockier, more guitar-led influences. “I was in a classic rock covers band at the same time I was in jazz band in high school and doing jazz state competitions," Gaga has told NME in the past, adding: “I have a real passion for Robert Plant’s vocals, Led Zeppelin was a huge inspiration for me. I’m certain that side of my musicianship will seep through the pores of music in the future."
IT COULD INCLUDE THIS TRACK
Her most recent release “Til It Happens To You”, which was co-written with songwriting legend Diane Warren, was a harrowing ballad about the ongoing issue of campus rape, marking a brave piece of activism directed towards something that has affected Gaga personally. The track also acted as a contribution to last year’s Kirby Dick documentary film The Hunting Ground – a documentary that delved into the same issues. While the Oscar-nominated song was intended as a soundtrack, there’s every chance that Gaga could include the release on her new album – it would, of course, be a beautiful addition.
THERE WILL BE SOME THROWBACK FACES
RedOne isn’t the only old face Gaga has been pictured in the studio with – she’s also been spotted with disco pop legend Nile Rodgers, who worked with the artist on her brilliant revamp of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” for Tom Ford’s recent audio-visual campaign, filmed by Nick Knight. RedOne also gave hints that synth disco king Giorgio Moroder would be getting involved with the project, and Elton John has already heard the album, saying: “I’ve heard some of it and it’s absolutely fabulous. She’s been doing really different things…and it’s really, really fantastic.” Is there a chance Elton could be making an appearance also?
IT WILL BE INSANELY CREATIVE
At this year’s Grammys, Mother Monster is teaming up with American tech giant Intel for a one-off live performance as part of their creative project fighting online harassment. In what looks like a trailer for this performance, an enigmatic, computerised Gaga promises to “imagine the unimaginable, to think the unthinkable” and to “invent the un-inventable.” Does this mark a futuristic, space age album for Gen Z?
This isn’t the the first time that Lady Gaga has claimed to be bursting with creative powers. Last year, the singer posted an image of herself in bed next to the words: “Basically I can’t sleep without every single song I’m writing repeating endlessly, but I’m loving it again. Embracing the torture, as I’m assaulted by my own thoughts. Like a locust giving birth to earworms. Eeeeew!” By “earworms” we assume she means incredible music.