TGJ Roundtable: Lady Gaga’s ‘Joanne’

Published: Tuesday 25th Oct 2016 by Sam

Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic sees us review…

Lady Gaga’s ‘Joanne’


Just like most things “Gaga,” the ‘Joanne’ album (specifically its roll-out, reception, and forecasted fate) aren’t the easiest to dissect. 

A useful way to unpack my stance, however, is for me to first express that I truly see the project as a cornerstone release. One, much like Beyonce’s ‘4’ and Mariah’s ‘Charmbracelet,’ that will go on to serve as an important turning point in Gaga’s discography. 

Both of the aforementioned LP’s failed to yield sizeable hits or live up to commercial peaks of prior years. Yet, they allowed their banner artists to add new colors to their respective palettes musically. In doing so, said albums also gifted Bey and Mimi a broader array of hues to use to paint their eventual pictures of emancipation.

Put simply, I feel ‘Joanne’ almost has to happen so as to get the album the masses truly want from Gaga. The upbeat, fun, and eccentric effort that doesn’t sonically repeat what we’ve already heard from her; the latter being a taller task than many understand. 

She was dragged like a rag doll over ‘ARTPOP’ (which, in more ways than folk like to admit, is not far removed from the “Gaga” people ironically want back now). And she’s also experienced a lot of change in her personal life – namely her broken engagement. Why is this relevant, you might ask? 

Well, in Gaga being a genuine artist rather than a factory produced fatale, it’s her artistic license to express the way she’s feeling in the here and now; which seems to be fragile, minimalist, and refined. 

Given the public’s general exhaustion with her theatrics, her stripped back approach with ‘Joanne’ – both musically and aesthetically – is actually really smart for her brand. For, the sharp left she’s taking puts her back in control of the Lady Gaga narrative. Something that hasn’t been the case for a long while. 

There are issues, though. 

Because, as much as I personally enjoy ‘Joanne,’ I feel it could have done a better job of achieving what it set out to sonically. Particularly given the respected names involved (see: Mark Ronson). Stripped back and artsy has been done many times before and has sounded better. Case in point Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black.’ Can you imagine Gaga churning out an album like “that?” It would have slayed. 

Thematically, the project feels a bit confused too. Less so on record, but more Gaga’s definitions during interviews. Like even as I type, I’m none-the-wiser as to whether ‘Joanne’ is about her, her aunt, healing, women’s rights, or her father. Her explanations change depending on the day and it’s grating as hell. Sometimes, just sometimes, shush-up and let the music speak for itself.  

Also, honing in again on the Beyonce and Mariah examples; Mother Monster has never had the ubiquitous appeal of Mrs Carter nor is she releasing ‘Joanne’ in the same climate as ‘Charmbracelet’ (2002). Audiences today aren’t as forgiving nor are their attention spans as willingly long. People are all about the now, hence Gaga may not have the privilege of letting her latest reinvention play out. There’s the entirely plausible chance of the masses simply moving on to pastures new midway through. 

Still, she has what so many Pop girls in her predicament don’t: the Super Bowl. And not just the enormity of the platform, but also the fact that it’s several months away. It means it’s incredibly likely that she’ll continue plugging the album in the run-up to Halftime and the show itself will almost certainly serve as a bolt of new life come next February. 

Whatever happens, it’ll be fascinating to see how this all plays out. 



It hurts to say that ‘Joanne’ is a miss for me.


Recognising that the general public had become bored of her pantomime, Gaga made the right move by steering towards more human and soulful territory.

Alas, ‘Joanne’ sees the star make a foray into Country which, at some points, feels forced and disingenuous.

This isn’t because the songs aren’t enjoyable, because they are. But because they simply aren’t interesting enough to be touted as “artsy” or catchy enough melodically to be considered smash hits.

Quite interestingly, the responses to Adult Contemporary-leaning releases launched by Solange (and dare we say Britney Spears) prove Pop music lovers can enjoy and support material which digs deeper than drinking, smoking and “turning up.”

Gaga’s problem now is that she looks and feels like a Pop artist going through the motions playing dress up in another genre’s clothes. That being said, her vision and talent (which sees her fly above and beyond most of her contemporaries) will undoubtedly see her add more to her new material with visuals and performances that will be groundbreaking.

I look forward to seeing them.



Not trying to reignite the Madonna vs Gaga debate, but the latter makes it hard to analyze her sometimes without acknowledging the former. Honestly, even in the most “reaching way possible,” when I think of ‘ARTPOP,’ I think ‘Ray of Light.’

Not comparing them in terms of content, reception, or impact, but more so the purposes they served for each artist at that point in their respective careers, as they were designed by both to help create distance from being “pop stars” and, instead, be perceived as “real artists.” Also, they wanted to conceptually add depth to their offerings while still inviting fans to the dancefloor.

The follow-up to ‘Ray of Light’ was ‘Music,’ an era of Madge’s career categorized by cowgirl hats and boots, country-pop delving songs (i.e. ‘Don’t Tell Me,’ ‘I Deserve It’), and more “stripped,” acoustic-bred material (see:  ‘Nobody’s Perfect,’ ‘I Deserve It,’ and ‘Gone’). I’ll be damned if I don’t look up at ‘Joanne,’ the follow-up to ‘ARTPOP,’ and see cowgirl hats and boots, Country-Pop delving songs, and more raw, acoustic-bred material.

The similarity may have not been intentional, but the contrast between ‘Music’ and ‘Joanne,’ however, couldn’t be more noticeable. That “contrast” is balance. Where Madonna used elements of ‘Ray of Light’ and wove them into ‘Music’, Gaga went completely left at a time where fans needed a taste of ‘Poker Face’ most.  Granted, my analysis here is primarily from an imaging and branding perspective, but that’s what Madge and Gags are to the public – images and gimmicks (Madonna’s – sex, Gaga – eccentricity).

Now, purely judging the album on its own merit separate from its creator, ‘Joanne’ is a masterfully done collection of Pop-tunes that, contrary to the belief of those damning it, will age very well.  Songs like ‘Perfect Illusion,’ ‘Million Reasons,’ and ‘Diamond Heart’ are absolute gems. The real problem?  The album is a good body of work, but it’s not a good “GAGA” album.

Alas, I think years from now people will look back on ‘Joanne’ and see it for its worth.  Right now, however, it seems all amiss.




The past few years have seen the biggest stars skew all the way left both from a sonic and promotional point of view.

With ‘Joanne,’ Gaga seems to have veered further than any other artist of her caliber… for better or for worse.
Obviously, the most noticeable difference in direction is the abolition of the many gimmicks which made Lady GaGa… well LADY GAGA.

Then, most paramount is switch is the music. Ms. Germanota delivers here a body of work which may be superior in quality to what’s hot at the minute sadly isn’t strong enough to coexist on the charts with what’s hot at the minute.

For instance, though great songs, ‘A-YO’ and ‘Dancin’ In Circles’ are a bit non-eventful and never fully go “there”. I enjoy the Supertramp and Elton John influences which can be found on songs like ‘Come To Mama’ and ‘Hey Girl.’ but can these tracks really sell this LP? Doubtful.

Stefani’s safest bet single-wise is beautiful ballad ‘Million Reasons’ and even that is going to take a lucky strike.

I seriously hope Team GaGa have a lot of promo lined up because it’s going to take some effort to make people literally buy into the new incarnation of Lady Gaga.

Will it pay off in the long term? Lets hope so, if not the artist will be reduced to a one-trick-pony only capable of moving the masses through her ostentatious antics.

All in all, a good album.


Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and Lady Gaga’s ‘Joanne’!

Your thoughts?

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  1. Paulo October 25, 2016

    no. first of all I’m done with people even fellow Hives lowkey dragging 4 when it did what it could’ve done considering it was Bey’s pregnant era and more importantly what it SHOULD’VE done. She released BTINH to appease Columbia and kept it moving with her alternative promo plan and crafting her independence.
    second of all, how poorly uncreative would it be if GaGa simply went to Ronson for “the Ronson sound” and all y’all would be ready to throw stones and drag if she tried to jump the Winehouse/Mars bandwagon. I would love for GaGa to be into singing that type of Soul music but it has to be done right, plus she just fresh off a Jazz album.
    what I can agree is that a) – her Country approach does seem disingenuous, but I’m hoping as the era takes off she will shape it better image-wise. cause honestly, it does have a few Country influences but if you take away her hat it is a pop-rock record. b) – she does tend to run off her mouth about her music and contradict herself but that is not new to this era, she always does it.
    and I will also disagree that the album lacks potential hits to fuel it. no! I will say the album lacks a strong lead single that could both be a hit and introduce the Joanne sound yet still reconnect people with the ‘old’ GaGa. what Interscope and her team are lacking is trust on her hit potential because of the ARTPOP era. Dancing In Circles is a bit left field but catchy – had that been her official lead single with Perfect Illusion being only a teasing promo to rekindle GaGa and the GP, and the album pushed back a week or two, results would’ve been different. Maybe she wouldn’t have a #1 but sales would be better IMO.

    • ? October 25, 2016

      The album is trash point blank bottoms

      • The Navy October 25, 2016

        Insipid, boring, trying hard and lackluster – the entire era… DONE!


      • BeyMilitant October 25, 2016

        Pooanne has gotten negative reviews and will b debuted around 100-160k sales. Of course, higher than Ariana bcause of heavily discounted 3.99.

        Beyoncè’s 5th album was critically acclaimed and debuted with 600k+ in 3 days. It also went on to sell almost 5 million copies WW. This garbage probably won’t see 1 million.

        I hope she won’t invite Bey at the SuperBowl. Don’t want Bey to associate with this stinky lame thrash.

    • LISA LEVINE October 25, 2016


      • Yolanda October 25, 2016

        Gaga is SO flaky. Monsturds tried to call Beyonce an opportunistic for supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement. Now Gaga is ALL OF A SUDDEN making songs about Treyvon Martin, whom she’s never even acknowledged before. They aren’t calling her a bandwagoner though. The hypocrisy is real. Madonna stans for Katy, Britney, Nicki, Beyonce and Rihanna. Gaga? She has a dark aura and ugly soul. I choose Madonna over this shady woman with a tacky pink cowboy hat from Walmart. Eurghhhh!!!

      • Sue October 25, 2016

        Lack of originality. Madonna can survive without Gaga but Gaga can’t survive with Madonna. She is a cookie cutter artist. Madonna’s influence in everything this clown does. I’m so done with her. Boring! zzz

    • LemonadeTeaBag October 25, 2016

      So I purchased POOANNE and I hate it. I wasted $12 on that cr*p. Worst Gaga album ever!!

      Hell ArtPOOP was s***** but way better than this. ?

      • Molly October 25, 2016

        Next time just download the leaked version on the your money on brocolli or Mars bar! ??

      • Mamariah Cowry October 25, 2016

        4 for $4 at #Wendys or $3.99 for #FlopAnne? Hmmm, I believe I’ll take the former as it’s actually worth the coins! ???

    • TheXhainsmoker October 25, 2016

      8 years into her career, Madonna was releasing the ImmaculateCollection, which sold over 30 million copies – becoming the Best Selling compilation ever recorded by a solo artist.

      Meanwhile, 8 years into her career, Gag is releasing FlopAnne, which includes NO HITS whatsoever. Auntie Jo must be crying in her grave. $3.99 ..that’s insulting! ?

      • Molly October 25, 2016

        Does she even exist ?????

  2. KoolKid October 25, 2016

    I was really skeptical about this album when I heard the singles, but as a body of work – this album is incredibly credible. True – it is not what you expect from Gaga, but I don’t think Gaga is trying to prove that she is a “pop star” anymore.She should have surprised released this album, as the singles are probably what have hurt the roll out the most!

    • lame October 25, 2016

      she has peaked. she is now an album artist. she is being scalped by Adele.

    • Molly October 25, 2016

      Ppl are getting tired of her. She has a big time identity crisis. One era she was pop singer, one era was a jazz singer..this year she is a country.

      Whats next? Hip hop?!!! ?????

    • Miley Minah October 25, 2016

      For that cheap sh*t? I’m not crazy to pay, never ever. I’ll do an illegal download at a pirate site, listen once and erased forever.


    • Sacha October 25, 2016

      Are you that sssstupid to listen to an album about a corpse? Eeee!! Pleaseee!!!! ?

  3. BeyIsKing October 25, 2016

    Gaga, I like the woman but she went to far left with this album essentially alienating her core fan Base. I understand artistic growth but usually an artist takes her fans along when she grows and evolves her sound Gaga has left her fans behind.The change is too drastic. If you look at the Gaga that was headlining The Monster Ball Tour and this Gaga they seem like 2 completely different people. While Joanne is a good album it’s not Gaga she might as well cut ties with Gaga and become known as Stefani Germanotta now

    • Paulo October 25, 2016

      yeah the minute I heard it was called Joanne and that it would be more stripped down, I’m wondering whether she regrets being Lady GaGa and wants to just make music as Stefani again.

      • Sacha October 25, 2016

        That aunty Juanna is a hoax. It was her pet donkey that died ?

    • Arianator October 25, 2016

      Little morons will no longer be entertained. Immediate block from now on. Their stupidity gives me migraines.

  4. LISA LEVINE October 25, 2016


  5. Dev October 25, 2016

    David and Joe said it best except i am not enjoying any of the music.
    I’m just interested to see the bi polar preformance that is going to be the Super Bowl, she should have the stage set up as a dressing up box

  6. hoeimHERE October 25, 2016

    The thing ppl have to realize is that this is a brand new album, with different producers going for a different sound!!! THIS IS NOT, FAME MONSTER, BTW or ARTPOP.. SO STOP COMPARING THEM!!!!! She clearly wanted to go in a new direction with this project… I personally LOVE the record.. I appreciate good music regardless of genre. When I heard she was working with Ronson I was hoping for a more soulful album.. But maybe she’ll go that route next time. Nonetheless I love the album

    • Molly October 25, 2016

      Imagine selling your brand new album for $3.99 on its first day of release. Madonna, Mariah, Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney’s stans can’t relate.

      • new October 25, 2016

        Rhianna sold rated r first week for 0.99 on Amazon. No one made a big deal because she still didn’t go number 1

  7. LmfaoHoe October 25, 2016

    Man idk The Fame/Monster is over and it’s not gonna happen again. Also hell no this album along with Artpop are nothing remotely close to the perfection that is Ray of Light. I just finished listening to Frozen ??

  8. justme October 25, 2016

    I can’t get into the album at all and I actually loved artpop. People compare this move by gaga to Beyonce 4. This is not even close. Beyonce 4 leaked 3 weeks before release and still had big opening numbers. Joanne doesn’t have any good songs like 4. What song on Joanne can rival “I care”. That is where an artist does something different and takes the fan along with them and the fans love it. Joanne should’ve had a balance of ballads, mid tempo, and club bangers. Again similar to Beyonce I am Sasha fierce. Say what Beyonce said this is what I like to sing but these other songs are for the fans. Joanne will be another effort by gaga but this time I don’t think people are gonna be checking the next album

  9. The kpop guy, Matt ~ October 25, 2016

    I am a huge gaga fan and I agree that she has shown artistic growth. However, i’ll be needing the good sis to switch it up again next era because I am not here for Joanne. I am not delusional, the album itself is very vanilla swift. Dancing in circles is the only thing I see being a potential hit on this ablum

  10. BEYSTAN_ SINCE 1997 October 25, 2016

    Flop. Next topic!

  11. ???????Chile, take this “Itty Bitty Piggy” to the market and make sure you hold her hand while crossing the street!??????? October 25, 2016

    What if she ends up pulling in a little over 200,000 units? The excuses, meltdowns, and arguments would be epic. THIS ALBUM WILL BE CERTIFIED GOLD BEFORE THE SUPERBOWL, AT THE VERY LEAST.

  12. #JACKIE October 25, 2016

    She exceeded the haters and they can’t take!! Come thru Stefani!

  13. #JACKIE October 25, 2016

    She exceeded the haters expectations and they can’t take!! Come thru Stefani!

    • lame October 25, 2016


  14. Bianca October 25, 2016

    As a long term fan of Gaga since 2008 when she was just starting to make a buzz … I’m very disappointed with Joanne it feels like a desperate attempt to prove that she is a artist , talented bla bla bla . Gaga is her own worse enemy she is so extreme and lacks balance . All her fans want is for her to be snatched, a fierce b**** and make genuine music without some sort of aim …. maybe she will realize it some day

  15. Niko Ramos October 25, 2016

    Can we get a roundtable review of Britney Spears ‘Glory’ album people? You know it’s such a shame because I personally and I’m sure others to respect your reviews, appreciate them and take them in consideration. And it’s evident that you “choose” who to review and who not too purposefully. Yes I am a Britney fan, but mostly I am a fa of music, and all these pop artists, and was looking forward to reading a review from your site on ‘Glory’ see if you agree with the direction she took her music in. Hopefully we get that ‘Glory’ review, bad or good.

  16. Chasin Time October 25, 2016

    I read this just to see if Sam was going to SOMEHOW tie in Beyonce and he sure did.

  17. Niko Ramos October 25, 2016

    Can we get a roundtable review of Britney Spears ‘Glory’ album people? You know it’s such a shame because I personally and I’m sure others to respect your reviews, appreciate them and take them in consideration. And it’s evident that you “choose” who to review and who not too purposefully. Yes I am a Britney fan, but mostly I am a fan of music, and all these pop artists, and was looking forward to reading a review from your site on ‘Glory’ see if you agree with the direction she took her music in. Hopefully we get that ‘Glory’ review, bad or good.

  18. Lala October 25, 2016

    I agree with NYPost..Pooanne is 1.5 stars.


  19. wanda October 25, 2016

    old news..
    new gossip…album pleaseeee.

  20. LOL October 25, 2016


    • Max October 25, 2016

      You look 12

  21. Dem Lessers October 25, 2016

    It was a struggle for me to listen to the whole album, I gave it a fair chance and I felt like I wasted 47 minutes of my life. Can’t even be arsed to illegally download or talk to any gays about it, and when PI comes on in the club I go toilet. Depressing try hard noise, let me go back to listening to I.O.I Very Very Very.

    • The kpop guy, Matt ~ October 25, 2016

      Girl. I.O.I really? They have yet to do pick me.

      • Dem Lessers October 25, 2016

        I just like the song, I can’t stan a group with a 15 year old as the face. Somi’s almost 9 years younger than me ?

  22. cocobutta October 25, 2016

    Gaga has gone very left but before a Gaga was piano playing girl Stefani.

    Her transition into the Lady Gaga brand was a TOTAL left but an experiment that paid off as she incorporated her pop potential with creative, elaborate costumes to show off a versatility many thought she wouldn’t have.
    Problem with that is the style ended up taking away from the art so in a way the Tony Bennett project has allowed Gaga to get back to her core root of who she started out as.
    Now we’re in a era where seems you’re either a hits artist or a body of work artist and Gaga is seeming to be torn in between the 2 with what she’s putting out. Maybe Joanne can be the segway leading towards a self titled album where she brings out her best Gaga and Stefani sonically. A project where she has a full clear direction and presents it that way.
    One thing that seems to be good is that excusing lower price the showing of interest in Lady Gaga as a album seller is still there even if not at scales of the past.

    • JOHNVIDAL October 25, 2016

      I agree. I´ve been saying it for months. She has probably decided she´s going for full bodies of work and that´s it. If it works fine, if not she´ll keep having teh recognition by her fellow musicians. Plus the discount was only for a day and in one platform. She is proving to be abetter seller than what most thought at this point and with teh change of genre.

    • weSlay October 25, 2016

      Wow considering you said you’re not that into Lady G Cocobutta that was a well thought out balanced view.
      Impressed with quite a few comments in here considering usually the stanning salty bunch of b****** dominating.

  23. iSpeakTruthNoFallacy October 25, 2016

    I gave Joanne a good listen with a blunt and it did nothing for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed ARTPOP. To me, Gaga listend to ANTI and Lemonade and was like “I need to do the white girl version of that.” Instead of coming up with truly innovative, organic experience, it’s like she’s putting on this David Bowie, Elton John mixed with some Dolly Parton persona. For me, the only stand out record on the album is Perfect Illusion which is why I understand the label chose it to be the lead single; Hey Girl is a great listen as well. While they are not bad records at all, many of the other songs fall flat for me personally as melodramatic ballads are not in which I liked Gaga to begin with. Furthermore, the marketing con she’s done with this album is overboard too. Her label is marketing her like she’s still one of the Big 5 when she’s more like on Ariana’s level. No matter the marketing ploy the album is truly a disaster and will be the biggest joke in music this time 2017. Not because the music itself is bad but because of the label’s scam marketing. I’ll give the album a C/C-

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) October 25, 2016


  24. prince October 25, 2016

    Gaga was testing the waters with this album. the problem is she tested the waters in a sea full of sharks. Realistically speaking, this was a great year for music. “Anti”, “Glory”, “Lemonade” and a “A Seat At The Table” devoured Gaga’s little goldfish of an album, “Joanne”. PLUS I’m pretty sure she’s purchased at least half of her own albums.

    • Godele October 25, 2016

      Me too..rumor has it Interscope will spend 25m to promote this garbage..

  25. Fixed! October 25, 2016

    8 years and she is struggling to get a Top 10 single. She has lost her identity. Joanne sounds like a demo. I guess thats why Interscope is panicking and decide to sell her album for 3.99. She is no longer a caviar of music. She is a taco that will give you a wet fart! ?

    • Mamariah Cowry October 25, 2016

      Yucky!!! ????

  26. Mamariah Cowry October 25, 2016

    Heard once and never again. Next gossip please!

    • JOHNVIDAL October 25, 2016

      Don´t you realize you sound like something is missing in your life? You are asking for gossip? And you don´t just hate on one talented artist but on two (see your user name)? Hope you get better.

  27. JOHNVIDAL October 25, 2016

    The album is great. Some haters who expected a fail are seething. There are like 5 songs that are instant, high quality (Come to Mama, Sinners Prayer, Joanne, Million Reasons, Hey Girl) and then the rest are growers (despite the big change of genre they grow on you, A-Yo got so much better once she performed it in SNL). I wouldn´t rule out grammy recognition next year. You know her fellow musicans respect her a lot and she ahs a lot going on until next year.

    • RollingTheDeep October 25, 2016

      Please..spread your rhetoric garbage sonewhere else. Nobody is impressed witn this 3.99 album.

      • JOHNVIDAL October 25, 2016

        How many troll accounts are you going to create? What a pathetic being. Do you think you are fooling someone? 🙂 lmao

  28. Felicia October 25, 2016

    Give up already..this era is not working. Trust me..impossible to achieve a platinum. She is not Adele. Byeee..till your next album.

    • JOHNVIDAL October 25, 2016

      But it is clearly working against all odds hun. Superbowl and more coming.

  29. e Nowqd Redv dibut it ash trjoan ivy blobukz Need UK timely Ukuno eremixi October 25, 2016


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