Track Review: Lady Gaga, ‘Million Reasons’
Lady Gaga starkly contrasts promo single “Perfect Illusion” with country/folk-tinged, singer-songwriter, ballad, “Million Reasons.”
After shocking the world by releasing “Perfect Illusion” on September 9, Lady Gaga returns with a new single, “Million Reasons.” Additionally, she returns with the announcement of an album. Joanne is due October 21. “Perfect Illusion” got off to a fast start on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, it dipped in its second and third weeks. Perhaps “Million Reasons” has the magic to propel Lady Gaga back to superstar status.
“Million Reasons” serves as a stark contrast to “Perfect Illusion.” There are no “bells and whistles” in regards to the production. This is a pop/rock singer-songwriter song, not a danceable, fun record. An additional wrinkle is a country tinge, thanks to co-writer Hillary Lindsey (Lady Antebellum). Add that info, and “Million Reasons” becomes a much more ambitious song for Lady Gaga – one of the most distinct of her career.
Gaga has had success in the non-dance department, specifically with ballad “Speechless” (The Fame Monster) and “Yoü and I” (Born This Way). Also, don’t forget about “Till It Happens to You,” her Academy-Award nominated song from The Hunting Ground, co-written by Diane Warren. Even so, you can’t pinpoint it as where her bread has been buttered in regards to fame. Vocally, nonetheless, one listen to “Million Reasons” shows she has the chops to successfully pull this off. It’s a departure, but certainly one that’s worthwhile.
The songwriting for “Million Reasons” is quite intriguing. Even though it’s not gimmicky in the least, there’s plenty of repetition. Lyric “give me a million reasons” is reiterated throughout the course of the song. This seems to be a product of the country element evoked. This also adds more catchiness to a song that doesn’t have the “catchy” factor to aid it. The best moment, unsurprisingly, is the soaring chorus:
“I bow down to pray / I try to make the worst seem better / Lord, show me the way / to cut through all his worn out leather / I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away / but baby, I just need one good one to stay.”
The question is, what specifically is Gaga willing to walk away from? Love (“Lord, show me the way / to cut through all his worn leather”) or the music biz (“you’re giving me a million reasons to quit the show”)? It’s hard to know or decipher for sure, but that seems to be intent. Regardless, Lady Gaga is serious about it, showing incredible emotion and authenticity.
Lady Gaga delivers on “Million Reasons” without question. The relevant question is how successful will this starkly contrasting single be? This is not your standard Lady Gaga record, so what will public perception be? How will this song fair from a commercial standpoint? Furthermore, Gaga has sent two very different ideas about the sound of Joanne. One is dance, breakup anthem “Perfect Illusion,” and the other the country-tinged, pop/rock ballad, “Million Reasons.” The results should be interesting.
Lady Gaga • Joanne • Interscope • Release: 10.21.16
Photo Credit: Interscope