Track Review: Lady Gaga, ‘A-YO’
Ahead of Joanne, Lady Gaga releases one final pre-release single, “A-YO.”
Lady Gaga has released three singles ahead of her fifth studio album, Joanne: “Perfect Illusion,” “Million Reasons,” and “A-YO.” Stylistically, all three singles are distinct from one another. “Perfect Illusion” is most similar to Gaga’s past style, but delved deeper into neo-disco. “Million Reasons” is slated somewhere between pop, rock, country, and singer/songwriter. As for “A-YO,” it’s a mix between dance, soul, and a dash of country/folk.
Vocally, Lady Gaga sounds beastly. For many years, it could be argued that the sheen and slick production work sometimes masked her powerful voice. Three tracks into Joanne, that isn’t the case. Gaga is full-throttle, showcasing incredible grit and investment into the material she sings. While there’s still that element of tongue-n-cheek, she presents it differently than she has in the past.
As far as songwriting, “A-YO” is incredibly sharp. From the start, Gaga mentions cigarettes:
“I can’t wait to smoke them all / whole pack like Marlboro / blow it in your face…”
Does she really want to literally smoke in someone’s face? No, of course not. She incorporates sex into the mix on the chorus, in addition to revising cigarette references:
“Get off on me, my body’s pleadin’ / light me up and breathe in…”
Even though she nails (no pun intended) sex, examine the song as a whole and it’s about throwing middle fingers up to her haters. She says it best on the second verse, singing,
“Can’t wait to get you shook up / faster than you can try to hate it / you can try to hate it, you can try to fake it / but baby, I laced it.”
In regards to the production, “A-YO” contrasts everything else in the Lady Gaga collection. Perhaps it’s off-putting initially, this record clearly shows a different side of the former dance-pop chanteuse. Clearly, Joanne finds Gaga with numerous tricks up her sleeves.
Lady Gaga continues to show multiple dimensions as she rolls out Joanne. “A-YO” is a stark contrast for her compared to the past, but it’s successful without a hitch. It illustrates that she can’t be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional artist in the least.
Lady Gaga • Joanne • Interscope • Release: 10.21.16
Photo Credit: Interscope