Spotlight: Lady Gaga

lady_gaga_-_joanne_official_album_coverOnce you’ve listened to Lady Gaga’s album Joanne, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll listen to it during your morning shower, in the car on your way to and from work, and before it’s time to sleep at night. Joanne may be a clear departure from the usual Gaga style of her previous albums, but it’s no less powerful. Songs such as the titular “Joanne” and “Come to Mama” will keep you coming back again and again.

The stylistic change also especially makes far more sense and has far more meaning after watching the Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two. Experience a year in the life of not Lady Gaga, but Stefani Germonatta. It follows the year in which she was releasing Joanne up until her performance at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. You will live, love, laugh, and cry with her up until the very end. Don't have a Netflix subscription? Watch for free using our roku.

Joanne by Lady Gaga (2016)

joanneI have not been able to stop listening to Lady Gaga’s newest album Joanne. The album is named in tribute to her long-deceased Aunt Joanne, who passed away at the age of 19 and Gaga never had a chance to meet.

Gaga’s previous albums are much more glam/dance/pop and Joanne is a refreshingly stripped-down showcase of Gaga’s incredible vocal and musical talents.  There is a lot of variety on Joanne – it’s a little bit country, a whole lot of rock, and at times has Latin and Motown influences.

A few of my favorite tracks include: “A-YO” (a party tune that’s just plain fun);  “Joanne” (a heartbreaking acoustic ballad written to her late aunt);  “Hey Girl” (a funky duet with Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine); “John Wayne” (a crowd-pleasing guitar-heavy anthem); “Just Another Day” (perhaps a tribute to the late David Bowie or the Beatles); and “Million Reasons” (a beautiful catchy ballad that you won’t want to stop playing on repeat).  All the songs on this album truly showcase Lady Gaga’s absolutely stunning vocals and her incredible range as an artist.

If you don’t want to wait for the CD, stream it instantly via Hoopla!
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The Entertainer by Donny Osmond

The Entertainer by Donny Osmond (2010)
He still has a great voice. I liked him best in Joseph. Find out more about Donny by visiting his website.

Did you know Donny & Marie will be in town during December for Christmas in Chicago? It's part of Broadway in Chicago.
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Whokill by tUnE-yArDs

Whokill by tUnE-yArDs (2011)
A funky blend of Afro-Pop, R&B, and acoustic come together in this album by the percussionist and singer Merrill Garbus. This offbeat record where Garbus layers and loops her voice is a feel good album that will have you dancing for hours. For those of you who love Afro-pop artists like Zap Mama, this album is a must listen!

Check out an interview with Garbus and a review of the album in Pitchfork. For more about the group, visit their record label 4AD.

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Lungs by Florence + the Machine

Lungs by Florence + the Machine (2009)
This debut album from the eccentric British pop singer Florence Welch is not only mesmerizing but it is also a lot of fun.  Welsh’s elegant voice stands out on this record amid the building crescendos of frenzied percussion. With tracks like “You’ve Got the Love” and the “Dog Days are Over,” you won’t be able to resist dancing. This is a perfect album for the summer.

Check out a review of the album.

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U.S.A.-U.K. by 7th Heaven

U.S.A.-U.K. by 7th Heaven (2008)
7th Heaven is a local rock band known for their 30 songs in 30 minute pop/rock medleys, fun and energetic stage presence, and variety of music for all audiences. Their latest CD titled U.S.A.-U.K. includes “Better This Way,” “Gravity,” and the song heard during the Chicago Cubs commercials “This Summers Gonna Last for Ever.” My favorites are what I call the rock ballads: “Gave You My Word” and “Still Be Here."

If you get a chance to see them live at a local fest this summer, you’ll hear a few of their songs, a 30-minute medley and other classic rock and recent hit songs from Metro Station to Journey and sometimes Neil Diamond. Look for them at the Concert in the Park in Darien on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 -- also check out a list of their other local appearances (including one tonight at 6:00 in Downers Grove).
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Still Unforgettable

Still Unforgettable by Natalie Cole (2008)
Eight-time Grammy winner Natalie Cole continues her exploration of American pop standards in this sequel to her 1991 Grammy LP of the Year Unforgettable: With Love. I found it to be a nice blend of smooth jazz and big band sounds, but I don't think she needs to do any more duets with her dead father!