There comes a time in most pop star’s careers that versatility and a new musical direction is expected. Following the release of the unsuccessful “ARTPOP” album, which was claimed and expected to be the album of the decade, it unfortunately ended up becoming a complete and utter failure for her and her team. Since then,Lady Gaga has attempted to regain popularity and explore unknown territory by teaming up with jazz legend Tony Bennett. After the relatively successful “The Lady Is A Tramp” song on Bennett’s duets album the rumors of a collaboration between the two were being fueled and in July this year the album was confirmed.
What could have easily turned into a recipe for disaster ended up becoming a sublime amalgamation of two completely different acts. Lady Gaga, for once, was able to showcase her abilities as a vocalist, free of outrageous lyrics or overshadowing tracks that hindered her voice instead of making it sound as good as it actually is. Kenneth Partridge, an writer for Billboard, wrote a track by track review of “Cheek to Cheek” that was able to capture and translate from music to words the magic and undeniable chemistry between the two artists.
A few highlights from his review are the opening track and lead single “Anything Goes,” which Partridge and Ben Faulkner from Pop Matters described as a possible anthem for Gaga and one of the strongest moments of the album, this track opens up slowly only building up to the climax on which her and Bennett come together in some sort of vocal ecstasy that leaves you wanting for more.
Nature Boy is another favorite, that along with its melody and exquisite lyrics allow her to show different tones of her voice and her vibrato becomes more noticeable, according to Partridge this song is one of Gaga’s more understated performances,and also with his own words, “But Beautiful” is the “studded leather and psychopathic behavior free version of Bad Romance.” The closing track of the standard edition of the album, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” got both writers agreeing that it was a upbeat and energetic way to close the album.
Not being a Gaga or Bennett fan, I found myself compelled to listen to the album driven by the curiosity of how awful or how good it could be. To my surprise the album was far more enjoyable than I thought, Tony Bennett has that timeless tone and charm to his vocals that transport you to another time and another place and Lady Gaga turns into a glamorous New York piano bar singer named Steffani Germanotta that delivers nothing but class and sass.
On all her previous records, Gaga was not allowed to shine for what made her noticeable in the first place, which is her vocals and ability to mesmerize a crowd with it and even if you are not a fan of hers, after listening to the album you will find that it has been tastefully done and produced, whether it was recorded as a way to help her regain popularity or let Bennet become known within younger generations, it is the music that shines through and can make you appreciate an eccentric artist in a new scenery, leaving the listener wondering why has this amazing talent been hidden or left out for the past 8 years. “Give Cheek to Cheek” a chance to entertain you, take you to the “Edge of Glory” and make you realize that she was “Born This Way,” with vocals and versatility that can and probably already have made many other pop stars jealous.