Just days before she heads to the GRAMMY Awards to perform and see if she wins either of the two trophies she’s up for, Lady Gaga has released an updated version of her song “Joanne,” which clearly holds a very special place in her heart.
The pop singer stripped down the title track from her latest album and took it to the next level in doing so. The reworked song is slower and sweeter, and surprisingly heartbreaking for someone best known as a creator of dancefloor anthems. “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’)” now only features her on the piano (and towards the end she begins strumming an acoustic guitar), and by taking away any accoutrements, the true power of the composition shines through.
“Joanne” was written for Gaga’s late aunt, who passed away from complications connected to lupus when she was just 19. The “Bad Romance” chart-topper never met her father’s sister, but she was inspired by her life and character for her latest album, which mostly ditched electro-pop and saw Gaga go in a more Americana/country direction.
The video Gaga released alongside “Joanne” is a low-key production, featuring just the singer and a few friends. Throughout the clip, the singer doesn’t rely on complicated storylines or a massive budget to keep people watching. Instead, she created something compelling simply by pouring her heart into what she’s doing. From her performance on the recording to her clearly visible emotions in the video, it’s obvious that this song means a lot to Gaga, and she makes it mean a lot to the listener by the time it’s over.
Gaga teased her new rendition of “Joanne” throughout this week on social media, first by sharing a teaser of the tune and video (alongside a message stating that she was making a donation in her aunt’s name to the Lupus Research Alliance), and then by uploading the song’s cover. It’s not yet clear if “Joanne” will receive the proper single treatment and be played on radio anytime soon, though it's not difficult to imagine, especially considering how well her similarly-sweet single “Million Reasons” performed.
Next, watch Mother Monster talk about what might be her biggest album yet, Born This Way.