I'll be honest... I've always been a little skeptical of Lady Gaga as a musical artist.
Granted, I've known she's talented. For God's sake, she was accepted to the Juilliard School in Manhattan at the age of 11. When I was 11, I was just trying to get voted in as class president. However, her pop songs and questionable outfit choices turned me away.
But, at the recommendation of a few friends, I decided to listen to Lady Gaga's newest album, Joanne. I also saw that she did an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio show, and I loved all of it.
In listening to her interview about the album, I greatly admired her passion for music and the perspective from which she shared. She discusses how she really sought out to make this an empathetic album:
"Vocally, lyrically I am trying to tap into the vibrations that make you feel like I'm giving you a giant hug in a way. Or giving you a release, a place for you to rage, or to feel healed, to close your eyes and listen. That's the hard part. Sometimes you don't want to listen to a song that makes you go there. But that's what this record is, this record makes you go there."
Listening to the album, that's definitely the sense I got. Lady Gaga talks about lost love. She talks about looking for love in the wrong places. In her song Angel Down, which is featured on the album twice, she expresses her feelings of frustration after the murder of Trayvon Martin. The album, as a whole, is actually named after her late aunt Joanne Germanotta, who died from lupus 12 years before her niece was born.
One set of lyrics that stood out to me comes from the seventh track, Million Reasons. Lady Gaga says:
"I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay"
She's talking about a tumultuous romantic relationship, but it reminded me of something spoken word poet Don McCaleb said about Car Window Poetry in a Poet Spotlight interview: "My hope is that a rhyme on a card somewhere might find someone who's feeling broken, defeated, and ready to give up, and give them the courage to try one more time."
Life can give us a lot of reasons to feel like it's not worth living, but we hear stories all the time of someone who's preparing to take their life receiving a reminder that they're not alone and deciding not to go through with it. That's the power our words can have. Not only can they encourage us to keep going, but they can encourage us to keep living.
One more set of lyrics that resonated with me comes from the ninth track, Come to Mama. To end the first verse, Lady Gaga says:
"Why do we gotta put each other down
When there's more than enough love to go around?"
During a negative and cynical time like election season, it's easy to forget there's more love and good in this world than we could ever fathom. Hopefully, Car Window Poetry helps you see there's a lot of love to go around. Rather than using our words to tear others down, we can use them to build people up in a powerful way.
Listen to Lady Gaga's newest album here.
Watch her Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe here.
Now, I'd love to hear from you! What are consuming right now that you love? Tweet us your answer!