Label: Streamline, Interscope
Released: Oct. 21

Lady Gaga needed Joanne. She needed to strip down—not literally, of course. But after 2013’s Artpop, Gaga’s overexposure and a cluttered album left some wondering what she would do next. How can you keep our attention when you've already gone so big and bold? By doing the opposite: In October, Gaga dropped Joanne—a pared down, country-tinged version of herself.

It’s an album that mixes her tried and true sounds with something new—a dab of musical theater, a dash of Tina Turner, a sprinkle of Hall & Oates. Standouts include “Sinner's Prayer,” an alternate-world Kill Bill theme song, “Hey Girl,” a soulful collab with Florence Welsh, and lead single “Million Reasons,” which is a better version of Gaga’s hit ballad “You & I.” Joanne feels so fresh compared to electronic greats like The Fame Monster and Born This Way. It has something that those albums don’t: mystery. —Kerensa Cadenas