If you told me ten years ago that the “Just Dance” girl would be getting heavy Oscar buzz and deliver an instantly iconic soundtrack for A Star Is Born, I would have laughed hysterically. Nevertheless, here we are. It is 2018 and Lady Gaga, with some help from the surprisingly musically gifted Bradley Cooper, absolutely nails it on the soundtrack for A Star Is Born.
Following in the footsteps of Hollywood iconoclasts such as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, Lady Gaga has breathed new life into the classic story. The soundtrack is anchored by rousing ballads and impressive vocals performance; tight pop songs and dance track litter the back end of the album as well. Gaga, a six-time Grammy winner with several #1 albums and singles, splashed onto the scene with sleek dance-pop and electronic tracks. She has headlined Coachella and played the Super Bowl Halftime Show, but this soundtrack may be her greatest achievement yet.
The first full song on the album is a gravelly rock track sung by four-time Oscar nominee, Bradley Cooper. The rock and folk vibes are woven throughout the soundtrack on songs like the country-influenced “Diggin’ My Grave,” and the show-stopping “Shallow.” Much like Gaga herself, the soundtrack shifts through seemingly irreconcilable genres seamlessly. There are standards (“La Vie En Rose”), jazz tunes (“Music to My Eyes”), and pop bangers (“Hair Body Face”).
As expected the album is dominated by the emotional weight and sheer amount of ballads, but the soundtrack is better off for it. Although some tracks are slightly overproduced (“Before I Cry,” and “I’ll Never Love Again,”), A Star Is Born expertly captures the spirit of modern music while still retaining an essence of timelessness. “I’ll Never Love Again,” the final song on the album, drew comparisons to Whitney Houston’s untouchable “I Will Always Love You,” but the writing is simply to lowbrow and the vocal performance to nasally to ever reach those heights. Regardless, as a whole, the album is absolutely beautiful.
Even after the stripped-back Joanne (read my review here), this does not sound like a Lady Gaga album. Like the best musical actresses, she injects her inflections and tone into the music but never lets it overpower the role she is playing. Last not but not least, Bradley Cooper could actually be a pretty damn good rock singer if his acting/directing/production career ever goes south.
Key Tracks: “Shallow,” “Is That Alright,” “Why Did You Do That?”
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