A new classic
MOVE reviews Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s “Cheek to Cheek.”
There are many adjectives to describe Lady Gaga, but “classic” is not exactly the first that comes to mind. Then again, Gaga is anything but predictable. She has, once again, showed another side of her colorful character in her new collaboration with jazz singer Tony Bennett, “Cheek to Cheek.”
The album is filled with classic jazz songs picked from the Great American Songbook. The soulful music and powerful vocals surpass generational barriers, but while some lyrics are timeless, others prove how much has changed since the origin of the songs.
The song the album is titled after, “Cheek to Cheek,” has a fun, upbeat tempo, but fails to relate to a younger generation. From personal experience and observation, it is rare that a young man and woman are going to go out together and dance “cheek to cheek.” Sadly, a more fitting title would be something along the lines of “Trunk to Junk.”
The sultry sound of “Nature Boy” is unlike anything you would hear on the radio today. With a fantastic flute accompaniment, it is an extremely unique song but the message, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” is timeless.
Gaga’s solo, “Lush Life,” and Bennett’s solo “Sophisticated Lady,” each showcase their vocal skills. While “Lush Life” has a relatable message about what it feels like to be lonely, it ends on a sad note (no pun intended) about rotting with the rest of the lonely people. Surprisingly, “Sophisticated Lady” hits the nail on the head with its lyrics about women dealing with heartbreak by “smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow” and crying when no one is around. Clearly not everything has changed from the 1930s.
The album’s most notable song is definitely “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” As a true classic, and well-known piece of music, there is not much need for improvement. Gaga and Bennett manage to put their own twist on it with a slight adjustment to the lyrics: “Doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, Tony, Gaga!”
It is hard to say what the reaction to this collaboration will be and what kind of audience it will draw. With that being said, the album is undeniably filled with high caliber music, and although it is different, it is refreshing.
MOVE gives “Cheek to Cheek” 3.5 out of 5 stars.