Lady Gaga’s latest album, “Joanne,” is a departure from her usual sound.
After nearly a decade of witnessing her iconic fashion choices, it could be easy for a casual fan to glance at Lady Gaga’s career and mistake her style for substance. Gaga has been dressed as an egg, in a dress made of meat and even in an outfit of Kermit the Frog puppets sewn together — and those are three of the tamer costumes.
With a parade of hits and leadership on social issues like LGBTQ activism, she’s proved herself to be far more than a collection of exotic looks, but Gaga — who brings her “Joanne” world tour to the Tacoma Dome at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 — is at a crossroads as an artist.
Back in 2008 when “The Fame” came out and the hit single “Poker Face” propelled Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to international superstardom, it was easy to predict continued success. What wasn’t as easy to predict was the continual evolution Gaga has driven herself to undergo, which helped lead to a duet album of standards recorded with her hero Tony Bennett and last year’s “Joanne,” easily her most interesting and vulnerable record.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St.; $45-$250 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).
On “Joanne,” she traded in her signature disco glam sound for something more grounded, or at least as grounded as an artist named Lady Gaga can manage. The result is an album featuring the requisite fun moments like country rocker “A-YO” and the carefree bounce of “John Wayne,” but also filled with quiet bits of introspection that just a few years ago seemed best left to other artists.
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The eponymous third track is a sweet, acoustic guitar-driven ode to Gaga’s aunt that stands in stark contrast to “G.U.Y.,” the third track off 2013’s “Artpop,” on which Gaga implores her listeners to “love me, love me, please retweet.” Sure, Gaga is trying on a bunch of musical styles, but the stripped-down sound of her latest record makes it feel like her most personal work to date.
Her studio releases, including “Joanne,” have not sold as well as her first couple of albums (some sales were likely lost to the rise of streaming services), but on the heels of her Super Bowl halftime performance, it feels…