A Star is Born did not only launch Lady Gaga as a proper movie actress, it also gave the fans of Gaga the pop star a chunk of new material to enjoy. Other than her cover of ‘La Vie En Rose’, we get to enjoy 12 brand new compositions performed by Gaga, of which 4 are duets with her co-star and director of the movie, Bradley Cooper. Time to dive into all these new tracks!
As first single of the A Star Is Born Soundtrack, the duet ‘Shallow’ was released. The track which has some audience noises in the recording now also has a radio edit, which is a full and clean studio recording. The pop ballad with a little country twist is not miles away from Gaga’s sound on her most recent LP Joanne and her heartbreaking vocals on that humongous chorus are some of her best yet! Rumour has it that the team behind A Star Is Born is now opting for closing song ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ to push as a single and as their shot at an Oscar, but I do believe that ‘Shallow’ does stand a good chance of both becoming a hit and bringing in the awards too.
Now I can see why ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ would hit the right spot with the general public, but at the same time it does feel like the writers were trying to make this song into a big moment in the same vein as what ‘I Will Always Love You’ did for The Bodyguard. In that sense, the emotion in a track like ‘Shallow’ feels just a tad more natural. Having said that, Lady Gaga delivers a vocally stunning and moving delivery in ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ too. My personal favourite ballad on the soundtrack, however might be ‘Always Remember Us This Way’. Vocally it is slightly more toned down and the melodies both in the verses and in the chorus soar beautifully. Such a romantic little song!
Although the soundtrack in general has a country and Rock ‘n Roll undertone, it does explore a whole lot of different genres. ‘Look What I Found’ is based on strong piano rhythms that recall Amy Winehouse’s soulful sound, while ‘Diggin’ My Grave’ mixes rock with a swinging, funky guitar riff. Gaga’s raw vocals on this are to die for! On ‘Heal Me’, one of the absolute highlights here, she serves dreamy electro pop with light, high pitched vocals and fragility in the lyrics. Sonically it is somewhat similar to her 2017 single ‘The Cure’. We could do with an album full of this sound!
Now the proper uptempo tunes are the moments the soundtrack gets tricky. Within the storyline, they hint at Gaga’s character, Ally, selling out with more superficial lyrics, more autotune and electronic pop productions. Now ‘Why Did You Do That?’ actually suffers from a way too repetitive chorus that does not go anywhere, but ‘Hair Body Face’ is a straight up bop! The sound echoes the R&B of the early noughties with an explosive chorus and a dynamic vocal performance. Gaga (or Ally) does not need beats and bops to sound trendy though. Power ballads like ‘Is That Alright?’ and ‘Before I Cry’ sound right on the money in an industry where Adele and Sia are some of the biggest selling pop stars of the past few years.
Even without having seen the film, the soundtrack to A Star Is Born is thoroughly enjoyable with thrilling new material, of which at least a handful have the potential to become classics. The stars seem to be aligning for Lady Gaga and the material of this soundtrack has the potential to give her a few radio/streaming hits, next to the raving reviews and box office success!
Check back to A Bit of Pop Music soon for a full A Star is Born movie review!