Pandemic aside, Lady Gaga has proved to be unstoppable across the past 18 months. With the warm glow of the acclaim lavished on her acting turn in A Star Is Born still resting on her shoulders, 2020’s dazzling ‘Chromatica’ pointed to pop’s future, one forged from emphatic electronic production. A recent club-focussed remix album added another chapter to ‘Chromatica’, before Gaga revealed plans for yet another project.
‘Love For Sale’ is emblematic of her incredible creative breadth, the culmination of a decade-long friendship with Tony Bennett. It’s another facet to Gaga’s artistry; capable of forging new pathways for pop, she’s also in love with the Great American Songbook, peppering her catalogue with moments of outright classicism.
‘Love For Sale’ is rooted in the Cole Porter catalogue, and it features a series of gilded vocal performances from the storied duo. Opener ‘It’s De-Lovely’ is cute and infectious, while ‘Night And Day’ breathes new life into the oft-covered jazz staple.
‘Love For Sale’ hinges on the neat chemistry between the two, their nimble performances fuelling a later turn on ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’. Indeed, the album is at its strongest when the pair interact – it’s heartening after a year of Zoom recordings to hear two pristine vocalists push each other to a new level.
Ultimately, swing albums aren’t in short supply right now – since the turn of the Millennium, it’s almost become a pop stable all over again, a cocktail-fuelled lounge experience. ‘Love For Sale’ exceeds this, though, propelled by the vivacity of its performances, and the easy-going charm with which it is accomplished. Existing in a different realm to ‘Chromatica’, it’s testament to Lady Gaga’s astonishing breadth, and the timeless effervescence of Tony Bennett.
Words: Robin Murray
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