Gaga ditches the gimmicks on ‘Cheek to Cheek’

By Managing Editor

On Sept. 23, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett released Cheek to Cheek, an 11-track jazz standards album that offers a glimpse at Gaga minus the gimmicks. 

Gaga and Bennett’s relationship extends back to 2011, when Bennett asked Gaga to sing a duet with him on a rendition of “The Lady is a Tramp,” for his album Duets II. He had heard the pop star perform Nat King Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky” and was impressed, according to an Aug. 19 Rolling Stone report. 

At a glance, it may seem that the pair has little to nothing in common, but the two New York City Italians share a love for jazz that many fans may not have expected from Gaga. 

But before she was Lady Gaga, Stefani Germanotta could be found sitting at the piano experimenting with various genres and vocal stylings throughout New York City’s more modest venues. 

Despite a 60-year age difference, the two vocalists share an amazing ability to croon the sultry duets that are just as alluring as the original songs they are covering, which include Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” and Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’ “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” 

Cheek to Cheek comes nearly a year after Gaga faced disappointing album sales with her latest—and most personal—solo album, ARTPOP

Although Gaga admitted to feeling extremely discouraged by her latest album’s flop on Twitter, working with Bennett may be just what the star need to rejuvenate her passion for the industry. 

However, with the album’s release and widespread appreciation—most reviews have given it roughly a B-average or three-star rating—the question at hand is not about the unexpected friendship that has formed between Bennett and Gaga, but the value of hearing Gaga’s voice unaffected and without the distortions of auto-tune.

Her voice sounds stunning and natural throughout Cheek to Cheek, and for the first time in her career, even the biggest haters now seem to recognize and admire her raw vocal talent. 

Though Gaga has made spectacle after spectacle of herself and her music—it seems no one will ever let go of the meat dress—she might be better off sticking to more stripped-down and classic performances like those she has done recently with Bennett.

Gaga has had her fun with extreme outfits and probably went a good two years without ever straying from her leotards and pants-lessness, but it may be time she embraced her natural musical talent rather than flaunting her technical production skills as she did with ARTPOP

Bennett and Gaga make the album a fun, “cheeky” listen while showcasing some serious talent that is not to be undermined or overlooked.