September 26, 2014

"Cheek to Cheek" already being discounted

Lady Gaga's newest album Cheek to Cheek has only been out 4 days, and already she's offering it at a discounted price.

Maybe the news that Kenny Chesney is currently being seen as the best contender for the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 is what inspired her to tweet out this "limited" deal.  Current estimates show Chesney's album The Big Revival at 125-135,000 copies sold, and Cheek to Cheek at 115-125,000.

Will she manage to push over 10,000 more copies before the week is done? Will Gaga take the number one spot?

September 23, 2014

Happy first day of fall!

The big news of the day: Cheek to Cheek is out now worldwide. Is it going to make it to number one, or will it fall flat on its ass?

Billboard, one of Gaga's biggest sources of hype, has given the album a decent review but only 3/5 stars. They love Bennett's performance, but of course, the whole article is about Gaga. Although they hype her quite a bit, they do throw a few digs at her too. Right at the beginning they state that the Great American Songbook "just might save her career", which is interesting because, like Gaga, they usually spend quite a lot of time and effort trying to deny that her career is struggling.

Billboard also admits that "Gaga definitely needed Bennett more than he needed her", but suggest that both will benefit from the pairing because, get this, they had fun recording together. Seriously. There was no other mention of how this duet benefits Tony Bennett at all aside from "they had a blast". Odd, right? Not really - the whole world knew she needed him, not the other way around, but it's interesting to see that even Billboard is admitting it.

As for the actual music, they go on to say, nicely, that she completely overdoes it on most of the album. Their words exactly are "Gaga thrives on spectacle", though if you actually read through the review you'll also see things like Gaga "verges on overpowering", has a "mighty vocal surge", she's "singing right over poor Tony"... they even call her "histrionic" at one point.

Read the review HERE.

From what I have heard so far, there's an awful lot of yelling going on in this album. I don't think Billboard is too far off the mark when they give the album 3/5 stars, but I feel like the only reason it even ranked that high was due to Bennett's voice, the music, and the fact that all of the songs included on the album are jazz standards and not anything Gaga wrote herself.

What are your thoughts on the album?

It seems Billboard lowered their review from 3.5 stars to 3 stars on the day of release. Wonder what that means?

September 21, 2014

How a fading pop star promotes an album

Lady Gaga shows the world just how desperate she is for a number one album.

She's the poster girl of pop! The quirky singer clearly wants a hit record with the iconic crooner
Stop pretending to be "indie", Gaga. No one's falling for it.
Millions of dollars and months of promotion (a string of public appearances, the new tattoo reveal, the "surprise" duet performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, a retail commercial for H&M, New York Fashion Week performance, an HSN special broadcast, a live concert special which will air on PBS on October 24, three songs used by ESPN for the advertisement of the 2014 Tennis US Open, the "surprise" duet during the artRAVE at Tel Aviv, two official singles ("Anything Goes" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love") and one streaming single ("Nature Boy"), numerous interviews both separately and together -- did I forget anything?), just don't seem to be enough for Gaga as she tapes a homemade Cheek to Cheek poster to a shop window before leaving Athens this weekend.

Does this look like desperation to anyone else?

As of today, Cheek to Cheek has been officially released in two markets (Germany and Australia) and it appears to be struggling.

It's only been a couple of days, but should Lady Gaga and her people be worried by the performance of the album so far? Could these two markets be representative of how Cheek to Cheek will do around the world? Do you think it's too early for them to be planning a follow-up album?

What are your predictions for the album?

(Cheek to Cheek will be out worldwide on September 23rd.)

September 17, 2014

The first Cheek to Cheek album review

The first review of Cheek to Cheek is out from Slant Magazine: and it's a very sad TWO STAR rating. There seems to be some disagreement as to whether it should be classified as Jazz or Pop (iTunes changed it from Pop to Jazz and Amazon still has it classified as Pop), but either way - it doesn't look like it's going to impress fans of either genre.

HERE is Slant Magazine's review of the album, and what less-than-perfect review of Lady Gaga would be complete without little monsters whining in the comment section? You should read the review for yourselves, but the short of it is: she hated it.

My favorite quotes from the review:
"Despite her claims that she grew up listening to the jazz greats, Gaga comes off more as a dilettante than an aficionado..."
"...Gaga sounds like what she thinks a jazz singer should sound like; her performances are blatantly affected, marred by shouting and clich├ęd phrasing."
"The pair's solo efforts, particularly Gaga's clumsy interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" and Bennett's surprisingly pitchy rendition of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," only serve to spotlight their shortcomings."

"...Gaga's voice is shockingly rough-hewn, especially on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "I Won't Dance.""

"... her persistent vocal fry is insufferable."

"If not for the session musicians' top-notch work ... Cheek to Cheek, which drags at an economical 45 minutes, would sound like glorified karaoke."

The tracks on the album (bolded songs have been released) are:
1. Anything Goes
2. Cheek To Cheek
3. Don't Wait Too Long
4. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
5. Nature Boy
6. Goody Goody
7. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
8. Firefly
9. I Won't Dance
10. They All Laughed
11. Lush Life
12. Sophisticated Lady
13. Let's Face The Music And Dance
14. But Beautiful
15. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Where's "Paradise" you may ask? The original song that Lady Gaga wrote that was supposed to be included on the album? Probably in the same place ARTPOP II is - the recycling bin on someone's laptop somewhere. Just another broken promise to her fans.

September 14, 2014

Lady Gaga's concert numbers inflated

Lady Gaga just wrapped up her two dates in Western Asia and is prepared to head through Europe on the final leg of the artRAVE tour. So, how did she do in Dubai and Tel Aviv?

Before the shows, we saw that ticket sales were pretty dismal... but there were many "sources" suggesting she would still sell out after all. And did she? That depends who you ask.

I actually wasn't able to find any reviews of Gaga's Dubai show that included any numbers, but I can say that the number of tickets sold appear to be 20,000+/25,000 (80%), so no, she did not sell out there.

Strangely, the only numbers I could find from Dubai were reports that the crowd in Dubai will be among the projected 900,000 fans (here, and here) that will have seen the artRAVE by the time it's over. Do the Dubai reviewers not know how many people showed up, or is it that 900,000 looks much better than 20,000?


And Tel Aviv is a different story altogether.

According to one source, in Tel Aviv it was "decidedly not packed with fans". It was a "much cooler fan response than [her] previous appearance", and ticket sales were "not nearly as great as had been hoped for". The official numbers look to be a measly 45%, showing ticket sales at 20,000+/45,000.

Sad news for Gaga. But wait! Here comes Billboard to the rescue!

They reported that she brought out "some 30,000 cheering monsters" to her show in Tel Aviv, even though every other source I could find reports 20,000 (though of course they ALL leave out the fact that there was room for 45,000).

Looks like her artRAVE tour numbers are just like her stage: INFLATED.