NEXT ACT FOR THE SISTERS樂壇天后新動向

Lady Gaga and Rihanna take bold risks on their latest albums. By Tim Pritchard Lady Gaga和Rihanna的新專輯冒險嘗新。撰文: Tim Pritchard

SilkRoad - - ENTERTAINMENT 娛樂 -

BEYONCÉ HAS become one of the most influential stars in American music, setting a new gold standard for other musicians in her generation with a singular musical vision and ambitious collaborations.

So the message to other female superstars is straightforward: follow that.

Lady Gaga has always had a knack for knowing what’s in vogue. She penned tracks for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls before unleashing her 2007 debut, The Fame. This album set the tone for the next 10 years of pop, in which she became the queen of far-out.

So it may comes as a surprise that her fifth album, Joanne (pictured above), doesn’t go far enough.

Her vocal prowess is still undeniable, as demonstrated on the fun, energetic A-Yo. Country-inflected Sinner’s Prayer shows she knows how to make a genre all her own. Meanwhile, title track Joanne and the piano-backed Million Reasons are solid, if safe, ballads. But despite a high tempo and dramatic sweeps, Diamond Heart already sounds out of date – almost like those songs she used to ghostwrite.

Another artist who’s risked a change is Rihanna, who strips away the bassy, sexedup club tunes for an introspective detour on her eighth album, Anti (pictured right).

‘I got to do things my own way, darling,’ she sings over a skittery beat on opener Consideration, setting the tone for an album that skips around genres like neurons racing around the brain. She kicks back over an R&B tune on James Joint, flirts in her unmistakable Bajan patois with Canadian rapper Drake on minimalist banger Work and even delivers a seductive cover of Aussie rock band Tame Impala’s Same Ol’ Mistakes.

But it’s the closing run of stripped down tracks – including the doo-wop Love on the Brain and the soulful, soaring Higher – that tap into the vulnerability beneath her brazen exterior.

Though Joanne and Anti landed to mixed reviews, credit is due to both Gaga and Rihanna for taking risks – even when they don’t pay off.

美國流行音樂界巨星 Beyoncé 擁有獨特的音樂焯見,而且勇於與別人合作製作新音樂,為她的同輩音樂人樹立了黃金新標準。

對其他天后級歌手來說,道理顯而易見,就是跟隨這黃金標準方為上策。

Lady Gaga的潮流觸覺向來無比敏銳。出道之前,她已為 Britney Spears 和 The Pussycat Dolls 作曲,2007年推出首張專輯《The Fame》,此後10年一直在流行樂壇獨領風騷。

因此這位樂壇奇葩的第五張專輯《Joanne》(上圖)後勁不繼可謂令人大跌眼鏡。

她的唱功毋庸置疑,不論是活潑的〈AYo〉或帶有鄉謠曲風的〈Sinner’s Prayer》都能展現她自成一格的風格。點題作〈Joanne〉和輕柔的鋼琴伴奏曲〈Million Reasons〉是穩紮穩打的抒情歌。不過節拍強勁、跌宕澎湃的〈Diamond Heart〉卻嫌過時,幾乎跟她過往為其他歌手操刀的歌曲無異。

另一位放膽革新的歌手是 Rihanna。她摒棄重低音、激昂澎湃的跳舞音樂,在第八張專輯《Anti》(右圖)中踏上自省旅程。

她在專輯首支歌曲〈Consideration〉中,以輕快節奏唱出「I got to do things my own way, darling」(我以自己的方式做事),為整張專輯奠定風格,游走各種曲風之間,揮灑自如,而〈James Joint〉則重投誘人的R&B風格。在節奏簡單明快的〈Work〉一曲裡,她以巴巴多斯方言與加拿大饒舌歌手Drake調情,並且翻唱澳洲搖滾歌手Tame Impala 的迷情之作〈Same Ol’Mistakes〉。

然而,專輯最後幾首歌返璞歸真,括展現和聲的靈魂樂〈Love on the Brain〉和激昂的騷靈歌曲〈Higher〉,讓人感受她大膽無畏的外表下隱藏的脆弱情感。

儘管樂評人對《Joanne》和《Anti》的評論好壞參半,但無論如何, Lady Gaga和 Rihanna 的冒險精神仍值得欣賞。

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