Lady Gaga Names New Album After Her Aunt, Joanne, and Announces Release Date

The name, it seems, bears a lot of weight for the singer and her family.

Lady Gaga spoke with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 earlier today and revealed the title and release date of her new album, whose first single, “Perfect Illusion,” was released last week. (Interestingly, some expected Gaga would be making the news today for other reasons — as yesterday was the premiere for the new season of AHS; but unfortunately her character has not yet appeared.)

It’s called Joanne. From its title alone, the upcoming album sounds like it’s going down quite a personal/reflective route: the name belonged to Gaga’s aunt who died as a teenager; it’s also Lady Gaga’s (Stephani Germanotta’s) first of two middle names; it’s likewise the name her parents gave to their restaurant — Joanne Trattoria.

In a similar vein, the album art, likewise, is far less costume-y than that of her other endeavors (especially since all she’s wearing looks to be a hat); the presence of Father John Misty — far more of an indie folk artist than a popstar (despite a previous collaboration with Lana Del Rey) — could further suggest a turn towards the more unplugged (though “Perfect Illusion” still came with some attempted electric flair) and/or introverted. Other collaborators include Florence Welch, Beck, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Eagles of Death Metal’s Josh Homme, Mark Ronson, and Hillary Lindsey.

Gaga called in from the studio, saying that the album is going to be complete in the next 48 hours — though it won’t be released until October 21, from Streamline/Interscope. She described the decision to call the album Joanne, which is also the name of a track which she calls the “true heart and soul of the record.” She said:

I remember when Mark and I wrote it. We wrote that song, and the decision to name the album ultimately, Joanne, was in tribute to my father’s sister who died when she was 19. He was younger than her, and she was very sick with Lupus. Her death in his family and his life left a scar and wound that never healed. As I returned to my home life and spending time with my friends and hanging out with my family and getting out of the mainstream limelight for a minute, what I realized is it’s the experiences of our families and our challenges and our toughness that make us who we are.

Listen to the interview:

Here’s the full album cover:

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[Via Pitchfork]