Review: Why “The Cure” Is Exactly What Lady Gaga Needed

Gaga ditches the pink hat and finds the simplicity "Joanne" searched for back in pop.

Lady Gaga played the first of two headline shows at this year’s Coachella festival on Saturday (Apr 15), after being announced as Beyoncé’s replacement in February, where she debuted a new song in the middle of back-to-back hits.

“The Cure” - now streaming and on iTunes - was performed between 2009 cut “Teeth” (!!) and the epic pop anthem “The Edge Of Glory”, which is an odd placement when you hear it’s a sugary dose of rather straightforward synth-pop.

Let me clarify that when I say it’s straightforward I mean purely by Gaga’s standards and the unique kinds of pop magic she’s cooked up during her career. Judged according to her own talent, it can be easy for listeners to dismiss anything less than “G.U.Y” as not good enough and the pressure to deliver excellence without repetition has shown with drastic genre shifts, pretentious 'reinventions' and incohesive album campaigns.

After “Joanne” tried to rid Gaga of her pop sensibilities in an odd attempt to make her a ‘not-like-the-other-girls’ singer and downplay the power of female in pop, “The Cure” follows her Super Bowl halftime show by going back to the beginning and celebrating the feel-good roots of pop.

She reunites with DJ White Shadow and Nick Monson - who co-helmed the bulk of “Born This Way” and “ARTPOP” - for the song, a lush love letter that promises a lover she’s the answer to any problem.

Some early reviews (ahem, tweets) have thrown around “tropical house” yet there’s nothing tropical or house about this song. It certainly fits in with current radio, however it is the purest of pop - almost reminiscent of Gaga’s songwriting days, sounding at times like a demo recorded alongside “Quicksand” or “Second Time Around”.

In 2017, so much of simple pop is basic pop because there is no spark or talent in it, and the severe lack of choruses doesn’t help matters. In Gaga's hands, instead of gaps and empty drops, "The Cure" ticks so many best-pop-moment boxes: Sing-a-long chorus? Check. Falsetto? Check? A gorgeous middle eight that reigns the song right into its core before that one final burst? Check to Check.

The best part is easily the absolutely gorgeous pre-chorus, which has Gaga checking into her breathy falsetto à la “Sexxx Dreams” for a sultry moment backed by some subtle ‘80s-sounding guitar licks.

“So baby tell me yes / And I will give you everything / So baby tell me yes / And I will be all yours tonight.” Ugh!

via GIPHY

By embracing what she previously tried to distance herself from, it seems that Lady Gaga has rediscovered her strengths and how to navigate them in simpler soundscapes. An artist who sometimes has too many ideas and suffers because of it, “The Cure” might have just opened a new chapter in her career where she can finally freely create without other concerns.

And all without an acoustic guitar, huh? Someone show Mark Ronson who's #1 on iTunes.

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