His songs were driven by brilliant dance club rhythms, even as his lyrics insisted on darker impulses of attachment and obsession: "They chase you until you love me," he promised in "Paparazzi." At the same time, she was eager to show that she was a skilled pianist and singer who had paid her dues at piano bars and was still a live artist of flesh and blood, regardless of any cheating. Like Madonna before her, she made a theatrical pop show and parts of self-expression totally tilted from the same package. But a battle between the ephemeral perception of pop and the supposed durability of something more authentic has been fought in his music.
He followed his debut on the 2008 album, "The Fame," and his extended version, "The Fame Monster," with "Born This Way," an album that mixed electro-pop themes with the 80s anthems in the style of the arena, flaunting an emissary of "real" rock music: the saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen. The voluntary "Artpop" turned to a playful artifice, with artistic ambitions and diminishing returns. So Lady Gaga turned the pendulum to the other side, returning to place in an established land, as a trouper of song and dance that combines the conventions of Broadway and film and music with the demands of pop today. She sang a mix of "The Sound of Music" at the Academy Awards; She made an album with Tony Bennett. "Joanne", from 2016, made an insistent display of authenticity: a painful history of her family's past, acoustic guitars and a wide-brimmed hat.
In "A Star Is Born," she presents herself as accessible and larger than life. The film tells a tragic love story, so, of course, the album is full of love songs. Judy Garland's version of "A Star Is Born" from 1954 centered her songs on the love and ambition of the show; The 1976 vehicle of Barbra Streisand placed love with the self-affirmation of a woman. The new resolutely extols sincerity and truth. Jackson Maine arrives on stage in the opening sequence of the film to swallow some alcohol and pills and then sing: "It's time to testify / There's no place for lies".
He[[Read our review of "A star has been born."]
For his character, the traps of authenticity are simple. It is an archetype of long-lasting rock: a highway warrior with a hoarse voice, a guitar, hard and rooted. Your record collection is on vinyl; The camera remains on your vintage stereo system. In the 1970s, his music would have been categorized as southern rock or banned country; In the decade of 2010, it lands on the fastest side of the mainstream of the country-arena. His composition partner and orchestra conductor on stage is Lukas Nelson, Willie's son.
Like Ally, Lady Gaga gets all the best songs in the movie; Cooper's versions vary from helpful to embarrassing ("Music to My Eyes" is still as laborious as his title). But it also has a much more complicated relationship with supposedly unvarnished self-expression.