In 2008, a pop phenomenon broke industry record after industry record on her way to the peak of pop culture. With the rise of Lady Gaga, the singer, a star was born. Now, ten years later, Lady Gaga is being reborn – this time, as an actress. After a rocky number of years and interesting career choices, the once pop enigma, has stripped herself of all façade and spectacle, and after receiving raves and Oscar buzz out of the festival circuit for her silver screen, Lady Gaga finds herself in the same situation as she did ten years ago – on a rocket straight to the top of yet another industry. However, she hasn’t left music behind her, instead using it to propel herself once again. The first cut from the upcoming A Star Is Born soundtrack, shows exactly why Gaga became the icon she is today.
While Gaga shines, ‘Shallow’ isn’t exactly the slam dunk that was expected from the snippet used in the film’s trailer, but instead, it is a weird concoction of odd production choices and seemingly unfinished lyrics. The track opens slowly, with the dull roar of an audience, which pops up in odd parts of the song, which results in a jarring contrast between what is obviously supposed to seem like a live performance and the parts that are very obviously the studio recording of the track. Lyrically, the song is nothing special, it’s the same old doomed love song that has been heard a million times over. However, the tracks lyrical construction is also quite grating, never feeling smooth and structured, instead failing to find any structure whatsoever. The first two verses are sung back to back before immediately going into the first chorus, without as much as a whisper of a pre-chorus to be heard.
However, the cut somehow manages to work because of one reason – Ms Lady Gaga. While Bradley Cooper’s country croon is hauntingly beautiful, ‘Shallow’ is a showcase of Gaga’s masterful vocal, which soars and crushes and all the right moments, sounding both strong and vulnerable at the same time. Here, Gaga’s two worlds collide. Her vocals are as much of a musical achievement as an acting performance as each note, each lyric oozes the emotions of her character, and while ‘Shallow’ isn’t quite the crowning jewel in Gaga’s rebirth – or her writing credits, for that matter – she can be damn proud her talent, as both a singer and an actress, is unquestionable.