It’s the last of song-by-song essays on Joanne, which means we’re also only a days away from an explosion of music and comics content in November!
I’m in unexplored territory here – the only time I heard this pair of bonus tunes was on Lady Gaga’s release night concert, so I don’t have a week of them seeping into my brain to speak from.
“Grigiot Girls” lies squarely in the pop/country sound, and could have helped anchor the acoustic urges of the LP.
It’s also… a little silly? I mean, pop/country songs tend to be a little silly in their over-earnestness, and this nails it, singing about “tough girls on the mend” who “toss that cork” and call each other up to pour their hearts out over a glass of wine.
(It helps that it comes from such an emotional place – at her launch concert, Gaga introduced it as a song for her friend who is living with cancer.)
On one hand, it’s by far Gaga’s most embarrassing song. On the other, she nailed the sound and sentiment of a country radio tune. You can just feel a stadium full of drunk fans singing along to the chorus of “All the pinot, pinot grigiot girls” while waving their hands in the air.
Part of that is a full-on commitment to the genre; the production here pushes a lot farther than Gaga dared on “Joanne” and “Million Reasons” with its process acoustic guitar sound on the verse and the generic drum loop and accents of piano on the chorus.
I think it was a good idea to leave this song as a bonus track. Delivering anything so squarely country on the LP would have opened up a whole new range of criticisms to be hurled at it. As it is, Gaga uses the genre more as an inspiration than a touchtone.
The real story here is “Just Another Day.”
Holy glamorous Bowie, how is this song not on the mother-loving album?
It’s wonderful! It hits the clanging piano spot of “Come To Mama,” is rife with sonic references to Elton Join like “Hey Girl,” an even adds in a serious McCartney-at-the-piano and Queen aesthetic to the proceedings (it’s a serious soundalike to “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy”).
It’s also one of the best sets of casual, not-trying-too-hard lyrics Gaga delivers on the disc – which is perfect, because it’s a song about being casual and not trying too hard.
Just another way to prove I love you, and it’s hard today
I’ll lay back in my chair and find a way
And when you say that thing that you say that makes me mad
I’ll turn away, I’ll turn away, I’ll turn away
And think of different ways to keep my spirits up
And choreograph hours with playful, joyous thoughts
We both know I could learn a thing or two
About relaxing. Hey, I love you
And after all, it’s just another day
Despite all of those classic sound-checks, the song doesn’t feel trapped in a bygone era the way “Come to Mama” does thanks to some clever flourishes of synthesizer that add to the keys and horns.
How did this song get left off the LP? Sometimes with bonus tracks it’s that the song was sonically too close to another tune or that it would have pulled the album in the wrong direction. I just don’t see that here – this is the perfect one-to-one replacement to “Come to Mama,” and it could have been added before or after “Angel Down” to give the back half of the disc some much-needed pep.