Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Love for Sale Review

Every year for music sees an awkward and oddly inspired pairing. This year would have been Elton John and Dua Lipa, but Elton John was up there last year with his Gorillaz collaboration, and two years on the trot of famously strange pairings is a sign of a creative disaster. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga teaming up for the final studio recordings of Bennett is a satisfying and peculiar conclusion to such a long career. Love for Sale is their joint effort. It inspires the quality that the two have as solo artists and tries to unify them with no care for the audible casualties along the way. That attitude can inspire genius or disaster with little wiggle room for middle ground. Love for Sale trips its way into that near-genius pairing, and the possibilities over these twelve tracks are endlessly engaging.

Jazz fusion opens the album, and it is a world away from the voice Gaga fans will go gaga for. It’s De-Lovely is a fine opener. Audiences are given a taste of what is to follow. Bennett and Gaga riff on one another fascinatingly well. Bennett keeps up with that youthful Gaga spirit by crooning his way through twelve light tracks. Each artist is given two tracks to shine, and the rest are excellent collaborations. Gaga and Bennett’s voices complement each other extraordinarily well. They do not vie for attention, nor do they exceed in upstaging the other. Ambition is their aim, and they do well to collaborate on that rocky structure alone. They are both given time to shine with tracks that feature solely their voice, but often find themselves collaborating with one another, often in a single, starring structure.

Bennett will sing, then Gaga, back to Bennett, off to Gaga. Sometimes the first place and second place are changed. It gives a good balance to the tracks, and with two solo items apiece, there is a decent range for them to cover. Their lyrical witticisms and pitch changes exude incredible confidence considering the ambitious choices made here. Gaga in particular, whose Bad Romance era closed and opened this new door to confident offerings in genres that feel unloved in recent years. Her take on the vocal jazz genre is a significant leap for the singer, whose work here focuses more on the talents of her voice rather than that of her writing. She and Bennett do not consider the lyrics too frequently, but it gives them a likeable, Frank Sinatra quality.

Perhaps those Sinatra tones are more obvious, especially when Bennett and Gaga are covering his work. It has that lighter touch, it brings a cheerful tone to tracks like I’ve Got You Under My Skin, something Sinatra did not hone. The sacrifice is the sanctity of the lyrics, but the spin Gaga and Bennett offer is an interesting change. Hard to hate because of just how delectable it is. Love for Sale is cheap indeed for such an enjoyable, upbeat time. Exceeding the lounge music tag by having some real swing to tracks like Night and Day or the titular track, Love for Sale. They are a blend of those great, swinging orchestras. Bennett and Gaga are the guiding lights of the jazz melodies that back them. They are the stars of this swinging jazz show, and thankfully so.

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