Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s duet album, Love For Sale, is an essential “purchase” this week.
Featuring Bennett’s signature charm and Lady Gaga’s masterful singing, Love For Sale makes for a highly enjoyable, fresh update of everybody’s favorite crooner hits. The album marks the second album collaboration for Gaga and Bennett. In 2014, the pair came together for Cheek to Cheek — a union of two musical greats from near-opposing genres. It may have seemed like “it was just one those things / just one of those crazy flings” — but back together again, Bennett and Gaga are the duo we all needed but never knew we wanted.
Love For Sale is a tribute to legendary composer and songwriter, Cole Porter, whose song are often considered the standard for American music. Porter rose to fame in the ’20s and ’30s, working alongside Crooners like Fred Astaire. Over the course of his career, Porter wrote almost 800 original songs, including the production of several Broadway musicals. Classics like “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love),” “Night And Day” and “Anything Goes” cemented Porter’s place in musical history.
Gaga and Bennett are not the first to put a spin on Porter’s classics, nor will they be the last — Love For Sale is an undeniable joy to listen to. Gaga’s impressive vocals add a welcome touch of freshness to the album. Her most recent release, Dawn of Chromatica (2021), is a remix of the 2020 album, Chromatica — both are albums made for sweaty dancing like no one’s watching. Love For Sale is a stark shift, but a welcome one. Gaga has always been one to push boundaries, and her ability to jump from dancefloor pop to ’20s crooning is a testament to her talent.
Love For Sale is a feast of indulgence for Gaga fans — the Big Band instrumentation allows for Lady Gaga to show off her stunning vocals and natural affinity for old-time flair. “Do I Love You” features Gaga’s take on a slow, romantic classic; “Let’s Do It” also gives Gaga all the elbow room she needs to make the timeless hit her own. A slow, gentle start quickly transitions to an upbeat, playful performance — one can hear the smile in her voice as she sings. At the risk of offending any Big Band and Crooner “purists,” Lady Gaga offers a show reminiscent of greats, like Ella Fitzgerald. Love For Sale would make a worthy addition to any jazz playlist in need of a little freshening up.
Bennett appears at the top of his game, as always. “So In Love” and “Just One Of Those Things” feature a solo performance — yet, even at 95, Bennett sounds as young as ever. Older musicians sometimes stumble a step behind their songs, vocals no longer able to keep up with the band or offer the powerful dynamic range of their youth. Bennett, however, seamlessly manages to stay on top of things, even offering a welcome bite to “Just One Of Those Things.” His singing, upbeat and strong, offers a performance of high caliber. Paired with Lady Gaga’s own powerful performance (and at the height of her career), the chemistry is electric, not strained.
Last February, Tony Bennett’s family announced that the beloved singer has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for almost five years. In the eyes of many, Love For Sale may be Bennett’s last album. Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, is characterized by memory loss that can include difficulty with comprehension, speech, recognition and more. In the original interview with AARP where Bennett and his wife discussed his condition, the larger-than-life star, for perhaps the first time in his long life, seemed to burn a little less brightly. Yet, at 95, Bennett shows none of his age in Love For Sale. Lady Gaga and Bennett’s latest album feels all the more heartfelt and important — one final round with a legend. But no matter what tomorrow may bring, Tony, we’ll always be “dream dancing with you.”
Daily Arts Writer Madeleine Gannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.