Saturday, October 26, 2013

Red and Blue (2005)

And no, I'm not talking about the original Pokemon games.

Back in 2005, a then-unknown aspiring 19-year-old musician from New York by the name of Stefani Germanotta, who'd had an enthusiastic interest in music since age four, formed a band with some of her friends, entitled "The Stefani Germanotta Band", or "SGBand" for short. They began playing music, mostly cover songs from bands such as Led Zeppelin, in random bars around NYC, usually to an audience of around 30 or so people. Eventually, Stefani recorded her first, and ultimately only EP with the band, entitled Red and Blue.

Looking back on it now, It's more than a little odd to think about how this is who would eventually become Lady Gaga herself. This CD was her only officially-released material prior to her ascension to superstardom. It was released independently, and therefore current mainstays such as Vincent Herbert and DJ White Shadow were not involved with production. On a side note, only her first name is shown on the CD cover. Was she considering a mononym before she chose her stage name?

The EP itself could be considered quite different from her studio albums. It has a very retro, almost 50s style to it. It contains only 5 songs, but is an interesting collection nonetheless. The power pop-rock sounds of "Something Crazy" and "Red and Blue" add energy and romance to the CD, while the melancholy, bittersweet tunes heard in "Words" and "Wish You Were Here" evoke more seriousness and emotion. "No Floods" shares the positive, can-do attitude of her later hit song "Marry The Night", and helps to show where she came from. Though it has prominent pop elements, most of the songs here are very rock-based unlike the electro-pop and EDM styles featured in her new stuff. Nowadays, this CD is nigh-impossible to find in its physical form, and would likely fetch a high price, though the songs are all over YouTube and other sites if you wish to give them a listen.

In conclusion, while some could say this EP is a stark contrast to her current work, I think it still has that very recognizable Gaga "touch" to it. The main difference here is that these songs aren't as overproduced and give her vocal and piano skill more of a chance to shine through. Fan or not, this is something I'd highly recommend to you, especially if you'd like to see a different side of the Lady.

Favorite track: Something Crazy
Least favorite track: No Floods
Overall rating: 9/10

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