Lady Gaga released a stripped down music video for her title track, “Joanne,” and it’s hauntingly beautiful. In essence, it’s everything I’ve been wanting to see from her.

“Joanne” is a particularly personal song for Gaga — it’s about her father’s sister who died at the age of 19. But the whole album is different for Gaga. While Little Monsters have come to expect drama, meat dresses, and dance tracks from the singer, the album Joanne is precisely the opposite. Although it was released back in October 2017, it’s taken a while for me to fully believe this emotionally-vulnerable version of Gaga was here to stay. But I was hopeful.

I first realized there was more to Gaga when I heard the song “Speechless” off of Fame Monster. It was honest and beautiful and finally showed off some of her vocal range. Ever since then, I’ve gotten tastes of that Gaga with songs like “You & I,” but it wasn’t until now that I got what I knew was in Gaga all along. And Joanne was just the start.

Since the release of Joanne, Gaga dropped her Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, which gave us a sneak peek into all of Lady Gaga’s insecurities, vulnerabilities, and struggles. She opened up about her loneliness following her split from ex-fiance Taylor Kinney and her immense pain from her fibromyalgia. The entire documentary was emotional and brutally honest, and most importantly it felt authentic.

Now, I love “Telephone” and “Bad Romance” as much as the next girl — they’re ridiculously catchy, And there’s no forgetting “Born This Way,” which inspired millions of people around the world and told them it’s ok to be themselves. There’s no denying that song is special.

But there’s something so touching when an artist lets you into their personal world. So when Gaga dropped the music video for the piano version of “Joanne”, it felt like a culmination of everything she’d been working on in the past year and a half.

I’m so proud of Gaga for taking such a risk. She could have stuck with her first persona of the meat dress-wearing, dance-pop diva. So to take on such a radical transformation, even if it meant losing fans, was incredibly bold. And I’m so glad she did it.

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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.

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