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Shallow x Lady Gaga: a look at the work of A Star Is Born

When I watched the A Star Is Born trailer and I heard Shallow for the first time, I was fascinated by the music of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The chorus is ecstatic and the song easily ends up becoming one of your favorites. What caught my attention most about Shallow were the voices and how the musical genre supports the film's concept.

Inspiration for something new

Before we go into the analysis, I want to say that I really liked the feeling of the lyrics and the sound of Shallow. That's it, I recorded a cover of the song! I invite you to watch it and experience this song with me:

Now yes! Stay with my analysis of Shallow, Lady Gaga's masterpiece for the film A Star Is Born:

The genre and the concept

Lady Gaga showed some of her influences on Country for the first time in You & I, the fourth single from his album Born This Way. However, he immersed himself in this musical style in Joanne, an album that was recorded simultaneously with the film's soundtrack and which inherited the Country as the main influence. Here, the highlight is Million Reasons, one of the album's biggest hits.

O Country has great emotional appeal and was the source of A Star Is Born. Shallow specifically talks about two people who cannot deal with their emptiness in two scenarios in today's world: pressure and frustrated dreams. But the song also finds space for love in its chorus, where these two people jump to experience something deeper in their relationship, something less “shallow” (superficial).

I dare say that using this musical genre was a masterstroke. O Country seems to bring organicity and warmth to the music. It's something that matches the film itself, deepens the experience and makes us engage even more with the characters. The reason for this? Probably because it features non-synthesized instruments – such as acoustic guitars and cymbals – and subtle distortions, such as guitars.

Shallow is presented in different versions during three moments in the film: in a parking lot, when Ally (Gaga's character) introduces her acapella to Jack (Bradley Cooper's character) for the first time; at a concert, when Jack and Ally sing the entire song together; and in a quick part near the end of the film, when Ally does a version rock song solo.

Check out the Shallow music video, featuring Ally and Jack, and some images from the film:

Raw and powerful voices

Bradley Cooper's voice in Shallow was a very good surprise for me, it has a gigantic emotional depth and was made even better by the sincerity of Lady Gaga's voice, who also did not disappoint as the protagonist of the story (she was nominated for an Oscar for paper, by the way).

The interpretation of both voices is clear, especially Gaga's, who in Shallow begins to perform with less confidence, with a shy voice, with her larynx low even on high notes – something very common when you are nervous at a performance and cannot control his breathing and muscles. Gaga even “loses time” when entering the chorus, which enhances the interpretation of her character – this in the film version, since in the music video the song is “corrected”.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper probably wanted to humanize the music and convey honesty with it – verisimilitude is one of the essences of cinema. I watched some interviews where they talked about recording the film's songs directly on the film set, alongside the scenes, instead of recording them beforehand in the studio and just dubbing on set – as is the case with the vast majority of musical films.

The discussion about the humanization of music is not new. I talked a little about this in this article, with an emphasis on international pop music.

The Oscar for Best Original Song to Lady Gaga

Unquestionably, Shallow is one of the singer-songwriter's masterpieces. Bad Romance. And all this work was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, awarding the singer and the other composers of the song with the Oscar for Best Original Song, in 2019.

The awards night also featured a moving performance of the theme song, where Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper won the hearts of everyone present at the Dolby Theater and those watching them around the world. A great performance in its simplicity, which marked the history of the award:

Bonus: the version rock by Shallow

As I said previously, Ally plays a version in the film rock Shallow soil. Unfortunately, the excerpt is short and leaves that feeling of “I want more, where can I find this full version?“.

Gaga did not abandon us in this sense, performing the version rock of Shallow at the 2019 Grammys in a visceral way and, to top it off, taking home two Grammy Awards for the song. Check out the super performance:

Do you want to dive into the world of musical experiences and swim to the bottom of this ocean of news, concepts and breathtaking works? Take the opportunity to read the other articles on the blog!