Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
Perfect Illusion (Review)
Five years ago I remember speeding down the side streets of North Central Expressway encountering a “pop music emergency.” Lady Gaga’s first single off “Artpop”, “Applause”, was leaking and social media was in an absolute shit storm.
Fast forward to Thursday night and hear I am, a couple of drinks in, and I’m dancing around in my apartment listening to “Perfect Illusion”, capping off the beginning of the LG5 era.
Within this five years, though, the range of Gaga’s popularity has expanded by releasing a collaborative album with Tony Bennett, making a jump to the small screen in Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story”, winning a Golden Globe for her work on that same show, being nominated for an Oscar with Diane Warren for “Til It Happens To You”, and finally, performing on some of the world’s biggest stages, from the National Anthem at the Super Bowl to a David Bowie tribute at the Grammys.
Silence is hardly something to describe Gaga, and her fans and critics are speaking about that this morning with “Perfect Illusion”.
Unlike any previously released Gaga song, “Perfect Illusion” strips any sign of distortion on the voice and relies solely on raw talent and next-level production, something Monsters have been yearning for and been teased over for months.
One of the producers of this song and executive producer of this album, Mark Ronson, told Charlie Rose in an interview back in May, “She’s never played guitar in public before…but guitar is something she’s learning for this record. That side of her, I don’t think a lot of the world has seen. It’s really great to make this very honest, authentic, kind of analog record with her.”
Immediately drawn to this “new” sound – except everyone who has seen Gaga live knows she can blow the roof off the house – the lyrics draw you in like hypnotism. “It wasn’t love/ It wasn’t love/ It was a perfect illusion,” Gaga sings repeatedly in chorus, outlining the framework of the idealness of something, just to find out it’s the illusion that’s jading us.
In an interview at a UMG Meeting in Germany, Gaga described the meaning by saying, “It is about all the fake things that appear to be genuine. And how to handle it.”
The inspiration can only be enhanced by the people she was collaborating with. Including Ronson, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala and BloodPop contributed their work to the song and the rest of the album.
From the first ten seconds of guitars playing before Gaga’s vocals to the massive key change (probably my favorite part of the song), the meticulous details are apparent as ever.
“Perfect Illusion” is unlike anything Gaga has done before, with the exception of hints from “Born This Way”, and unlike anything on the radio today. With that being said, this is what she’s wanted and done from the beginning: great musicians working on revolutionary projects. It’s only now that people even consider taking it with a grain of salt. Glad it’s finally realized five projects in, folks.
Listen to “Perfect Illusion” below!