Lady Gaga’s released the very anticipated “Perfect Illusion.” Said anticipation stems largely from the fact that it’s very much her return to contemporary pop following her few-year stint as a jazz-standard crooner/Sound of Music reviver and her time on the ever-accelerating Ryan Murphy camp-mobile. (Gladly this latter aspect of her career trajectory isn’t over). It’s now available across the usual streaming platforms and on YouTube — and speaking of Ryan Murphy, it’s also available in-part as the accompaniment to another just-released teaser trailer for the Gaga-starring upcoming season of AHS: Whatever the Hell This Season Will Be Called or About (this teaser is a collection of all of the others, most of which are deliberate decoys from whatever the season’s theme actually is):
The song itself — which features production from Gaga, Mark Ronson, Bloodpop and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, as well as guitar from Eagles of Death Metal’s Josh Homme — isn’t so much the reinvention some people might have been expecting following the seeming cocoon phase of Cheek to Cheek (her Tony Bennett duet album), but rather more of a return to a lot of the 70s/80s rock homage we heard on Born This Way (it bears noting that it’s at least reminiscent of a pre-Artpop Gaga). The lyrics — and Gaga’s voice — come at the anthemic chant from a much darker place than a lot of what we saw on Born This Way, and that’s refreshing.
It’s completely catchy, and will — following two or three listens — get stuck in your head, but the delivery, and particularly the overemphasized vowel pronunciation of the word “lo-o-ove” and “paaahfect illoosion” are so bold and robust that they by comparison make the ultimate effect of the song not quite live up to the drama of these repeated utterances.