On the artwork for ‘Perfect Illusion’, the first single from Lady Gaga‘s upcoming new album, the singer is a vision of strength. Mid-air in denim shorts, sturdy boots and black top, she clutches the mic in her left hand, right hand punching the sky and hair whipping wildly.
The song, too, reflects that stance. Some have speculated that her break from fiancé Taylor Kinney earlier this year might leave her fifth album open to vulnerable, fragile songs. ‘Perfect Illusion’ blasts that notion away in an instant. “It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love/It was a perfect illusion,” she sings on its instantly catchy chorus, sounding at once powerful and totally fine with the situation that’s unfurled.
Mark Ronson, Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker and BloodPop (fka Blood Diamond, he who produced Justin Bieber‘s ‘Sorry’) were in the studio with Gaga for this cut. You can hear subtle elements of Tame’s sound creeping in via hazy synth swathes that could have been transplanted from ‘Currents’, but for the most part the track is all about Gaga.
It’s no ‘Bad Romance’ (what is?), but its booming disco influence and sheer force make it a formidable return from one of pop’s most exciting stars.