Perfect Illusion (Lady Gaga)

I have been a fan of Lady Gaga since the release of Just Dance so many years ago. She was different and her music was tight, to borrow the contemporary parlance, I’d say her music was lit. She followed her debut album with Fame Monster and I was sure that I was going to like her as she evolved over time.

Then Born This Way came out and ArtPop were released and I didn’t quite like the direction she was going with her music. Yeah, I still danced and sang along to Born This Way and Applause (I really like Applause) but the rest of the songs on both albums didn’t have that genius or brilliance that I found on her first two albums. Concept and artistry overshadowed her music, I feel, and I wasn’t all there with her but I still stood by that she’s still a great singer and songwriter. She was just going somewhere I didn’t want to go.

Then she toned everything down, did a jazz album with Tony Bennet and did some really awesome performances in-between. I felt that she was shedding off the initial hyperbole of the artistry. The concept artist is done and the artist-musician is emerging. That’s what I think, anyway.

I really feel that strongly as she released Perfect Illusion.

I love it. It’s a rocking track and I can still dance and sing along to it. It’s feel with energy and drama and dramatics but never goes over the top. It’s feels like all the eccentricities had been stripped off and what remains is the pure pop rock magic.

So if she strips away all the excessiveness of her first appearance in the pop scene — the lavish costumes, the big videos, the crazy antics — and what you are left with is a beautiful artist who can write and sing a damned good, catchy pop song. Not many artists can survive such a shedding down.

A lot of pieces have been written about this new single. Maybe not a lot but I read some that talks about how it is “the end of Lady Gaga’s imperial phase.” And maybe it is. But this is the more interesting part in an artist’s career, when they are no longer beholden to the sales, to the building of the brand, to succumb to the perils and pitfalls of what makes pop music success. Now, she can just make music outside of the demands of pop music’s insistence on sales and relevance.

Read: Imperial (link / Pitchfork)

Or another article that I much prefer, read:

Why the return of Lady Gaga matters (link / i-D)

This is the part I’m most excited about for Lady Gaga because she has the voice, the musicianship, and the artistry to make really, really great music and that’s what I am anxiously waiting for. I felt that Born This Way and ArtPop might have been an exercise in that.

She no longer carries that baggage. She has the hit albums and singles and the awards to fall back should she need to (not that she, or anyone else, ever does to make good music). Now, she can take her classical training, her finger on the pulse of pop, and her incredible voice and point-of-view and bring her music wherever she wants.

And I’ll be eagerly awaiting every release.

2 thoughts on “Perfect Illusion (Lady Gaga)

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