Lately it seems as though there is no better example of someone whose flame burned too brightly at the outset of her career for it to last than one, Lady Gaga. Reliant these days on the success of her “acting” on American Horror Story, Gaga has again dared to come out with a new album after the catastrophic last one that was ARTPOP.
Her upcoming fifth album, Joanne, will be released on October 21, 2016 and has spawned the “Papa Don’t Preach” imitating single (it’s “Born This Way” all over again/really just another day in the Gaga/Madonna rapport), “Perfect Illusion.” The song itself is, well, pretty grating, and finds Gaga attempting to navigate the waters of “hard” rock. She does not make it back to shore successfully.
With the lyrics an overt nod to her recently failed relationship/called off engagement, Gaga shouts, “It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love/It was a perfect illusion.” One might be able to semi-forgive the shrillness of the track if there was at least a worthwhile music video accompaniment–something with the same kind of elaborateness of the pastiche-drenched “Telephone” video.
But no, Gaga is apparently feeling lazier than she should about proving that she’s capable of topping her past endeavors, both sonically and visually. Thus, the video is merely Gaga jumping up and down in cutoff shorts onstage as a crowd of people pretending to enjoy the song looks on and dances. With a cameo by album collaborator Kevin Parker of Tame Impala (Gaga also miraculously managed to land Mark Ronson as a Joanne producer, best known for his work with Amy Winehouse, a powerhouse who propelled Gaga to dye her hair blonde at the outset of her career in response to aesthetic comparisons), Lady G cavorts around in the desert as though she’s still back on the Lower East Side stripping for cash.
Be that as it may, the banality and abrading visual effects make the “Perfect Illusion” video as unenjoyable to endure as the song itself.