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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Lady Gaga continues to be an amazing singer, performer and artist. 

Lady Gaga continues to be an amazing singer, performer and artist. 

Lady Gaga re-enters music scene with creative new single

It’s been three years since the queen of pop filled our speakers with another club banger and the wait is finally over with her latest release of “Perfect Illusion.” Gaga’s new single is co-written and co-produced by Mark Ronson, Kevin Parker, Tame Impala and BloodPop.

Coined as one of the biggest pop stars of our generation, Gaga is back with a lyrical vengeance and few customized metal shorts to match. “Perfect Illusion” is Gaga’s cliff hanging peak at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. It’s all the sweat of losing a part of you in someone or something that never truly held any space. At the edge, Gaga finds three minutes to give us all her freedom. She’s an excess queen in her own right, with five-minute singles, world-changing fashion, fourteen-minute music videos and a voice to match her six Grammys; Gaga doesn’t waste a moment reminding us why her new single is just the commencement of a new era.

The wounded only fight harder and smarter. After being dropped from Def Jam Recordings in 2005, Gaga catapulted her career by defying the odds and playing in every club in the Lower East Side of New York City, until someone recognized her presence. Two years later, Gaga was signed as songwriter for Interscope Records because she didn’t “fit” the image of a commercial pop star. With a string of hits written for Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block and The Pussycat Dolls, Gaga made a full force debut with her album “The Fame,” spearheading hit after radio hit. Gaga’s presence in the music industry became a must-see extravaganza.

Gaga’s follow-up album, “The Fame Monster” solidified her return to the fantasy that the music industry has created around the ever-changing popstar. Lady Gaga has always been bizarre and beautiful between finding love and doubting all the reasons it ever happened. She lives like her music, fearless and ongoing. Sure we can stay focused on the meat dress, or the fickle ways we find ourselves in her music, but one thing is for sure, Lady Gaga is back like a roaring warrior.

One of the biggest misconceptions that has centered Gaga and her career is the constant pressure from critics for the icon to top herself. Instead of looking at Gaga as an artist with the need for process and growth, she is placed into this realm of “not good enough.” “Perfect Illusion” isn’t another “Bad Romance” or “Just Dance.” It isn’t meant to be.

Sonically, it’s a full-bodied and frenetic approach at honesty. It wastes little time. Time isn’t a luxury we can take for granted, and while the song may be a 1985 flashback, it’s a good one, walking you through all the ways it went wrong and where to go from there. “Perfect Illusion” is a mix n’ match of genres: a disco production, rock n’ roll vocals, in your face punk and still the newest pop power sound we’ve heard this year. It’s the falling glitter at the middle of the rave, or the moment of realization that maybe this time “it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion.” With a lineup of co-producers to head turn until the album release date, you can hear Mark Ronson’s disco influence, Kevin Parker’s frequency changing synthesizer and the queen of pop’s full force, unaltered vocals. If there’s anything we know about Lady Gaga, it is that she can sing. Her powerful voice fills the chaotic production with a lyrical message; that has always been classic Gaga.

“Perfect Illusion” is arguably Gaga’s most lyrically relatable song. It lacks all the drawn-out metaphors that many argued was her “downfall” of the “ARTPOP” era. Surface deep, “Perfect Illusion” is the lost love story, which perhaps developed with inspiration from former ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney. Nonetheless, it’s a grasp at reality and the morning after, coming to terms that the love we believed in, wasn’t enough reason to stay. “It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion / Mistaken for love, it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion,” Gaga belts on the catchy chorus that fills up most of the song. While we may look at the lyrics as an approach at self-love and self-empowerment, Gaga has stated in her radio interview on Kiss FM U.K. that the song is about living in the era of social media. The song is bigger than the idea of relationships, it’s about the instagram illusions, ways that people try to edit and filter their lives to look polished and pristine. Many try to be the curators of their own perception, and become a double tapping tempo that isn’t honest and gets lost in translation. Gaga’s use of double meaning writing has been an open conversation that she’s used on past hits like, “Paparazzi,” “Poker Face” and “Marry The Night,” which have in return made her one of the greatest singers/songwriters of all time.

You’re your own worst critic or what critics try to make you. With a release just this past Friday, mixed reviews about the single suggest that it’s “underwhelming,” as if the post-modern diva hasn’t lived up to the standard of her past singles, but in actuality, she isn’t trying to.

Pop culture critic Richard S. He of The Guardian states in his recent review of Lady Gaga, “You’re only as good as your last single.” Statements as this seem misdirected and an unfair criticism of Lady Gaga’s work. Why take artists like Rihanna, give her 7 albums to find herself, and finally with “ANTI” dub her an artist? Why give Drake numerous failed relationships, turn them into hits, before being dubbed as one of the greatest rappers of our generation? Yet, Lady Gaga somehow deserves less? I think not. Lady Gaga isn’t here to sing about the drunk party nights anymore, she isn’t here to brand herself as a quick single for the next one to burn out. This isn’t the Super Bowl Katy Perry tried headlining, she’s an artist. She’s returned raw and rippling, with her sound to match. Critics such as Richard, have suggested that the song is in search of a melody, but the entire song is centered around the core melody.

“Perfect Illusion” is Gaga’s vengeance. It’s everything we’ve always loved about the queen of pop—it’s danceable, it’s a metaphor, it pushes her vocal range in a new direction and ultimately presents that Lady Gaga is still the young girl from the Lower East Side. Gaga isn’t looking for the radio plays if it means that her vision will be compromised, which is the same reason why “ARTPOP” was not as radio friendly as her past albums.

Whether the song is a stronger lead single than “Born This Way,” or “Bad Romance” doesn’t matter. If Gaga had written a hit meant for the radio, enough critics would have called it “too Madonna,” or said things like “she’s already done that before,” despite the fact that she’s not living in the past. Gaga is a creative muse who’s interested in expanding her vision past the quick pop-single competition. Only the charts will tell if “Perfect Illusion” is her next worldwide hit.

As a fan and a fellow Little Monster, I believe in the success of her work as I did with all her past albums, videos and songs. Lady Gaga is a woman who works past the guilt that musical critics try to place on her. She is a woman in full control of where she wants her music to go. “Perfect Illusion” may have been a shot in the dark, but the last time someone took a shot on Gaga, she became bigger than all the artists she wrote for, and arguably still is.

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