Interview by Alan Light
Lady Gaga is back with a brand new single, “Perfect Illusion” from her just announced new album Joanne. Lyrically, the song laments lost connections between people, but musically, it’s the product of a somewhat unlikely musical union between super-producer Mark Ronson, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, songwriter/producer Bloodpop and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.
While some might think the track was influenced by her recent split with her fiancé Taylor Kinney, she says it’s not about their story in particular, but more so about everyone’s story when it cones to relationships . As she told Radio.com, “This song in particular is about a failed relationship, whether it’s about somebody who you are dating, or a friend in your life, someone who is maybe a family member.”
Of course, when you’re Lady Gaga, making new relationships can be difficult. “Me and Kevin Parker from Tame Impala, who I wrote the song with, and Mark Ronson and Bloodpop, we also talked about how the public views me as this sort of perfect illusion, and how it hinders my ability to have a human connection with them.”
She continues, “It’s a song not only about being upset that a relationship is over, but a song also about being upset and confused that it’s so hard to find a real relationship. And to find a real connection, because we’re living in a social media storm right now, where there’s so many augmented, filtered, perfect illusions around us that we can’t figure out what’s authentic and what isn’t.”
The song started from an idea from Kevin Parker, and unsurprisingly, it sounds like they wrote it as if they were a rock band. “For ‘Perfect Illusion’ in particular, this was really Kevin’s brainchild. He came in with the idea for a song called ‘Illusion,’ with a melody and a chorus and some lyric ideas. We changed the song, but it was his brainchild. We sat down — me, him and Mark — with a piano and a microphone and a guitar and a bass and we kind of broke through it section by section, and changed each lyric and melody to fit me and what I’m trying to say. We restructured the chorus to be something that I can relate to, and that I felt was important to say. For example, [I asked] ‘What kind of illusion? What’s the illusion that infuriates us all the most? What’s that word, that as soon as I say it, everyone’s going to know what we mean?’ Oh yeah, that thing where I’m so intoxicated by someone that I think that they’re perfect, but it [the relationship] just fades. And the self-anger that we have.”
Even if her personal life has been a bit rocky, it looks like her new musical collaborations have been somewhat more positive: “Josh Homme played guitar on that record and a lot of songs on the album. And Bloodpop has this massive talent for taking sounds and sampling them in new and different ways. And Mark Ronson, I can’t say enough about him. He’s a total genius, he executive produced the entire record and worked with me on every single song.”
“What I would say about the collaborators on the album, including Beck as well as Florence Welch, we spent hours in the studio, working together. So this was not [a situation] where someone made a track and sent it over, and then someone recorded vocals, or we did things over email, or we never met.”
“Perfect Illusion” is out now, the official video for the track will premiere on Tuesday, September 20th during the season premiere of Scream Queens on FOX at 9PM ET. The show is from creator/writer Ryan Murphy who is also responsible for Lady Gaga’s Golden Globe winning role in one of his other series, American Horror Story.
Joanne will be released October 21st.