A Bit of Pop Music is all about opinions on today’s popular music and that is why I decided to start a panel consisting of dedicated pop fans who discuss the newest releases. What better way to start than with the brand new Lady Gaga single!? The pop star dropped the lead single ‘Perfect Illusion’ (co-produced by Mark Ronson, Kevin Parker and BloodPop) of her upcoming fifth album on Friday, which was described as ‘her most impressive vocal performance so far’ in A Bit of Pop Music’s review. But what do our panel members think about it? Let’s find out (and click on their names to learn more about the person behind the opinion!).
Jarrod (24), New Zealand
“From the start of the first verse I got an early 80s Pat Benatar rock vibe. It’s refreshing to hear Gaga’s lead single not be so pop heavy. The chorus comes in quick and goes away even faster. I have personally always enjoyed Gaga’s choruses more than her verses but not with ‘Perfect Illusion’, as the third verse is my favorite part of the song. The key change is captivating but the last chorus dragged on too long for my liking. I’m disappointed with the production and beat considering who she worked with and after a couple of listens I find Gaga’s oversinging at the end to be irritating. This song isn’t for my demographic but will it be for the general public? Whatever the outcome she’s created a fun song to blast when you’re drunk and brokenhearted.”
Tim (26), The Netherlands
“I kinda came here to say that I was disappointed by Gaga’s big comeback – but then I noticed how ‘Perfect Illusion’ was stuck in my head after only listening to it once. The “It wasn’t love” part is just… so damn catchy. I already sort of expected ‘Perfect Illusion’ to have a rocking sound – Gaga hinted at doing something more rock-oriented before and, well, with the single artwork you can’t really go into many other directions. I do think however that both the production and her vocals could’ve been a lot better. I respect her decision to not digitally alter her voice, and she sings well, but there are some cracks in her performance that make it seem to me as if I’m listening to a demo at some parts. But on the other hand, there’s that fine chorus and DAMN FINE key change at the end. I think ‘Perfect Illusion’ makes a better lead single than ‘Born This Way’ and ‘Applause’ (yes, really), I just don’t think this song will revive Gaga’s career.”
Zuheir (25), Malaysia
“Just like any Gaga single, it is hard to not like the piece the first (or maybe the twentieth) time hearing it. If there is one artist that knows how to produce music that is generally addictive, it’s Gaga. For ‘Perfect Illusion’ I was particularly pleased with the background composition. The sound of the synthesizer layered with just a guitar and a bass form a refreshing, simplistic alternative to heavy digital mixing that seems to be the trend in pop these days. She adds raw, unedited vocals, portraying the emotions associated with the song very effectively. You can almost feel her frustration on the last line where she stresses how her former lover was just a ‘Perfect Illusion’. This endeavor is not really a new thing for her, nevertheless. It seems like Gaga is sticking to a safe, guaranteed-to-work formula instead of reviving those days of ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Alejandro’, and ‘Judas’ where she (with the production team) would experiment with different sounds and styles. It’s perfectly reasonable, though. After the underperforming ARTPOP, it seems Gaga didn’t want to take risks. Therefore I did not feel as exhilarated or excited hearing this for the first time as with ‘Bad Romance’ or ‘Judas’. The song began to sound redundant after the first few times. On saying that though, I still think it is a decent song, astounding vocal as a matter of fact, and being a Monster myself, I’m expecting this song to be stuck in my head for the coming months.”
Marjolein (21), The Netherlands
“When I heard this for the first time, the start of the verse immediately sounded as typical Gaga to me. I have been eagerly waiting for her to release something new, but because of her acting career, we had to be patient. Now that it is out, I’m happy to conclude it sounds fresh! ‘Perfect Illusion’ takes a while to really get started, causing me to wonder if we would get the big and bold sound I love about Gaga, but in the end she delivers. Vocally she is strong as ever and the song is definitely catchy enough to stay in your head after only one listen. I couldn’t sit still while listening and that is always a good sign, right!? At least it’s a better comeback than Katy Perry’s ‘Rise’ and I hope radio stations will play this!”
Raven (18), Myanmar
“Gaga did it again! I have to admit, at first listen I didn’t really enjoy it, but as I heard it more often, it somehow started growing on me. I love how she shows off her versatility as an artist, by releasing a track that is quite different from her earlier poppy singles. This one’s focussed on her raw vocals, which complement the instrumentation, consisting of catchy synths and beats. ‘Perfect Illusion’ is short, but sweet and at the same time significant and meaningful. I initially fell in love with Gaga for her pop sound (that’s why she has always been my Queen of Pop), so I hope we will hear some more of that on the album as well. Ideally, she will give us a diverse record that experiments with different styles. I’m excited to see what she comes up with next.”
Gus (24), Brazil
“Oh Gaga! She’s back, after that long hiatus also known as ARTPOP, she seems to get back on what she does best, her dance Rock jams. ‘Perfect Illusion’ seems to go back to the sound of Born This Way in its core. Even though it’s a good comeback having in mind what her fans love the most, the song itself gets a bit tiresome from the middle to the end. Ok, we gotta admit she can work those great, layered vocal effects which lead to an explosive chorus, but it leans too much on this. Half a song virtually repeating the chorus makes it a little deficient as well in terms of lyrics. If only she could have made it more sophisticated in its layering effects and lyrics complexity, like she did on ‘Yoü and I’ . For example the repetition of “it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion, mistaken for love” is underwhelming and lacks well thought of linguistic use. All in all, it sounds like a classic gaga dance-rock jam, pleasing in its core, yet underwhelming in its message. There is nothing tought provoking and we know she can pull that off. Still excited to hear the rest of the album!”
We can conclude our panel members are cautiously optimistic about Gaga’s comeback! ‘Perfect Illusion’ might not be the banger they hoped for, it seems they still appreciate its qualities. A grower it is! Of course we will talk to our panel again when the album comes out!
Keep an eye out for A Bit of Pop Music’s Fan Panel’s discussions about the newest pop releases!
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