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"Perfect Illusion" is a song written and recorded by Lady Gaga and serves as the lead single from her fifth studio album Joanne. The single was announced on August 17, 2016 through Lady Gaga's Instagram and her website, and was released on September 9, 2016. Mark Ronson and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala produced the track, with additional production from Gaga and BloodPop. On September 9, Gaga co-hosted BBC Radio 1 in the UK with Nick Grimshaw to promote the single.

Background

(Left to Right) BloodPop, Mark RonsonLady GagaKevin Parker.

The song title was first teased by Mark Ronson on his Instagram with a picture of Gaga, Kevin Parker, and BloodPop captioned 'Illusion'. The song title was then later revealed when Gaga took to Instagram to post several pictures, forming a grid, which read 'Lady Gaga, Perfect Illusion, New Single, September' against a multicolored background. The same graphic was later posted on her website. "Perfect Illusion" is described as a 'sweet space in [her] catalog alongside some of her best dance floor anthems. It's a cut that touches the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a relationship gone wrong, thus, the perfect illusion.' Gaga, in an interview with iHeartRadio, revealed that the song "is about modern ecstasy... we found our sweet, simple, ragey way of saying it. I get this sick adrenaline rush every time I hear it."

Lyrics development

On September 6, 2016, Gaga took to Instagram and Twitter to post a picture from what appears to be the music video and then proceeded to post the single cover on Instagram. She later posted a collage with behind-the-scenes images of her in the studio and recording the music video, as well as the lyrics 'I don't need eyes to see. I felt you touchin' me. High like amphetamine. Maybe you're just a dream.'

Gaga stated that "the song is about how I believe many of us are wondering why there are so many fake things around us that really and truly appear to be real. How do we navigate through social media, and the images on social media, that we know are filtered and altered and decipher what is reality and what is a perfect illusion?" in an interview with BBC Radio 1.

Release

On August 17, 2016, Gaga attended iHeartMedia Music Summit where she performed the song and did a Q&A. The song title was then later revealed when Gaga took to Instagram to post 12 pictures, forming a grid, which read 'Lady Gaga, Perfect Illusion, New Single, September' against a multicolored background. The same graphic was later posted on her website. For the Joanne era, Gaga collabored with Lobster Eye (Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin) on the visuals which debuted with "Perfect Illusion".

On September 6, 2016, Gaga revealed the artwork via Instagram and Twitter using the caption "LADY GAGA / PERFECT ILLUSION NEW SINGLE SEPT 9". The artwork shows Gaga on the side of a cliff singing into a microphone taken on August 29, 2016. The font used is called License Plate USA and like its name indicates, it is similar to the font used on United States license plates. It was chosen by designer Brian Roettinger from Willo Perron & Associates, which also worked with Tame Impala and Willo with Gaga in 2009 for The Monster Ball Tour 1.0.

On September 7, 2016, she posted a collage with behind-the-scenes images of her in the studio and recording the music video, as well as the handwritten lyrics 'I don't need eyes to see. I felt you touchin' me. High like amphetamine. Maybe you're just a dream.' The collage include stills from the unreleased at that time music video and photographs from Collier Schorr.

Digital Release

Perfect Illusion Cover.jpg Label: Interscope
Format: Digital
Released: September 9, 2016
Photography: Lobster Eye
Design: N/A
No. Title Length
1. "Perfect Illusion" 03:02

Release history

Country Date Format
Worldwide Worldwide September 9, 2016 Digital download
Italy Italy Contemporary hit radio
Us.png United States September 12, 2016 Hot AC radio
September 12, 2016 Contemporary hit radio

Performances

Calendar.png Dates Show Microphone.png Station Country
2016
Oct 3 Mornings with Carson Daly 97.1 AMP Us.png
Oct 4 On Air with Ryan Seacrest KIIS-FM

Calendar.png Dates Microphone-icon.png Location Building.png City Country
2016
Sep 10 Moth Club London United Kingdom

Tour Dates Performances

Lyrics

Tryin' to get control
Pressure's takin' its toll
Stuck in the middle zone
I just want you alone

My guessing game is strong
Way too real to be wrong
Caught up in your show
Yeah at least now I know

It wasn't love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)
Mistaken for love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)

Oh...
You were a perfect illusion

I don't need eyes to see
I felt you touchin' me
High like amphetamine
Maybe you're just a dream

That's what it means to crush
Now that I'm wakin' up
I still feel the blow
But at least now I know

It wasn't love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)
Mistaken for love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)

Where are you cuz I can't see (it was a perfect illusion)
But I feel you watchin' me
Dilated fallin' free
In a modern ecstasy

Where are you cuz I can't see (it was a perfect illusion)
But I feel you watchin' me
But I feel you watchin' me (illusion)
But I feel you watchin' me (mistaken for love)

Where are you cuz I can't see
But I feel you watchin' me (mistaken for love)
Dilated fallin' free
In a modern ecstasy (mistaken for love)

In a modern ecstasy
In a modern ecstasy
I'm over the show
Yeah at least now I know

It wasn't love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)
Mistaken for love, it wasn't love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)

Oh...
You were a perfect illusion
Oh...
It was a perfect illusion

It was a perfect illusion
Somewhere in all the confusion
It was a perfect illusion
Illusion, illusion (where are you cuz I can't see)

It was a perfect illusion (but I feel you watchin' me)
Somewhere in all the confusion (dilated fallin' free)
You were so perfect (in a modern ecstasy)
You were a, you were a perfect illusion


Music video

Perfect_Illusion
Premiere date September 20, 2016
Director(s) Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin
Fashion director Brandon Maxwell at Haus of Gaga
Choreographer N/A
Director of photography Patrick Meller

The music video was filmed on August 29 and 30 in a desert outside of Los Angeles, California. The video is directed by Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin for Lobster Eye.

Perfect_Illusion_(Teaser)

Perfect Illusion (Teaser)

On September 8, hours before the premiere of the song, Gaga posted a short snippet of the music video on her website, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. The short video shows her dancing in the desert at night with strobe lights with the first few seconds of the song on repeat. (This first teaser clip didn't make the cut on the final version of the video).

On September 16, Gaga announced the video to be released on September 20, during the season premiere of Scream Queens series, and she posted a sneak peek of the video via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. After the premiere of the video during Scream Queens, the video was released on platforms as YouTube, VEVO, TIDAL and was put on iTunes store too.

  1. Lady Gaga wears a t-shirt by American Apparel, shorts by Levi's customized by Chain Gang, boots by Rag & Bone and sunglasses by Persol.
  2. Lady Gaga wears a t-shirt by American Apparel and custom shorts by Michael Schmidt.
  3. Lady Gaga wears a custom jacket by Haus of Gaga.
  4. Lady Gaga wears boots by Alexander Wang.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes pictures

Behind the Scenes video from Gaga: Five Foot Two

Credits

Written by Kevin Parker, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson and M. Tucker
Produced by Mark Ronson, Kevin Parker, Lady Gaga and BloodPop®
Recorded by Joshua Blair and assisted by David "Squirrel" Covell at Shangri-La Studios, Malibu, CA Us.png
Joshua Blair and assisted by Justin Smith at Pink Duck Studios, Burbank, CA Us.png
Joshua Blair and assisted by Barry McCready at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY Us.png
Mixed by Serban Ghenea and engineered for mix by John Hanes at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach Us.png
Mastered by Tom Coyne and Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, New York, NY Us.png
Track Participants Mark Ronson — Guitar, Synthesizer
Kevin Parker — Drums, Guitar, Synthesizer
BloodPop® — Bass, Synthesizer, Rhythm track for GenPop Corp.
Josh Homme — Guitar
Published by
  • Sony/ATV Songs LLC / House of Gaga Publishing LLC (BMI)
  • Imagem CV/Songs Of Zelig (BMI) (Songs Of Zelig administered worldwide by Imagem CV)
  • OWSLA Music Publishing, LLC/Check Your Pulse, LLC (ASCAP)
  • Kiff's Bonza Songs/Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd for Australia/New Zealand and Kiff's Bonza Songs/BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited for ROW ex-ANZ
Kevin Parker appears courtesy of Modular Recordings Pty Ltd.


Video Credits

Directors Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin at Lobster Eye
Stylist Brandon Maxwell at Haus of Gaga
Producer Keeley Gould
Colourist Dave Hussey for Company 3
Director of Photography Patrick Meller
Company SAV Studios
Creative Dir. Lobster Eye
SFX - Flame compositor Yoshiko Hirata for Method Studios (NY)

References

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