Brace yourselves everyone, we’re into a new era of Gaga. Does this mean more lobster claws, humanoid motorbikes, or sunglasses made of cigarettes? Sadly no. Her new album ‘Joanne’ looked set to be a more minimalist affair, with simple artwork and no guiding concept, aside from the dedication to Gaga’s late Aunt, Joanne Germanotta.
Except that now the first visuals have arrived, and it seems like our predictions were a little off.
Sure, the ‘Perfect Illusion’ video doesn’t have the same 10 minute storylines and demanding dance routines of ‘Telephone’ or ‘Marry The Night’, but there are definitely some big, glittery talking points to discuss. What can this video tell us about Gaga 5.0: The ‘Joanne’ Era?
Lady Gaga could be a Glastonbury headliner
The ‘Perfect Illusion’ video takes place in the desert, as Gaga performs to a wild, sweaty crowd. Her microphone swings all over the place as she goes in for multiple stage dives. This is a far-cry from the precise “pop-electro opera” of The Monster Ball tour and the Born This Way Ball.
With a distinctly more rock-inspired aesthetic, it looks like Gaga wants to take her live shows outdoors onto the biggest stage of all, the Pyramid. (Yeah yeah, Worthy Farm is more of a bog than a desert, but it’s close enough). Gaga last performed at Glastonbury in 2009 on the Other Stage, and is well overdue a return.
‘Perfect Illusion’ is a tribute to the ‘Just Dance’ era
Lady Gaga first broke into the public consciousness with ‘Just Dance’. The concept is simple; Lady Gaga shows up at a house party, livens everyone up, and dances like a total badass. The whole affair is very late ‘00s, and has been copied by, like, everyone (Kesha, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, etc.).
In the ‘Perfect Illusion’ video, we see a return to that simple video format – it’s Gaga’s gig, all the eyes are on her, and there’s not a co-ordinated elbow thrust in sight. It’s choppy, like ‘Just Dance’. It’s a party, like ‘Just Dance’. Both videos use the microphone as an accessory.
Gaga’s always played with the idea of what it means to be a popstar, birth and re-birth, and identity. In the ‘Joanne’ era, we see Gaga taking elements of her first persona and combining them with a fifth album maturity. Will the rest of ‘Joanne’ feature early album easter-eggs?
Gaga + Parker + Ronson is the dream gig
Alongside Gaga are her track collaborators, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, and the album’s executive producer, Mark Ronson. Without a proper stage, they play their instruments in the middle of the crowd, as sweaty fans close in around them, and Gaga throws her arms about screaming lyrics into their ears. Best gig ever?
Gaga 5.0 is about pure, unbridled energy
In an interview with iHeartradio, Gaga said the song was about how “love is the most powerful, intoxicating drug in the world”, so it’s only fitting that for the video she rode out into the desert and threw herself around a bit. The vocals and movements on ‘Bad Romance’ were tougher than a pair of spiky leather shoulder pads, but Gaga’s let all that go on ‘Perfect Illusion’. There are no heels. Her hair is tied up. She’s totally free to go a bit nuts.
Gaga pays tribute to her aunt, Joanne Germanotta
As she moves into the crowd to join Ronson and Parker, Gaga wears a black bomber style jacket with ‘Gaga’ embroidered down the arm. On the lapel is the number ‘74’, the same year her aunt died, at age 19. As a tribute album, we can expect Joanne Germanotta to be referenced throughout the record and accompanying visuals.