Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion’ Video Is A Desert-Addled Glam Rock Trip

Weirdly enough, I realized that the new Lady Gaga song reminds me of Kings Of Leon. I guess that’s why setting the “Perfect Illusion” video in a desert seems like a fitting landscape for the ’80s-infused pop banger. It’s definitely a banger, but the jury is out on if it’s actually one worth replaying. The track dropped earlier this month as the lead single off Gaga’s fifth album Joanne, which will be released October 21.

What’s also strange to me is she described this album as the one that let her “come down” from her role in American Horror Story — but “Perfect Illusion” is nothing but pure brain-addling rush. Clad in silvery cutoffs, Gaga spazzes out all over the desert under huge lights and amid a crush of similarly gyrating people. She also off-roads for a bit and literally kicks up dust, probably in reaction to her disappointment at the relationship that, as the song repeatedly states, definitely wasn’t love.

Sure, we’ve all been there, but somehow the theatrics ring a bit hollow this time. There’s the illusion of anger here, but it never quite solidifies into something that feels sincere, not even when the key change kicks in. Can’t knock Gaga’s vocals on this track though, which sound better than ever even when she’s belting out the high notes. Maybe Joanne is off to an unsteady start, but there’s still plenty of time before the album drops.

The clip, which was directed by Andrea Gelardin and Ruth Hogben, also features cameos from Gaga’s recent indie world collaborators: Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, BloodPop (formerly Blood Diamonds), and Mark Ronson. Watch it above.