Three years later: Perfect Illusion; welcome to the new testament.
Perfect Illusion, as its own release is a mirror, an aural gaze inside the disco boulder of sonic self-realization. Building scene from a grain of salt, mother of pearl emerging from this her world oyster, three lifetimes later emerges the post-pressurized diamond, setting sail from Shangri-La, steady rolling along the PCH with a rhythmic detour down Laurel Canyon, from rebel hippie rock through the Sunset Strip’s Electric Ladyland until we settle in the gapless gallivance of Xanadu’s disco wonderland – that living pantheon for all Angeles-bound-and-stellar-bred cosmic artists.
That boulder, that diamond, that crystal gem here finds its sonic identity in the literal pop; that cataclysmic synthesis of hard rock and disco inferno – that blast to birth the boulder’s mirrored glass.
So here, as its own entity, Perfect Illusion is the synergy of Golden Coast tones maximalized and harmonized with that most signature human chord, to the point of genre eradication in the face of just well-crafted tribal opus soundtracking. Rock, Folk, Disco, R&B (check the background vocals, kids, some kind of rhythmic blue), together, in a manner most-threatening to the sonic status quo… any time we merge those most marginalized Canyon dwellers, city slickers, urban denizens, soulmen, cosmic dancers, punk rockers, jazz cats, and funk grooveallegiant together in that secret space of aural invisible, we usurp the very system that gentrifies through genre and “mainstreaming.” Welp, with Mark Ronson, Kevin Parker, BloodPop, and Josh Homme (get it, Queens of the Stone Age… get it, Radio… Gaga… Queen… of the… never mind) on soundboard as the latest four Gospel Unicornmen of the Apopcalypse squad: buckle up buttercup, bricks-and-string are back on the airwaves #catchthebeat
Perfect Illusion, as the lead single of a comprehensive record album, is the first law of universal dynamics; the Law of Mentalism: the all is mind, the universe is mental.
- having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
- make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible
- a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.
read: this life and this record are your perfect illusion, so… perfect the illusion and manifest mental reality #FREEYOURMIND
Mathemagical, isn’t it? #itsallmakebelieveisntit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Perfect Illusion, in the most biblically cultural tense, is the sonic record of an experience birthed in those few shared hours of the Catholic liturgical calendar between the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mother and The Feast of Saint Peter Claver.
As a timestamp, as a cultural barometer, Perfect Illusion is once again, a Gaga-fed crusade, another aural coup on the War on Drugs. Sonically, riding through the arrangements and tempos of the sixties-cusp-seventies seamlessly key changing into the eighties, beneath lyrics listing the very signpost vices of the time, as the pusherman and personification itself: Mr. Jones becomes a facet of this perfect illusion, in all of its duplicitous fxxkery. Maestro Ronson brings the mirror off the wall, away from the table, the bar, and as this addiction reaches back from black we have a kaleidoscopic rehabilitation of the most richter-shaking reverberation. Here, that blind love, that hallucinogenic mirage, that gilded life, the blow, the pills, the yak, the herb… it’s no longer a lonely road, it’s a legacy, sparked in those hallowed Hills of the Shangri-La Silver Sixties… and the very lyricism that laced the zeitgeist lives of this emerging culture was mused by the very likes of Lucy and Mary Jane…
Literally writing an autobiography with the modifier as the mood: the illusory hallucinogen, the amplified amphetamine, the bombastic blow into a cracked mirror… but recognizing that once this rupture occurs, once that false reflection is realized as nothing more than a barren concept: modern ecstasy. Sublimation is in the sonicscape of that fundamental ethereal transcendental alchemical fuel: the muse, the music, that shared source frequency; proving that even amidst apparent solitude, this tribe will always emerge, so long as you play your tune. And in that invisible bond beyond apparent isolation, Gaga, the monsters, the music-fueled masses, need no narcotic, need no exogenous agonist to trigger connection, need only that signature hymn for vamp-driven direction beyond vice to that glorious edge on the verge of whatever liberation she has promised since conception.
Perfect Illusion, as another thread in the tapestry of Gaga, is nothing more and never anything less than another opus genesis highlighting the fallacy in apparent duplicity: in 2016, that is nothing more and never anything less than the perfect illusion of pop music in an election year, as much as it is the democracy of purchased politics, as much as it is the touted manifesto of local law enforcement “to protect and serve,” as much as it is the apparent death of an eternal star, as much as it is the reality of any race beyond humanity itself as anything more than a social construct and mechanism of projected control, as much as it is childhood in the age of privatized digital social media, as much as it is the logistics of geopolitics, as much as it is the narcissism of minor differences fueling political theatre… as much as it is the projected reality of a music industry amidst the truth that it’s just you, me, and our songs…
She’s not real, she’s theatre; in Hollywood, there is no theatre, just cinema: way too reel to be wrong, and “Perfect Illusion” is the signature song. Is not the mirror itself a perfect illusion? The beautiful synergy of silver and glass formed to reflect those most apparent facets of the unknown self; even more so this, the living mirror, the projected muse, the mercurial viscera existing in increasing measure as nothing more and never anything less than the soundtrack of a world culture. Not every individual will see themselves reflected in this mirror, and those who do will see this reflection in sound and psyche. Perfect Illusion as what it is, is a subliminal shared experience within that musical enclave of misfit noise. Beyond The Fame, this is Gaga, and that is the perfect illusion.
but… yes, so … there’s that, the legible and comparatively comprehensible… but now, without further ado… like we always do, at this time #forthekids … unnecessarily egregious amounts of improperly placed rhyme … the retrospective part of the flow where i rewind and remind of when i first let go and just riffed on what eye see and what i know for me for seven minutes and forty-eight seconds into a recording device, where the monologue below is the verbatim transcription… aka the part of the linguistic show you either love or hate with a passion that fuels deep inside you… aaka the
Vinyl Mind Flow
“Perfect Illusion… ” This one’s interesting I guess, you know, I see it as a mirror, Perfect Illusion being nothing more and nothing less than that … It’s interesting though, because I never really approached the project as one would approach a “song.” I think the everything about the release, for lack of a better term, is just the anticipation… I mean, in the three years since ARTPOP, you’ve had projects and you’ve had work but you’ve not had a proper release, and I think that’s what’s so crucial about this is that it was the first proper release… and with each passing day, moment, project, you’ve got Gaga being an increasingly impactful star… and to withhold that source energy from popular music, to withhold that proper release for whatever reason, is always felt.
So I guess all of that is to say that to have this drought in the pop music world without a proper Gaga release, or just work there, was definitely part of this experience: that people were starving, they were thirsty, and they were drowning in noise and starving for music; and that’s the perfect illusion: the apparent decadence, the apparent deluge, and the actual drought and depravity… and the duality of it all. The duality of the reflection versus the reality, the reflection as reality, all of the things that go into pop music and a proper release are what make a perfect illusion what it is.
And I think here again is the idea that none of this was ever a song, and I think we get this idea with Gaga all the time is that, it’s a release, it’s a form of expression. Everything she does is just an energetic force, and depending on the conditions of captivity, you’re going to have different forms of expression – and that’s the fun part, seeing how she translates the experience and the absence in her current presence. And again, these are all very dualistic words: “absence,” “presence,” “captivity,” liberation, “expression,” and that’s the perfect illusion: it is just the human condition, as it is.
This subliminal state of transcendence through perpetual passion and alchemy of apparent triumph, descent, and renaissance; and hers as an artist, as a star, is to create and to release; and as a pop star with global impact and global – if nothing else, projection and access – her job is to be a living mirror: to get you to move and to reflect and to see yourself in whatever it is she creates. This is because as an artist, she needs to release; and as a public figure, as a celebrity, as a pop artist, as a performance artist, as an entertainer, that dependency – that inherent dialectic between the actor, the author, and the audience – requires a reciprocation, some kind of reciprocity; for Gaga, beyond applause, it is that reciprocated creation. So, if you’re best at being a cheerleader, then yes, by all means, applaud; but if you’re an artist, create something that responds to this, and if you’re a chef, let this seep through your recipes, in your work, and just feel the energy and let it manifest through you… and that’s the illusion: that there is any kind of duality or separation between the author and the audience, or the actor and the audience: they’re all just creative beings who express with one another about their own experiences, and so it’s all a perfect illusion. And the song itself is merely a seed but, like she said before, so is she: put her somewhere and she’ll grow.
… and fundamentally, anything she creates is nothing more than an aural idea, it’s just an idea and a message that has been crafted in the invisible world of music, and you can’t kill an idea because it’s timeless, and this idea has been expressed and now it exists, as nothing more and nothing less than the energy, and so within that: it’s a language.
Music is nothing more than a language. The fact that Gaga writes a song just means that she’s telling people what to say. She knows people are going to sing the song, so what do you want people to say? And really, the thing about this is, it’s not what you say – it’s how you say it. These lyrics are so ambiguous, so ambivalent, and so universal that it’s the tone someone gives it that makes it what it is. So, effectually she’s just given the world a mirror as a canvas… to create, and just by expressing recognition of that instrument, you engage with your own reflection through the shared release because you are manifesting the mirror through the pop dialogue of “Perfect Illusion,” the eternal narrative of that perfect illusion of the contemporary living human condition – which at this moment in culture, is The Fame.
So, the more you say: “You were the perfect illusion,” the more the question becomes: who are you talking to? For every one who sings this in the mirror, they are talking to themselves… in a mirror, and they are telling themselves they are the perfect illusion: they are their own nemesis, they are their own projection, they are their own potential salvation… and she is the siren, the Angeles hymn, and when you hear and you don’t sing along, you hear that you are receiving this in empty consumption, and so there’s a lot of onus…
And it’s very post-pop, and it’s beautiful; but it is a mirror, it is that silver and glass: silver being that product and that personification, for lack of a better term, of that moon, that lunar side, that darker self… glass being that clear pervasive material, and so you can see the reflection, you can see the transparency, and I think it’s just… it’s hard for me to not be abstract – the perfect illusion is concrete abstraction, it is the mentality manifest reality, the produced projection…
And the sound is very California, it is very Laurel Canyon / Sunset Boulevard, it’s very PCH, and it’s that traverse between Malibu and L.A. and Hollywood, and so when you’re in Lightning and your transmission’s going out – this is what you hear, and this is what it feels like, and it’s really beautiful the way it’s composed… because you’re going from one world to the next, where you start off at Shangri-La with the living legendary, then over and down Laurel Canyon where you get a bit riffy, until you hit the Sunset Strip and the rock guitar licks, and somehow you come back down and settle down in the discos, before you know it you’re amidst the seventies, you started off in Studio City, Shangri-La, and now you’re down Sunset Blvd, and you go from The Canyon to The Strip to WeHo and it’s all these different sounds, and it’s going from Canyon Rock, to electric, to disco – in less than three minutes: it’s incredible, and it’s just an experience…
And so everyone who thinks of this as a market product, it’s okay: it’s #1 in 63 countries; for everybody who thinks of this as a song recording, well, it’s incredibly well-composed, a complete immersive sonic projection of an immediate future world, an aural testament to the new present… lightning synth propels creation from the primordial ooze… the familiar tone emerges boldly beyond, that primary life force, the signature mantra, the mitochondrial Eve staking verbose claim over the deserted sonic plane… four-on-the-floor canyon kick bass rolls on beneath the tonal rocky road… subtle undertones begin to echo as the masculine parallel to the initial narrator, distant claps generate a steady foundation, the sonic support of a tribe on the brink of choral emergence just on the other side of primary verses… with a guessing game as strong as the moccasin game of new natives… only to recognize the fallacy of apparent reality, to shatter the glass of this two-way mirror that is the fourth wall between celebrity and citizenry, to rupture all duality between every living entity within this shared bond of humanity, to bring the penthouse back to the pit, to reverse pop logic and bring that fringe disco underground soul back to the pulpit… then we have the chorus, the karaoke keeping the crowd in sonic unison… “it wasn’t love, it was the perfect illusion…” #bam what does it mean, it means what it’s always meant; it means the reality is its own fantasy: to make that real. “You were,” and love is: manifest that mind, that beautiful mine, attest to make it real.
Love is the perfect illusion, love is the only anything maintaining bonds, barriers, and bridges… So, if “perfect” is having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics (as good as possible to be), and “illusion” is a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses, then the perfect illusion is nothing more than a beautiful lie, likely the very same seed of future truth for which a one Lady Gaga forever lives and dies.