Lady Gaga wrote her new single, Perfect Illusion, on a typewriter

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

  • Published
Lady Gaga
Image caption,
Lady Gaga premiered her new single on Radio 1's Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw

Pop star Lady Gaga has revealed she wrote the lyrics for her new single, Perfect Illusion, on a typewriter.

The singer unveiled the song on Radio 1's Breakfast Show, explaining how it was composed with producer Mark Ronson and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker.

"Kevin flew to us from Australia and he came with this idea, that was the beginning of a song called Illusion," she told Nick Grimshaw.

"I work on a typewriter and we would bounce new lyrics back and forth."

She added: "We stripped everything away. Changed the melody, shifted it. I sat at piano, Kevin was on guitar, Mark was on the bass."

Gaga has previously posted several images of her vintage Underwood portable typewriter online, but this is the first time she has confirmed it forms part of her writing process.

Image source, Lady Gaga / Instagram
Image caption,
Lady Gaga and her vintage typewriter

She said the lyrics of Perfect Illusion turned into a commentary on social media, and the risks of presenting an idealised version of yourself.

"I believe many of us are wondering why there are so many fake things around us," she said.

"How do we navigate through social media? How do we look through these images that we know are filtered and altered, and decipher what is reality and what is a perfect illusion?

"There are also a lot of things on the internet that are not reality. And I think people are pressured to keep that personal illusion going on in their real lives.

"So this song is about raging against it and letting it go. It's about wanting people to re-establish that human connection."

Image source, Lady Gaga / Interscope
Image caption,
The song was released worldwide on Friday morning, with artwork showing Gaga in a more normal wardrobe than fans are used to

In keeping with the lyrics, Gaga's vocals are untreated on Perfect Illusion - eschewing autotune in favour of a raw, warts-and-all performance.

Musically, it's a propulsive disco-rock track, built around a perpetually building chord sequence that lends the song a compelling sense of urgency.

Producer Mark Ronson posted a list of credits for the song on Instagram, revealing that Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age played the opening guitar riff.

Early reviews have been broadly positive. Billboard magazine called it a "banger", while E! described it as "equal parts rock anthem and dance floor mega hit."

The Guardian was less impressed, writing: "The song aspires to the heartbreak and triumph of a classic disco record, but Gaga lacks the grace of a true disco diva."

Perfect Illusion is the first single from Gaga's as-yet-untitled fifth album, her first solo release since 2013's misfiring ArtPop project.

She told Radio 1 it would feature a duet with Florence and the Machine, calling her "one of the greatest vocalists in the world".

Earlier this year, Ronson said the album would feature a more "analogue" approach than previous records.

"She's the happiest when she's sitting at a piano, barking orders at a drummer," he said. "That side of her, I don't think a lot of the world has seen."

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