The illusion is finally a reality.
Lady Gaga premiered her new music video for “Perfect Illusion,” the lead single from her upcoming fifth album of original material, Joanne, during Tuesday evening’s season premiere of Fox’s Scream Queens.
The video opens on Gaga driving through the barren desert in an open-air SUV, drifting the vehicle sideways through the sand before jumping out, dancing, and mouthing the single’s lyrics. Later, Gaga finds herself surrounded by flashing strobe lights, performing the song amid a large crowd under the night sky. Mark Ronson, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, and BloodPop — the men who helped Gaga write and produce the track — make cameos, with Gaga climbing atop their shoulders to surf through the mob of fans around them.
The clip, Gaga’s first proper music video since March 2014’s 12-minute “G.U.Y.” short film, was directed by Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin. With simple production design, emphasis on Gaga’s unbridled choreography, and the noticeable absence of eccentric costumes and wigs, the “Perfect Illusion” clip stands out as a radical departure from the aesthetic of the rest of the Lady’s videography. Light on narrative but heavy on rock star energy, the “Perfect Illusion” visual strips everything down to Gaga, the music, and the moves.
Gaga first teased the video’s premiere on Friday, confirming the clip would debut during the premiere of the Ryan Murphy-created horror-comedy’s second season. The preview sees the singer, clad in high-waisted cutoff shorts and a t-shirt, enthusiastically swinging a microphone above her head as a massive crowd dances around her.
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 16, 2016
Murphy has worked with Gaga in the past, most notably on the fifth season of his American Horror Story anthology series, in which Gaga starred as The Countess, the bloodthirsty vampiress who owns the haunted Hotel Cortez. Gaga would go on to win a Golden Globe for her performance in the series.
On Tuesday morning, “Perfect Illusion” debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Gaga’s first top 20 hit on the chart since the R. Kelly-assisted, platinum-certified “Do What U Want” peaked at No. 13 nearly three years ago. The single’s parent album features musical collaborations with Florence Welch, Ronson, Beck, Parker, and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme.
Watch Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” music video in full, below. Joanne is out on Oct. 21.