Sound the Little Monsters klaxon: Lady Gaga has just dropped the cover of her newest song, "Perfect Illusion" via Twitter and Instagram, and it's all sorts of striking. Also, if that wasn't quite enough detail to cause you to hyperventilate into a brown paper bag from excitement, the singer also announced a release date for her song: September 9, which is just two days away. Clear your schedule, stat. Lady Gaga's "Personal Illusions" cover is nothing close to what I expected; it's far more stripped back. This poses a contrast with Lady Gaga's marketing for "Personal Illusions," which fit in with her usual hyper-artistic visuals for her work.
Personally, I'm a big fan of the cover, which is unusually straightforward for Stefani Germanotta and shows the singer herself leaping up into the air against a backdrop of a setting sun. Don't get me wrong: it's still highly Lady Gaga-esque. She's still looking punky, and her face is partially obscured by her hair. So, no, it's not your traditional female solo pop singer beauty shot. However, it's less exaggeratedly artistic than anything we've seen from Gaga in a while. This isn't a bad thing at all. Something about the shot feels incredibly personal.
It doesn't feel photoshopped to death, and the angle of the photo feels enjoyably spontaneous — much like Lady Gaga's posture. While I enjoy her latter-day channeling of Andy Warhol and her exploration of the boundary between art and commerce, she's done this a lot before. This cover feels exciting and fresh simply because it's so different. It doesn't feel like she's had a team of artists round a panel table figuring out a concept for it. Instead, it feels like her best friend took it, which is so much more fun.
All of this could imply that Lady Gaga could be taking a different direction with her music this time round — potentially a more personal one. While I've always enjoyed the slightly frosty, remote finish to her music, perhaps we'll be getting a whole new sound. Perhaps we'll be getting something that perhaps exposes more of the Stefani Germanotta behind her guise as art-punk Lady Gaga. In her December 2014 interview with Yahoo about the upcoming record, she said "I want the fans to be surprised." What could be more surprising than a stripped back, personal record that's not about ideas of Fame or Art, but is actually about the singer herself?
Here's hoping. But, either way, after three long years since Artpop, even if it's not exactly as personal as this cover suggests, heck, let's count our blessings and celebrate. After all, it's a new Lady Gaga track.