Lady Gaga And Kevin Parker: Collaboration Of The Year?

ladygaga1By the time you are reading this, Lady Gaga’s new single “Perfect Illusion” may have already been released, and I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend it before even hearing it. It may not turn out to be a great piece of music, but I guarantee it will be an important one.

I say this crazy talk because because on this record, La Gaga collaborated with Kevin Parker, the mad genius behind Tame Impala, one of the most important acts in Rock today. Parker has borrowed liberally from Sixties and Seventies guitar Rock styles and forged them with modern Rock and electronica influences to create one of the signature sounds of the decade.

As for Lady G., I’m certainly not a fan of dance pop, and my booty don’t shake very well anymore, but she is clearly an artist who refuses to be constrained in a stylistic box. Her forays into Rock and songbook standards have been always interesting if not totally arresting. More importantly, her rebellious persona essentially deconstructs contemporary Pop music — taking the piss out of female pop star tropes — and that is a very Rock & Roll thing to do.

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So why do I think this unusual collaboration will be so important? Well for one thing, it will bring some Rock sensibilities to a new audience. There are not too many lead guitar riffs on the pop charts these days, and it will be a big thing if the world’s biggest pop star lays down a few sweet ones on her new record. How many young musicians might that inspire?

But it might work the other way, too, bringing some of Gaga’s sensibilities – her committed theatricality, for example – to greater attention among Rockers. As I am fond of saying, Rock is the mongrel genre that was born and raised by drawing inspiration from literally every other genre under the sun, including Pop. Rock can only grow if it keeps bringing new sounds and sensibilities in out of the rain, under the comfort of its big tent.

I would be remiss not to mention the third member of the collaboration, producer/musician extraordinaire Mark Ronson. I put his album Uptown Special on my list of Top Albums of 2015 because he has such a skillful touch with mixing old and new elements of sound. In fact, Ronson and Parker collaborated on the song “Summer Breaking” off that album, and if the new Gaga sounds anything like this then she really will have something going on.

In an interview with Charlie Rose last June, Ronson noted that the Her Gagstress learned guitar for the new album, adding that “it’s really great to make this very honest, authentic, kind of analog record with her”. Hmm …honest, authentic, analog …what kind of music do those words conjure up?


Editor’s update, 9/12/16: Perfect Illusion is now out:

Photo credit: By proacguy1 from Montreal, Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

4 comments to “Lady Gaga And Kevin Parker: Collaboration Of The Year?”
  1. Well the new song is nothing to write home about, but I still think it’s an important collaboration. Let’s wait and see what the album tracks are like.

  2. Pingback: More To The Mixture: Josh Homme Also Guests On Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” | Rocknuts

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