Perfect Illusion: Social Media and Depression. Lady Gaga’s Social Commentary

By Andrew Van Wilpe

She’s back, and she’s got a message. Gaga reemerges in her music alongside a new single ‘Perfect Illusion,’ with a slightly more a rock n’ roll image we haven’t seen much of since her ‘Born this Way,’ album. On September 9th, Lady Gaga released her much anticipated single, this dance rock track is the appetizer for her fifth album “Joanne,” that’s to be released October 21st,

Upon the release, the chorus made many believe this song was about her ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney.

‘It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love
It was a perfect illusion (Perfect illusion)
Mistaken for love, it wasn’t love
It was a perfect illusion (Perfect illusion)
You were a perfect illusion,’

Was Gaga taking the Taylor Swift break-up route in her music?

To the relief of many, Gaga, explained the meaning of ‘Perfect Illusion’ to SiriusXM hosts, Andy Cohen and Shade 45’s Sway Calloway, on September 12, 2016 in New York City. This track was, in fact, not about Taylor but “…living up to an ‘illusion that people of me everyday… and I think that that’s transferred to everyone with social media.”

She expresses the pressure she feels to project a perfect image of her to the public, something many of us can self identify with in this digital age. Gaga has always been a social commentator. The most recent example is her 2015 single “Till it happens to you,” which brings light to sexual abuse, rape culture and the stigma of abuse victims. A topic she is personally passionate about, as she is a victim of sexual abuse herself.

Currently, Gaga brings question social media and it’s effect on our society. Gaga herself has admitted frequently in the past of suffering from both depression and social anxiety.

In fact, Forbes published an article about a study by Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; they looked at the effects of social media and its effects on depression and social anxiety. The results of the survey stated, “There were significant and linear associations between social media usage and depression whether social media was measured based on total time spent or frequency of visits.”

Gaga is not just another pop star but a woman that uses her platform of social justice. She may reinvent her image, but her “Motherly Monster essence” remains. In constant pursuit of expressing her genuine current-self, but constantly proclaiming her gospel of loving yourself, being true to yourself, and letting one’s art be a projection of positive change into the world.