No artist likes to stay in one place too long — too much risk of getting pigeonholed and growing stale. Two strong new singles out this week, one from pop icon Lady Gaga and the other from rising star Tami Neilson, demonstrate how shifting away from a characteristic or expected sound is one of the best ways of keeping things fresh.
Lady Gaga: “Perfect Illusion”
Lady Gaga has a much-anticipated fifth album on its way. Never predictable, Gaga makes a departure from her usual sound on the album’s first single: there’s no electronic dance beats or hip-hop influences. Instead, the three-minute nugget, produced by Josh Homme and Mark Ronson, is a driving, unstoppable rock number full of slashing guitars and straight-ahead rhythm. With lyrics like “Mistaken for love, it wasn’t love, it was a perfect illusion,” many are speculating that the song is about her breakup with Taylor Kinney, but Gaga herself insists that it’s a commentary on social media.
Gaga took to social media herself to tease the release on Instagram, posting clips from her upcoming music video for the song, which reportedly was filmed over two days in the desert near Los Angeles.
Tami Neilson: “Holy Moses”
Originally from Canada, where she grew up touring with her family’s country music group, Tami emigrated to New Zealand and pursued a solo career while raising a child. Last year’s Dynamite! album showcased her explosive voice and a taste for torch songs. Judging by the powerhouse style of her new single, Tami is embracing more soul and gospel influences and tweeted that she’s bringing that sound back to Canada, touring through September and October.
Oh Canada, guess who's touring you when Don't Be Afraid is released Sept 16th? Here's the 1st single, RT if ya dig! https://t.co/m725mGMKMq— Tami Neilson (@tamineilson) August 4, 2016
Tami’s new album, Don’t Be Afraid, is a tribute to her late father, Ron Neilson. Hello! has the exclusive Canadian premiere of Tami’s video for “Holy Moses,” which is inspired by the legendary T.A.M.I (Teen Age Music International) concert of 1964, featuring the Rolling Stones, James Brown, the Supremes. The video also pays homage to Ron with her band’s use of his guitars and a photo of him at 15 on one of the amplifiers.
Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.