Well that's a relief. In a year when pop's biggest stars collectively dropped the ball, Lady Gaga - who perhaps had the most to prove- has picked it up, run out of the stadium, set it on fire and kicked it to the moon.
Perfect Illusion is a gargantuan strut of a song, free of all the clutter and posturing that ruined ArtPop. Produced by Mark Ronson and co-written with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, it's built on a perpetual motion chord sequence, one of those musical motifs that never quite resolves, giving the song a thrilling sense of urgency.
Gaga is in full-throttle diva mode, screaming "It wasn't love, it was a perfect illusion." like its the best chorus she's ever written. It certainly comes close.
Granted, it's not a subtle track, right down to the perfectly-deployed key change. Critics are going to find Gaga a bit shouty. But I got goosebumps as it pumped through my headphones - and that's the only test that matters.