"Applause" (CD single)

Music review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
"Applause" (CD single) Music Poster Image
Pretentious single about pop culture has semi-racy videos.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 8 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The overarching theme of the song is that Lady Gaga lives for the accolades of her fans, which isn't a very meaningful message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While some of Lady Gaga's songs are about accepting yourself, her tendency to wear skimpy costumes and go with overly sexual or violent images to make a point doesn't make her the best role model for young kids.


The song itself isn't sexual, but some of the lyrics could be taken that way: "Give me that thing that I love (I'll turn the lights on)." The official video shows Lady Gaga writhing on a mattress in lingerie and in other skimpy outfits like a miniscule top made from gloves and a clamshell bikini a la The Birth of Venus. The lyric video was filmed at a club and shows drag queens walking the catwalk and doing some suggestive stripper moves.


The lyric video features cast members from the show RuPaul's Drag Race.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The song compares fame to a drug with "If only fame had an I.V. ... I found the vein, put it in here." The lyric video was also filmed at a club and shows audience members drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while the lyrics for "Applause" are fairly tame, with only one minor drug reference and no iffy language or sexy stuff, the videos are more suited to an older audience. The official video shows Lady Gaga in numerous skimpy outfits and writhing around suggestively in lingerie. The lyric video is set in a club with drag queens strutting down the cat walk.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byabbacus November 23, 2013

Not bad.....

Lady Gaga is back with this upbeat single about fame. I like the song and think it's good for her return.
Teen, 13 years old Written byMerveille February 17, 2021

artistic yet mature

I think this is not her best song.
Kid, 11 years old September 27, 2020

Empowering anthem for performers

Anyone who's ever performed knows: getting up on stage is scary, but hearing the joy of the audience is totally worth it! There's a little consumerism... Continue reading

What's the story?

"APPLAUSE" is the first single from Lady Gaga's third album Artpop and examines the relationship between art and pop. The frenetic video shows Gaga in various skimpy costumes that reference art and pop culture icons like David Bowie, Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, and Marilyn Monroe.

Is it any good?

Lady Gaga fans will probably love "Applause" with its club beats and infectious repetition of "I live for the applause-plause / live for the applause-plause." And it's definitely an earworm that you can't help singing along to. But unlike some of Gaga's previous work, "Applause" and its accompanying video feels like all style and no substance.

The single proves that throwing around references to Koons ("One second I'm a Koons, then suddenly the Koons is me") and dressing up like famous works of art doesn't put you in the same league as the masters. In fact, it's mostly kind of laughable, especially in the video. Gaga's overly intense expression and random costume changes come across as manic, and leave you mostly wondering what exactly she's trying to say. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the message of "Applause." What do you think Lady Gaga is trying to say about the connection between pop culture and art with the lyrics "Pop culture was an art, now art's in pop culture in me."

  • What pop culture and art references does Lady Gaga use in the song and video?

  • What do you think of the official video? Do you like it? Why or why not?

Music details

  • Artist: Lady Gaga
  • Release date: August 12, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Interscope Records
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate