"Applause" (CD single)

Common Sense Media says

Pretentious single about pop culture has semi-racy videos.





What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable

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.

Not applicable

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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. 

Families can talk 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
Label:Interscope Records
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of "Applause" (CD single) was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous August 28, 2013

WOW is song is Rated TV-14 = PG-13 & Video TV-MA = R

The song is OK at an iffy 15 (If you are Mature). The Video at an on 18. The video with gloves on her B***s. Referring to inappropriate Touching. ...and the song goes (I'll turn the light's on) Touch put your hands up.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old August 29, 2013

song ok video kinda sexy

I love the song it is so catchy but the video is my concern lady gaga is shown wearing skimpy outfits like on one part she was was wearing a bra made of fingers, the video its self was kinda of sexy not suitable for kids 10& under
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 September 21, 2013

Catchy, but not outstanding

This song is okay. It's catchy but pretty mainstream. I think the content is fine for kids.
Teen, 17 years old Written byCloudIsC00L723 November 30, 2013


I've always been a little skeptical about Lady Gaga's music (although I love Poker Face) and this song is no exception. While the beat is kinda catchy, it also sounds either amateur (especially at the beginning) or WAY too overproduced (The possibly thousands of synthesizers in the chorus is a total mess). The pop culture and art references are completely un-creative and sometimes unintentionally funny. The lyrics are garbage ("Pop culture was in art/now art and pop culture in me" WHAT!!!!???) and the cover art for the single is just ridiculous. Overall, with all the millions of fans and dollars to help keep her in the music industry, I expected more from Lady Gaga.


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