To find out, let’s review the single by examining first Lady Gaga’s vocal delivery. It is more straight forward here, but with a put-on British accent, it sounds annoying.
In the first verse, she cites the critics who have supported her and not bashed her over the years. But by the time you reach the second verse, she has a quick reference to nostalgia and some other nonsensical lyrics that don’t really fit well with the rest of the lines in the second verse.
There is a gradual build up in the pre-chorus until you reach the chorus of “Applause.”
The British accent in her voice thankfully disappears in this part of the single but with just a touch of reverb taking its place instead, it is at this point where the mixing of “Applause” starts to take shape. We begin to hear more percussive beats—some distant handclaps in the background and more signature dance beats—to provide a fuller and more appealing and familiar sound to the listeners just in time before they start asking themselves, “Is this really a Lady Gaga single?”
Aside from the above, “Applause” does rely on a simpler approach in how the song was mixed because it doesn’t have the pulsating beat of her songs like “Just Dance” and it lacks some of the “sing-along” appeal of some of her previous mega-hits from her “Born This Way” album.
However, “Applause” does have that familiar frenetic energy that her listeners connect with and which has become extremely reassuring to her “Little Monsters.” In this single, Lady Gaga hasn’t strayed too far away from her signature formula—production value wise—that has worked out immensely well for her in the last few years. For me, this is what ultimately saves “Applause” from being mediocre and easily forgettable.
Despite all that, “Applause” is really a cleverly made and well produced Dance-Pop track from Lady Gaga. And that is what should count really and not the kind of image she projects or the abrasive personality she exhibits to her fans she has dubbed “Little Monsters.”
Ultimately, the music is what matters most to me—and not her eccentricities and obnoxious behavior—and I think there will come a time that it would happen when we can just focus on the music and not discuss anything else about her. That for me is a true sign of an artist and not anything external. Because a few decades from now, artists like Lady Gaga will get old, not only literally, but our opinions of her will become irrelevant, too.
But if her music doesn’t “grow old” with her, then that is the time she would have achieved a level of genuine artistry that did not have to rely too much on outrageous fashion statements, attention grabbing stunts, and senseless gimmicks. But then—and yet—without those, we would not have known a Lady Gaga!