Lady Gaga “Applause” Lyrics Breakdown: The Gaga Manifesto

lady-gaga-applause copy
Posted on 08/13/2013 at 11:06 AM

Related To: Lyrics

The Popdust Files: Applause, artpop, lady gaga

In an all-caps Twitter barrage, Lady Gaga declared a state of “pop emergency”—her single “Applause” had succumbed to leakers. In the ultimate 21st-century act of defiance, Mother Monster chose to leak the full single herself rather than let the hype be ruined by low-quality leaks.

Lady Gaga’s upcoming ARTPOP is supposed to be as much an art project as it is a musical experience, and its lead single is largely a treatise on how Mama Monster thinks an artist should behave. So together, let’s demystify the Gaga Theory of Art.

I stand here waiting for you to bang the gong
To crash the critic saying, “Is it right or is it wrong?”

Rule Number 1: You have to live for criticism. Every time you release something, someone will say it’s awful or not original or too long or too weird. Instead of shying away from this, being an artist means you welcome negative feedback—await it, even, with a smirk on your face.


If only fame had an IV, baby could I bear
Being away from you, I found the vein, put it in here

Rule Number 2: You must love being famous. If you can’t handle the fame—nay, if you don’t crave it—you’ll never make it as an artist. This is a controversial notion with the artistic elite, who preach the notion of “art for art’s sake,” but Gaga argues that fame is what keeps art alive. If you choose someone or something else over fame, your work will be ephemeral: You’ll feel the wrath of withdrawal before you even had a chance to realize you were addicted to the recognition.


I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

Rule Number 3: Your admirers mean everything. The Gaga Theory of Art recognizes the one tenet other artists fail to realize: Art is only art if someone appreciates it. (Here she’s on the same side as many grumbling critics.) This rule is reminiscent of rule 2 in its emphasis on the attention your art draws, but instead of focusing on abstract praise, rule 3 lauds the type of love that comes from actual people reveling in your work.

Give me that thing that I love (Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch 
(Make it real loud)
Give me that thing that I love 
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch 
(Make it real loud)
A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch
A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch

Rule Number 4: To be a successful artist, you must be able to command authority. You tell your audience to clap, they better clap.


I’ve overheard your theory
“Nostalgia’s for geeks” 
I guess sir, if you say so
Some of us just like to read

Rule Number 5: Defend your creations. As rule 1 states, you will have detractors. If you can’t refute the theories that provide the basis for their criticism—even if it’s as simple as saying that some people like doing things the way you do—then your art will never survive. You must believe in your art to be a successful artist.


One second I’m a Koons
Then suddenly the Koons is me
Pop culture was in art
Now, art’s in pop culture in me

Rule Number 6: Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Here, Gaga namedrops artist Jeff Koons, who is known for reproducing everyday objects with outlandish materials. Gaga’s creative team HAUS OF GAGA is planning an “Art Rave” for ARTPOP’s Nov. 11 release, which Koons and Marina Abramovic will be part of, in addition to other artists. To successfully abide by the Gaga Theory of Art, be willing to collaborate with other artists and trade styles. Work outside of the box, reverse roles and see what happens. Flexibility and adaptability is key.

The full lyrics are below. You can listen to the song at the bottom of the post!

I stand here waiting for you to bang the gong
To crash the critic saying, “is it right or is it wrong?”
If only fame had an IV, baby could I bear
Being away from you, I found the vein, put it in here

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)
Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)

A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch
A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch

I’ve overheard your theory
“Nostalgia’s for geeks”
I guess sir, if you say so
Some of us just like to read

One second I’m a kunst
Then suddenly the kunst is me
Pop culture was in art
Now, art’s in pop culture in me

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)
Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)

A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch
A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch

Touch, touch
Touch, touch, now

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)
Give me that thing that I love
(Turn the lights on)
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch
(Make it real loud)

A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch
A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E
Make it real loud
Put your hands up, make ‘em touch, touch

A-R-T-P-O-P

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