After weeks of lyrical teases and photos, Lady Gaga released her first ARTPOP single, “Applause,” one week early to get ahead of all the low quality leaks. And though she was no doubt ticked about having to post it today (August 12), forcing it into a competition with Katy Perry‘s “Roar” (KP can’t be too happy about the timing either), she’s surely happy about the song’s reception. We knew the Little Monsters would be crazy about it, sure, but the critics are clapping for “Applause” as well.
In our writeup, we said “the song ticks all the right boxes when it comes to being a balls-to-the-wall pop delight[...] this is pop doing what good pop songs should do, which is grab you by the collar from the first listen and make you fall in love on the spot.”
But that’s just our take. Head below to see what everyone else had to say about the first taste of the ARTPOP era.
:: Rolling Stone felt the song evoked a simpler Gaga time, calling it “a throwback to ‘Lovegame’ era Gaga. Built on choppy synths, ‘Applause’ takes fans back to The Fame[...] ‘Applause’ is all bouncy disco and simple messages.”
:: MTV was on the same page, saying it “most certainly isn’t subtle; instead, it represents a return to Gaga’s club-friendly Fame era. Simply put, this one sounds massive, the kind of banger custom-made for massive soundsystems and dance-floor excesses.” As for the lyrics, they “suggest that whatever noise you’re making about her, she’ll not only take it … but use it to make her stronger.”
:: Fuse felt “Applause” was a return to The Fame as well, adding, “The song is for the club, the elliptical or anywhere in between (that has strobe lights and lasers, of course).”
:: Pop Dust generally enjoyed the track, but didn’t so easily pin it down as a Fame throwback. ”The song defies description. The hook is great. The bridge is seconds away from turning into ‘La Vie Boheme.’ The verses name-drop Jeff Koons, we think? Basically, we’re happy that it’s not whatever ‘Aura’ was.”
:: Upon first listen, Pop Justice scored it a 9/10, with this mic-drop of a kicker: “And this is why Lady Gaga is the best pop star in the world.”
:: Billboard liked that the song “morphs into a thrilling dance cut when it circles back to its chorus.”
:: SPIN, however, was none too impressed, calling it “the sound of one pop star clapping for herself,” and saying “the song’s bland dance-bot foundations” are “a bit behind the times at a pop moment where the biggest song-of-the-summer candidates have moved back toward ’70s-inflected guitars.” Ouch.
:: Slant Magazine had a more tepid reaction, and in fact took the contrarian stance of saying they enjoyed “Aura” more. “['Applause'] lacks the bigness of ‘Born This Way’ or even ‘Bad Romance.’ It’s a surprisingly straightforward dance-pop song, neither forward-thinking nor retro[...] existing in a sort of nondescript limbo.”
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