Applause, serves as a sort of reset button (Gaga herself even tweeted as much following an uncomfortably public tiff with Perez Hilton yesterday.) Directed by Dutch fashion photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the so-called film finds the singer taking on various guises, from court jester to Little Edie to black swan to dead Marilyn in a birdcage—icons employed, presumably, to represent the bondage and destruction of fame, a running theme in Gaga's work. And while that makes for a relevant social critique, there's a disconnect between the images and the stated purpose of the song and video as a celebration of her symbiotic relationship with her fans. Applause isn't about attention, she told Good Morning America, but emblematic of the happiness she brings her little monsters."
The hyper-edited video also features plenty of fodder for Illuminati-obsessed conspiracy theorists, including Gaga as a centaur(ess) rising out of the Mad Hatter's top hat. But the most evocative image is of a dark-haired Gaga writhing on a mattress in nothing but black lace underwear and leather boots. Suggesting a girl in her bedroom performing for an imaginary arena of fans, it's the closest the video gets to capturing the supposed essence of "Applause."