Suspiciously similar chord progressions abound in Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” the first single off her much anticipated ARTPOP. The song and artist it sounds most reminiscent of? “Girl Gone Wild” by none other than Madonna.
When we first heard the track, we thought something about it seemed familiar, we just couldn’t place it right away. Then after a few more spins, it hit us: When Gaga wails, “Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me,” it sounds identical to when Madonna exclaims, “Hey, ey, ey, ey, like a girl gone wild, a good girl gone wild.”
And we weren’t the only ones to make the comparison. This morning, a YouTube user posted this mash-up of the two tracks. Pay attention to the way those two sections are layered over each other and hear them blur together:
This isn’t the first time Gaga has been lambasted for being reductive and borrowing from other artists, particularly Madonna. With Gaga’s last big single, “Born This Way,” listeners heard an immediate resemblance to Madonna’s anthem “Express Yourself”—a criticism that the '80s icon cheekily incorporated into her own "MDNA" world tour, as if to proclaim, “Yup, I’m still the original queen of pop.”
Then again, this is to be expected of Gaga. She’s an artist in love and lust with pop culture, routinely paying homage to those that inspire her. Even within “Applause” itself, you can hear shades of David Bowie in Gaga’s deliberately space-y and staccato phrasing.
What do you think: reverence or rip-off?