Photo Credit: Inez and Vinoodh

Days after learning that she'd be performing at this year's MTV VMAs, Lady Gaga let Women's Wear Daily do the honors and unveil the cover art for her first ARTPOP single, "Applause." Even though it looks like she dipped her face in a vat of melted makeup and snapped a quick selfie, there's much more too it than that. (Come on, guys. This is Gaga we're talking about.)

When asked if the "Applause" look—drunk clown chic?—hints toward the theme of the album as a whole, Gaga deferred the question. "It’s interesting how you view things, and you look at it like, I’m a pop icon, and [you wonder] ‘Is this the image of the album? Is this the direction? Who came up with it?’ I think that’s so interesting because it’s exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to destroy...

"[I’m not] defined by the same designer or defined by the same hair cut or defined by the same icon," Gaga told the mag. "The statement is that I’m not one icon. I’m every icon. I’m an icon that is made out of all the colors on the palette at every time." Sounds like she's been talking to Kanye.

As for what "Applause" sounds like, which Gaga wrote with longtime collaborator DJ White Shadow, the Born This Way singer gives us few hints. "In my heart of hearts as I was writing, I knew that if I asked [the fans] to cheer for me before I sang or if I alluded to the fact that they would cheer for me before I sang....They do that all the time for me; before I even open my mouth, the fans start cheering for me. And so this [is an] exclamation, ‘Give me that thing that I love. Give it to me. I’m ready, start the music.'" 

Is that code? Did Gaga just tell us the "Applause" lyrics? We'll find out when she premieres the song August 19 on iTunes. 

Lady Gaga's ARTPOP drops November 11.