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SINGLE SPOTLIGHT: BRITNEY SPEARS: “WORK B**CH”

At some point this morning or early this afternoon a little song called “Work B**ch,” which I will now refer to as “Work Bitch,” leaked…  And it immediately went viral, this after an awful lot of people posted fake versions of the song online all weekend… Of course, people had been saying that it leaked for days, which is probably why so many suckers (like me) fell for the fake files for all two seconds before realizing that they were actually Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” back from the ninth plane of hell to torture us all…

When I finally heard “Work Bitch,” I was somewhat horrified.  Actually, no, if I’m being entirely honest, I was quite horrified.  I thought it was terrible, quite frankly.  But I make it a point to listen to something at least four times before reviewing it, and even more if I’m inclined to give it a negative review, so I put the track on repeat.  Then I got busy arranging things on a new bookcase, which ended up taking an hour, during which time I was so preoccupied with what I was doing that it really didn’t even occur to me that I was listening to the same song over and over and over…  It just kind of faded away into the background while I became a sweaty, not-so-hot mess…  When I was almost done my re-organizing, I started to actively listen to “Work Bitch” again.  And I didn’t mind it.  On the contrary, I actually liked it.  So I let it keep playing while I finished things up.  And I just kept liking it more and more and more.

Now, having listened to it 23 times and counting?  I love it.  In all seriousness.

First of all, the beat is downright infectious.  At first listen, I felt like it was too fast.  And it is fast.  There’s no debating that.  It’s even faster than an awful lot of club remixes.  To that end, I initially felt as though it sounded more like a dance remix than an actual, normal song.  I still kind of do.  But, hey, I happen to like dance music, so I really couldn’t fault it for that.  Besides, by the time I realized I’d been listening to it over and over and then some, my brain had already made up its mind to like it, so I’d stopped criticizing it for anything and was simply enjoying it.  Which brings me back to the beat.  If you’re a fan of David Guetta, Calvin Harris and all of the other dance slash pop music writer/producers du jour then the insistent, hard-driving beat of “Work Bitch” is sure to get under your skin in a good way.   And then there’s the hypnotic synthesized bass.  It slides all over the beat like gasoline spreading over a body of water… And then it burns.  With fervor.

Which brings us to Britney’s vocals.  That’s the major topic of discussion where “Work Bitch” is concerned.  Everyone is quick to criticize her for speaking roughly half of the vocals, as if she’s doing so because she’s gotten lazy or forgotten how to sing.  But that’s just silly.  Obviously, she’s speaking half of the lyrics because that’s simply how the song is written.  To that end, Britney is just one of several writers who get credit for the track.  Wiki also credits will.i.am, Otto Jettman, Sebastian Ingrosso, Anthony Preston and Ruth-Anne Cunningham.  So, if you’re going to get pissy about that, there are plenty of other people to rant about.  I’d recommend pointing fingers at will.i.am, since normally everything he does is overly anthemic and, ultimately, boring.  Of course, the spoken word is sure to bring to mind Britney and will.i.am’s previous collaboration, “Scream & Shout,” and thinking about that track probably isn’t going to make anyone want to cheer for “Work Bitch.”  Personally, I was initially irked because I thought Britney was using that hideous faux British accent she dons during that tripe.  Now I think she’s just sounds a bit bitchy.  But that’s precisely the point, if you take note of the lyrics: ““I am the bad bitch — the bitch that ya lovin’ on!”  Admittedly, that’s kind of irritating at first because nobody likes to listen to anyone be cocky.  Until you’ve listened to “Work Bitch” as many times as I have.  Actually, no, if you listen with an open mind then it will probably only take a few listens for Britney’s attitude to rub off on you.  As for the lyrics, this is pop music, and you’re being ridiculous if you sit there and conduct a line-by-line assassination of a pop song.  Besides, the underlying message of the song is that you’d better be prepared to work for what you want, which is a better message than at least 90% of pop songs out there.  So, perhaps, the lyrics are to be applauded, not dissed or dismissed.

And now that I’ve more than sufficiently praised “Work Bitch,” I want to mention something: to my ears, it sounds an awful lot like a 1998 track by Towa Tei featuring Kylie Minogue called “G.B.I. (German Bold Italic).”  Kylie spoke the lyrics of that masterpiece in a semi-snarky manner that’s similar to “Work Bitch.”  But that’s surely something “Work Bitch” has in common with most pop songs featuring spoken word.  Paola Iezzi’s recent “Xcept You” immediately comes to mind.  The bizarre thing is that the music of “G.B.I.” is similar to “Work Bitch,” too.   At least at times.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that anybody deliberately ripped off Towa Tei and Kylie.  I’m not even saying that they ripped it off.  I’m merely pointing out that there are similarities between the two songs.  I just figured I should point it out because surely somebody else will and I want to be able to say I did so first, seeing how lots of other writers have undoubtedly already published their take on “Work Bitch” while I was still busy listening to it and writing mine.

Britney Spears Work Bitch album cover single cover art artwork

 

 

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Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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  1. […] In case you missed Michael’s review of “Work Bitch,” you can find it here: https://loveispop.com/reviews/single-spotlight-britney-spears-work-bch/ […]

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