Work Bitch. A strange title for a lead single, and rather unlike any of Britney’s songs at all. It’s her only song as of yet to include an expletive in the title, and out of her few songs that do include profanity, it definitely features the most.
Not only is it a strange title for a lead single, it’s also a strange choice. Britney Jean, due for release on December 3rd, has been pitched as her most personal album yet. Despite being co-written by Britney herself, “Work Bitch” doesn’t seem like the type of song an artist would call personal. Rest assured, will.i.am, an executive producer on the album, said that the song was not reflective of the album’s sound. He did, however, call the song a reflection of “what Britney represents”. To an extent, that is true. Britney did need to work hard to get to the status that she is at today, but she’s never been one to communicate about it in such a harsh manner.
Opening with a simple, basic beat, Britney quickly comes in with a spoken “you wanna…”. The beat of the song is standard of dance music, but the soon-to-follow synths and pseudo-guitars are a bit different. The song isn’t one that you can very easily sing along to. It’s just not very melodic, with the bulk of the song being spoken by Britney in an interesting yet forgettable British accent which was first heard on “Scream and Shout”.
This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the majority of the song actually sounded like her. To a casual listener, Work Bitch may sound like Britney. But to a fan, with all the vocal layers and editing, she seems lost in the production. The vocal isn’t very well produced – with the harsh “bitch” word coming across as “bish”, with the “t” sound being a bit too quiet and not at the forefront. The song changes gears and becomes very melodic during the bridge near the end of the song – which sounds good for a few moments until you realize that Britney isn’t doing any of her own vocal harmonies. The high note melody, a prominent part of the bridge, is sung entirely by a background singer. Following the melodic part of the bridge, a simple spoken “work it out” bit is presented, although these, particularly the whispered parts, don’t appear to be Britney’s vocals either.
The song does have it’s successes though. It’s catchy and despite being a dance track, it’s quite unlike anything else on the radio right now. Despite the vocal track sounding hardly like Britney throughout the song, it’s still a good track regardless. The instrumental behind the vocal does a good job of incorporating dance music and still sounding fresh and new at the same time. The track ends a bit too abruptly, but clocking at around 4 minutes already makes it rather long for radio, so I understand the reason for the length.
Although I initially did not like “Work Bitch”, I have grown to like it, although I still feel that the vocal track could have been much better produced. For most artists, including Britney, I usually end up liking the album tracks more than the songs that are released as singles. I hope that this is the case when Britney Jean comes out later this year.