When Britney calls, we answer. Okay, technically she didn’t call us, (our boss is married, so he wouldn’t take that call anyway), but when we heard she was dropping her latest single “Work Bitch” on Tuesday of this week, we literally stopped the presses and held this column off so we could all give it an ample listen. So…is this new track a true Brit-tastic club banger or an inane piece Brit-shit. Let’s find out.
Kelly Gonsalves: We’ll start with something positive, since that’s always nice: after years spent musically floundering around, Britney is finally coming into her own (new) sound. Her last few radio hits have had a very consistent style, marked by robotic one-liner after robotic one-liner, purposefully slightly out of sync with the song’s actual tempo. I can appreciate the fact that she (or her producers, anyway) have a clear direction with her new music.
Other than that, this new single is, as one of my fellow panelists described, a “train wreck.” Britney moaning and repeating the word “bitch” over and over can only entertain for so long – and to clarify, that’s not very long. It doesn’t help that the electro dub backbone is relatively standard, becoming almost dull when coupled with Britney’s uninspiring autotune. The shining moment of the song occurs three minutes in, when the beat climbs to a sub-climax of “higher, higher” – the only part worthy of a little playtime at your neighborhood nightclub. But considering that’s just a single minute of decent dance music framed by an embarrassing three and a half minutes of Britney trying to be a badass, I wouldn’t even bother adding this one to your party playlist. Verdict: One and Done
Kelly Spoer: It’s funny. At first listen I rolled my eyes at the apparent train wreck of this single. What is with the fake british accent Britney? But I was intrigued. Why yes, if I want to get what I want, I do have to work, bitch. It’s a message I can get behind. After repeated listens, the song grew on me. This seems like a boring pop song, but it’s quite risky for her. It’s not something one would expect and I truly respect that. The beat is a bit uninspired, but works well with Britney’s spoken word choruses. The bridge later in the song is what hooked me. She’s no art-pop goddess like Lady Gaga, but this pop princess is definitely pushing her boundaries quite subtly. Verdict: Add to playlist.
Lauren Stern: I can’t help but laugh when I hear Britney’s new song “Work Bitch,” mostly because it’s a cheap, ridiculous attempt to create another new dance hit. I mean, this is pretty much the same beat we heard on “Scream and Shout’ only instead of telling us to get our groove on, she’s encouraging us to “work” to get our Maseratis and whatnot. How motivating! Word to the wise Britney, most of us are happy with what we got, thank you very much! Verdict: One and Done
Nick Porcaro: I’m happy to announce that Britney’s latest is a straight-up, grade A certified BANGER. This track does not play around. It will surely boost our nation’s sagging productivity in ways previously unimaginable…but seriously, “Work Bitch” is the sound of an experienced pop princess accepting her place in the industry. We all know Britney’s at her best when she makes silly, upbeat dance floor anthems and she delivers here in spades. British accent apropos of nothing? Motivational creed reminiscent of Robyn? Absurdly excessive Auto-Tune? Check, check, check. If that wasn’t enough, the lyrical message is one even the most jaded of critics ought to get behind. All you haters want a top 40 filled with better, more adventurous songwriting? You better work, bitch. Verdict: add to playlist.
Jason Stives: Like most pop idols it would have been easy to write off Britney Spears after her fall from grace 6 years ago. However, after a year of erratic behavior and lopping off of hair Ms. Spears bounced back with a series of albums that cemented her place in pop music culminating with Femme Fatale in 2011 where she fully embraced a radically changing music scene. Her latest “Work Bitch” covers the same ground by taking in the current trend of EDM/House music with a thumping club beat, auto tune, and massive amounts of repetition. The message is clear and despite lyrically being simple and lazy (isn’t that most house music?) it pulls out all the shots and delivers something destined to be at Top 10 hit and something that even took this reviewer by surprise. Verdict: Add to playlist
Bill Bodkin: This song is going to print money. Having worked the Jersey club scene for a decade I know without a doubt that this song will be the biggest BANGER this season. The remixes will come out the proverbial ass and fists will be pumped so fucking hard, people might loose their arms. And the thing about “Work Bitch” that I hate and I mean really hate is, it’s so God damn catchy. The beat is so electro-tastic that you can’t help but pop it and lock it. Seriously, this is probably the best beat Britney has ever worked with and is better than most of the dance pop anthems out there. The vocals, however, HORRENDOUS. Last time I checked Brit Brit was from the Dirrrrrty South not Manchester United, so there’s that. And have you read the lyrics? Holy testicle Tuesday that shit on a third grade level. (Terrible grammar on purpose). I’m pretty torn on this one (and I loathe myself for it), so I tap out. Verdict: Add to Playlist.
Matt Agosta: Now I’m not the biggest EDM fan in the world but I certainly can appreciate when a track goes in (see Just Blaze and Baauer collaboration “Higher”), but this new Britney song is just awful. Honestly I couldn’t even get through the whole thing because I was in so much pain. Her voice is super annoying and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this beat a thousand times before. Also, does Britney even go to the studio anymore? If she does shes got to have spent about five minutes recording the stupid shit she says then left. She basically just sampled herself and let the producer handle the rest. This song sucks.
Verdict: 60 seconds and done.
Final Verdict: “Work Bitch” is a certified “Add to Playlist” track. We did not see that one coming.