Work Bitch

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"Work Work" redirects here. For the N-Dubz song, see Uncle B. For the Rakes song, see Capture/Release.
"Work Bitch"
Single by Britney Spears
from the album Britney Jean
Released September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)
Format
Recorded 2013; Glenwood Place Studios (Burbank, California)
Genre EDM
Length 4:07
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Sebastian Ingrosso
  • Otto Knows
  • will.i.am
  • Anthony Preston
Britney Spears singles chronology
  • "Work Bitch"
  • (2013)

"Work Bitch" is a song recorded by American singer Britney Spears for her eighth studio album, Britney Jean (2013). It was written by Spears, William "will.i.am" Adams, Otto "Knows" Jettman, Sebastian Ingrosso, Anthony Preston and Ruth-Anne Cunningham. The song's production was handled by Ingrosso, Jettman and Adams, while vocal production was done by Adams and Preston. "Work Bitch" made its premiere on September 15, 2013 on iHeartRadio and select Clear Channel radio stations and was released to digital retailers on September 17, 2013 by RCA Records as the lead single from the record alongside a clean version titled "Work Work".

"Work Bitch" has received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics, who praised Spears for exploring aggressive electronic dance music style. Also, the music video has generated acclaim from critics and fans alike, who praised Spears's dancing and the visual cinematography. "Work Bitch" peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100, while peaking within the top ten of the charts in Canada, Spain, France and the United Kingdom and the top thirty of the charts in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

An accompanying music video directed by Ben Mor and filmed in Malibu, California was released in October. Spears traveled to the United Kingdom to promote the song on the British TV chat show Alan Carr: Chatty Man.[1] The song was performed for the first time by Spears as the opening song from Spears' Las Vegas residency show Britney: Piece of Me.

Background and release[edit]

Previously, in 2012, Spears and will.i.am collaborated on the song "Scream & Shout"; will.i.am was later announced in March 2013 as the executive producer for Spears' eighth studio album.[2] In preparation for the single and album, Spears began working with a vocal coach and choreography collaboratively.[3] "Work B**ch" was confirmed by Spears on September 7, 2013, during the video's filming.[4][5][6] On August 20, 2013, Spears' official website launched a countdown titled "All Eyes on Me" counting down to September 17, 2013 which lead fans to speculate that this was in fact the single title. In response, Spears told fans that new music was coming "much sooner than you think".[7][8][9]

On September 10, 2013; Spears confirmed "Work Bitch"'s worldwide radio premiere for September 16, 2013, at 6 pm ET on her official Twitter account, following up with a second tweet, "Work Bitch will be available on @iTunesMusic that night at 12:01am ET, Sept 17th... are u ready?! #YouBettaWorkB #1Week".[10] On September 11, Spears revealed the writers of the song. On September 12, Spears revealed the official single cover. The artwork features Spears posing in front of a vanity mirror, wearing a bedazzled leotard complete with feathered shoulders. A small sign can be seen behind her reading "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas", referencing her Las Vegas residency. The song leaked in full on September 15, 2013, one day before it was due for release on iHeartRadio[11][12] and was therefore premiered a day earlier than scheduled. A clean version of the song, titled "Work Work" has also been released.[13] A CD single of the song was released in Germany on October 18, 2013.[14]

Composition[edit]

A 24-second sample of the song, where Spears sings over an EDM-influenced strong club beat.[12][15] Critics noted that it "features mostly spoken lyrics, [and] serves as a testament to the fine things a strong work ethic can bring about."[16]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Work Bitch" is an electronic dance music (EDM) song[17] written in common time in the key of E major, at a tempo of 128 beats per minute, wherein Spears repeatedly exhorts "bitches" to "get to work."[15] It starts with a strong club beat, before she sings, "You want a hot body? / You want a Bugatti? / You want a Maserati? / You better work bitch!"[12][15] The artist continues to extoll the benefits of a strong work ethic, as she continues, "You want a Lamborghini? / Sip martinis? / Look hot in a bikini? / You better work b**ch!"[15] The song was written by Spears with will.i.am and Anthony Preston, and features a beat from DJ Otto Knows.[15] Knows is managed by Swedish House Mafia member Sebastian Ingrosso, who also received a songwriting credit; however, Ingrosso revealed he did not write the song.[18] According to Miriam Coleman of Rolling Stone, it "features mostly spoken lyrics, [and] serves as a testament to the fine things a strong work ethic can bring about."[16] Idolator contributor Christina Lee thought that the song "sounds like the lights-out after-party" to RuPaul's 1993 debut single "Supermodel (You Better Work)".[19] will.i.am commented that the song "is a reflection of Britney moreso than [Britney Jean]. The album is what the album is, but we felt that song needed to come out to keep the foundation on what Britney represents. But it shouldn't reflect the album -- an album is a body of work as a collective. If we had to pick a song like, 'Oh, what song fits every color of the record,' you shouldn't do that… We felt that song represents 'Piece of Me,' that Britney oomph."[20]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its release, "Work Bitch" received mostly positive reviews from music critics. A writer for Billboard described the track as a "full-on club banger with Spears giving fans the secret to her success".[12] Writing for MuuMuse, Bradley Stern complimented the song as a "thrilling, thunderously bold slice of forward-thinking dance-pop".[21] A reviewer for PopJustice called the track "amazing", and suggested that the lyrical content "has the right attitude for a Blackout 2.0 sort of album".[22] Michael Cragg from The Guardian felt that "Work Bitch" is a "pretty relentless onslaught that reflects pop's current love for chucking in everything up to and including the kitchen sink", but felt that Spears' personality "[made] sure she hasn't been fully obliterated by will.i.am's production sledgehammer".[23] Chris Eggertsen from HitFix called that it was a "perfect club track", but questioned how it would perform on mainstream radio.[24] However, Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine gave a negative review for the song, opining that it "follows the current EDM model of painfully aggressive, treble-heavy beats, harsh synths, and tuneless hooks, but makes even "Scream & Shout" sound like a melodic feast".[17] Caryb Ganz of Rolling Stone noted that "Will.i.am draws up the perfect nü-Britney blueprint: a squelchy thumper that's light on singing and heavy on hilarious directives barked in an English accent... Blasts of clubby synths do most of the work, while Britney winks at the world".[25] About.com writer Bill Lamb called the single forward thinking and gave the single praise, stating, "This is a single that is pushing boundaries and will likely feel more exhilarating each time you listen."[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 12, marking Spears' 31st song on the chart and the fifth highest debut of her career on the chart, and her seventh in the top 20. It also marked Spears 19th top 20 hit and overall her 23rd top 40 hit. It also entered the top 10 on the Hot Digital Songs chart at number 6. "Work Bitch" has sold 174,000 copies in its first week,[27] marking Spears' highest first-week sales since her 2011 number-one hit "Hold It Against Me".[28] With its debut on the Pop Songs at number 25, the song marks Spears' 31st chart entry, pushing her past Mariah Carey (30) for the second-most entries to the chart's October 3, 1992, launch.[29] In its second week, the song fell to 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following week, it climbed back to 13 after the release of the accompanying music video. It became her lowest peaking lead single since Me Against The Music (2003).

In the United Kingdom, "Work Bitch" debuted and peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart on November 10, 2013 ― for the week ending date November 16, 2013 ― falling to number thirty seven the following week. The song also peaked at number two on the UK Dance Chart.[20]

The song also charted well in several other countries, peaking within the top ten of the charts in Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and South Korea.

Music video[edit]

Development[edit]

"A lot of sex goes into what I do. But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was like one outfit through the whole video, and you're dancing the whole video, and there's like not that much sex stuff going on. It's about the dance and it's about being old school, it's like keeping it real and just making it about the dance. I'd love to do a video like that"

—Spears discussing her creative control over the music video.[30]

The music video for "Work Bitch" was shot by Ben Mor, who had previously worked on the video for Spears and Adams' 2012 single, "Scream & Shout".[31] The visual effects for the music video were provided by HOAX Films, who completed sky replacements shots, set extensions and cleanup.[32] It is produced for Black Dog Films/Little Minx, executive producer Coleen Haynes and producer Tony McGarry.[32] Spears revealed she was rehearsing for something "top secret next week", on August 29.[33] Filming took place in Malibu, California, on September 7, 8, 9, and 10.[34] On the first day, Spears tweeted, "Hot day on set... ;) A little dirty, little flirty, danced my ASS off. Stoked for tomorrow!" following the tweet up with a still of herself in a yellow and black bra with long, black gloves.[5] Spears released a sneak peek of the video on September 26, 2013 through her Instagram account.[35] The full version of the music video premiered on October 1 on The CW Television Network, during the second day broadcast of the iHeartRadio Music Festival.[36] The original airing of the premiere in the United States was viewed by 1.09 million viewers and received a Nielsen rating of 0.4/1 in the key adults 18–49 demographic, up 33 percent from the previous night.[37]

Spears revealed that the video was supposed to have more sexual scenes; however, she edited many scenes out "because I am a mother and because, you know, I have children, and it's just hard to play sexy mom while you're being a pop star as well. I just have to be true to myself and you know, feel it out when I do stuff."[30] Mor replied to the singer's comment, saying he never forced or made her do anything she didn't want to during the shoot, and continued, "she's in complete control the whole time. It was easy to make a racier cut only because of the extras and the cutaways, and that's it".[38] Spears manager Larry Rudolph and father Jamie Spears also released a statement, revealing that "Britney is never pressured into anything. She reviews all creative and for her 'Work Bitch' video she discussed toning down some parts in finding a balance of sexy and being a mom."[39]

Synopsis[edit]

A scene of the video where Spears portrays a dominatrix, and channels the erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey.[40][41] Music channel television stations in the United Kingdom were prohibited from airing the video before 10 PM, for displaying bondage-esque scenes.[42]

Mor said the video is not story-based as Spears' previous videos, but it has "more of a theme ... rather than a narrative. This one is basically [saying] 'The queen is back and she's about to show all these bitches how it's done.' It's her being really fierce and taking back her throne in a way."[31] The video opens with several intercalated shots of the singer, who portrays a dominatrix,[40] and her dancers in front of a pool, and a car, and in the middle of the desert.[43] After singing "Party in France? You better work bitch," we see Spears at the top of Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino dancing.[44] According to Bruna Nessif of E! Online, we also see Spears channeling the erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey throughout the video, with the singer "whipping some woman ... and using a riding crop".[41] Product placement for Spears' fragrance Fantasy and Beats Pill wireless speakers (being used as a bit gag) can also be seen.[44]

Reception[edit]

Upon its release, the video received acclaim from critics and fans alike, with some describing it as Spears' best video in nearly a decade.[45] Bruna Nessif of E! Online praised the singer's figure, saying the video is "everything Britney Spears fans could want and more," adding, "There is just so much going on, we don't even know where to start! But how about Brit's bangin' body? Yes, let's start there."[41] Mike Wass of Idolator compared the desert scenes to the ones of Ciara's "Got Me Good" (2012), and wrote, "not only does [Spears] look absolutely gorgeous in an array of skimpy outfits, there's some life in her eyes and, dare I say it, a spring in her step."[46] The Hollywood Reporter contributor Sophie Schillaci thought the video was a return to Spears' early 2000s, comparing it to "I'm a Slave 4 U" (2001) and "My Prerogative" (2004).[44] A reviewer for Fuse called the video a "sleek and sexy" return to form, while Ryan Roschke of Popsugar commented that "even though the premise of the video is a little unclear, we're going to go ahead and give Brit an 'A' for 'Abs.'"[45] Similarly, Sharnaz Shahid of Entertainment Wise thought "the pop princess oozes sex appeal" and "is back to her old provocative ways."[45]

Jocelyn Vena of MTV felt Mor "wasn't lying" when he said the video would show a more adult side of Spears, and argued the clip proves the singer is "ready for her next era to launch."[40] Samantha Highfill from Entertainment Weekly described the video as a prequel to Beyoncé Knowles' "Run the World (Girls)", saying that it had similar desert setting, "sexy" clothes, wavy hair, wild animals and both are all-female dance numbers. He further viewed Spears' video as "as offensive to women" but concluded that "However, the more I thought about the songs and watched the videos, the more I realized that even though Beyoncé's song is all about the power of women, Britney's is too. Sure, Britney is a little more blunt in finding a way to, er, 'encourage' women to work hard, but the song is about the fact that women can and should work hard and find success."[47] A mixed review came from HitFix's Melinda Newman, who wasn't too impressed with the production, noting, however, that Spears' "dancing has certainly improved" and that "it's clear that she's definitely doing so much better than she was just a few years ago."[48] In the United Kingdom, the music video was banned from airing on music video television channels before 10 PM, for displaying "a number of risqué scenes featuring bondage gear and Spears whipping her dancers."[42] The country's MTV and The Box networks requested a clean edit of the video to air through the day, as a heavily censored version of the song titled 'Work' is also available.[42] This music video was VEVO Certified on 16 March 2014 and it is Spears' fourth VEVO Certified music video.

Live performance and usage in media[edit]

Spears performed "Work Bitch" as the opening act of her Las Vegas residency Britney: Piece of Me (2013).[49] The performance begins with the singer "descending from the sky in a globe-like cage."[50] After exiting the cage, she performs the choreography from the music video, accompanied by 16 alien-masked dancers.[50][51] Spears sports a "skin-tight, sequined bodysuit" for the performance, similar to the diamond outfit she wore during the "Toxic" (2003) music video.[50] Keith Caulfield of Billboard said "Spears was particularly energetic in the number, which seemed to delight the crowd."[50] Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone considered it the best moment of the concert, noting that "Spears stomped around the stage with authority and nailed her choreography, setting a hopeful tone for the night."[52]

On October 14, 2013, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and her dance partner Sasha Farber performed "Work Bitch" on the season seventeen of Dancing with the Stars. Polizzi explained that the performance was "a celebration of me being a mother, a woman, a new person, and working seven days a week to provide a great life for my family."[53] A week later, Polizzi and Farber also performed the track on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[54] The song was parodied on the American animated series, South Park. Seen in the episode, "The Hobbit", the song was used during a gym montage where most of the 4th grade girls and Timmy were "working out" by manipulating photos of themselves in Photoshop and using Instagram filters.[55] "Work Bitch" was also featured on TV series New Girl, in the episode "Menus", during a scene where Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) tries to get Nick (Jake Johnson) in shape.[56]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel
  • will.i.am – songwriter, executive producer, producer, vocal producer
  • Otto Knows – songwriter, producer, instrumentation, programming, recording, engineer
  • Sebastian Ingrosso – songwriter, producer, instrumentation, programming, recording, engineer
  • Anthony Preston – songwriter, vocal producer, backing vocals
  • Ruth-Anne Cunningham – songwriter
  • Britney Spears – lead and backing vocals, songwriter
  • Myah Marie – backing vocals
  • Joe Peluso – mixer
  • Julian Prindle – vocal recording, vocal engineer
  • Jacob Dennis – assistant vocal engineer
  • Chris Kahn – assistant vocal engineer

Credits adapted from the liner notes of "Work Bitch" CD single.[14]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[103] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[104] Platinum 80,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[105] Gold 15,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[106] Gold 30,000^
Sweden (GLF)[107] Platinum 40,000x
Venezuela (APFV)[108] Platinum 10,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[57] September 17, 2013 Digital download RCA Records
France[109] Sony Music Entertainment
Germany[110]
Italy[111]
Spain[112]
United States[113] September 24, 2013 Contemporary hit radio RCA Records
Rhythmic crossover radio
Germany[14] October 18, 2013 CD single Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom[114] November 3, 2013 Digital download RCA Records

References[edit]

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