Pop Perspective: Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” Reviewed By The Idolator Editors

Sep 20th, 2013 // 14 Comments
Pop Perspective 3
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At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high quality pop music. Occasionally, our tastes align completely. Other times… not so much! So, in the spirit of debate, we’ve developed a feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all four of us dissect a particularly noteworthy pop event, and give it a rating out of 10.

That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest pop milestone to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Britney Spears‘ instructional new single “Work Bitch”. Is it another era-defining pop anthem like “Toxic” or an unholy mess like “Scream And Shout”?

Head below to see what we all have to say!

Robbie Daw — 2/10

RuPaul‘s iconic “Supermodel (You Better Work)” is a glittering slice of early ’90s house, brazen pop and in-your-face attitudinal drag queen sassery that, in spite of operating on those particular levels, manages to be play to the mainstream.

Its place in pop culture history cannot be denied and, despite really only eking out this one noteworthy Hot 100 chart hit, Ru still has managed to become a longstanding, beloved figure across the world. On the other hand, Britney’s limp, tuneless “Work Bitch” — well, that just sucks. She’s far better than this.

Mike Wass — 5/10

Britney always reminds me of the awkward girl at the school talent show who gets a standing ovation because people don’t want to hurt her feelings. That’s the only explanation I have for the generally positive reviews of “Work Bitch”, particularly when her own fans seem wholly underwhelmed (see its current iTunes position).

It just feels like we’ve heard this before. Brit has been dropping “bitch” in songs since the far superior “Gimme More” and already messed around with embarrassing accents on “Scream And Shout”. One of the main reasons the 31-year-old has remained on top since the ’90s is her ability to switch things up — jumping from bubblegum pop to R&B, before bringing electro to the masses with Blackout. So this laziness is out of character.

“Work Bitch” is dumb fun and will soundtrack a million drag shows but I want the other Britney back. Especially now when Miley Cyrus appears to have snatched her wig as America’s messed-up sweetheart.

Carl Williott — 8/10

Thank GAWD we got the real Britney and not some Brit-borg programmed by will.i.am. Spears goes through a Minaj-like amount of accents, but they all convey a swagger and silliness that only Brit can pull off.

Another thing about her voice: I’m thinking Charli XCX‘s inflection has rubbed off on Brit (bringing things full circle, since Spears’ early coo is clearly a reference point for Charli). When she sings “Spread the word, spread the word” as well as the backing vox on the “higher and higher” bridge, I hear Charli’s sneering, nasally reach for the rafters, recalling the refrain of “Glow”.

I just wish the song was more melodic, as I’m tiring of jacked up electro’s takeover of pop. In terms of dance floor heft, though, this “Greyhound”-lite track absolutely kicks “Applause”‘s ass. So at least Britney is sending off the poptronica fad in style.

IDOLATOR SCORE: 15/30

  1. Greg

    First off, I’ve been a Britney fan since the beginning, so I 100% agree with Robbie…. Brit is capable of much, much better than this. I feel Britney’s career peaked in 2003, with the release of her 4th studio effort ‘In The Zone’. That album brought with it the end of a transformative journey. ‘…Baby One More Time’ gave us the school girl next door, singing the bubbly top 40 hits dipped in enough sugar, everyone was bound to bite. ‘Oops! … I Did it Again’ was exactly as the title suggest…. an almost part 2 to it’s predecessor, still heavily coated in sugary bubblegum pop glory, but with a slightly edgier twist. In 2001, everything changed with the polarizing release of ‘Britney’, where the girl next door became a sexy young adult, aided by the megahit ‘Boys’, and the iconic ‘I’m a Slave 4 U’. IF 2001 brought on the beginning of a transformation for Ms. Spears, then it’s definitely 2003′s ‘In The Zone’ that sealed the deal. I think everyone can agree on that. The Onyx Hotel Tour saw Britney at her peak as a vocalist, AND as a live performer.

    Now, we all know the story of 2005-2007, the dark Britney days, in which ‘Blackout’, easily one of her strongest and most critically hailed releases, was somewhat quietly released. By the time ‘Circus’ was released in 2008, people were routing for her to succeed. So, despite the choreography being weak, and the lack of overall promotion from Britney herself, fans and foes in general, as MIKE stated, have hailed the once Princess of Pop, no matter what she does.

    2011′s ‘Femme Fatale’ is probably the farthest Britney has come in terms of reaching her former glory, but I think everyone can agree, she still hasn’t hit it. The choreography for the ‘Femme Fatale Tour’ was mediocre (at best), while the album itself featured no input from Britney whatsoever (Sad, because it ended up being fantastic). If ‘Circus’ and ‘Femme Fatale’ were the legs with which Britney was heading towards the heights of her former glory, then ALBUM 8 should be the project where she really shines. It should be her return to form….

    Now, with all that being said, it’s nearly impossible to praise a generic club stomper like ‘Work Bitch’, when it’s clearly not going to do a single thing to return Britney to the status of pop icon she achieved in 2003…. and if this is what she’s coming back with, she’ll certainly never continue to grow or evolve as an artist.

    Isn’t that what art and music should be? Shouldn’t it evolve, grow, change, and move the fans? As a diehard fan, I find myself wondering just How long Britney can ride on the name of her former glory, before people eventually stop caring….

    Judging by the performance of ‘Work Bitch’ so far…. I’m guessing the time when her relevance no longer matters, may rapidly be approaching.

    :(

    • Angelo

      Fantastic observations on her career! I agree with most of what’s being said. Except I don’t think people will ever grow tired of her. And she knows it, like a spoiled kid who doesn’t need to be nice to get what she wants. Which is a shame, because she could easily deliver iconic new music!

  2. “…who gets a standing ovation because people don’t want to hurt her feelings.” As a fan it hurts me to say that I totally agree with him.
    It’s really sad, it’s like she will never come back, she doesn’t want to.
    I can’t watch my Femme fatale tour dvd because I can’t stand it, I feel so ashamed listening to a singer who doesn’t sing, a dancer who does not dance, I always try to defend her but on the last two years she always makes it harder.

  3. Brianna

    it doesnt sound generic to me

  4. I’m also dissapointed. Yes, she can do much better than this.

  5. Honestly, I mostly disagree with all the editors. Why?!
    First, critic is critic but you seem forever unsatisfied judges who can’t be ever pleased. Lately You have become too HARD on words and gloomy critisizm. Stop! Cause you expect too much from Britney. Still you didn’t understand that she’s unprediable. And you never know what kind of sound goes through her mind, For you it’s always not enough even when she has put some credits on this record. What did you expect? Balladney? It will be (“Perfume”).
    In the end though music gets over people’s minds and you start to listen and listen to the song. Be easy Idolator.
    The music is fresh, catchy, energetic, modern, universal,special lyrics with the global message.

  6. scratchedface

    @blaackeagle, idolator isn’t being ‘gloomy’ or ‘hard’, they’re just stating their opinion of the song.

    I totally agree with the ‘clapping for the kid at the talent show’ comment. Though I don’t agree with the ‘Applause’ comment, but hey that’s Carl’s opinion.

  7. Howiet

    I am not much of a Britney fan, loved her debut album and loved Femme Fatale, and a few odd singles here and then. But I love this track. Its a sassy, great dance track thats make me wanna freak out on the dance floor! HOWEVER, it could be anyone singing, the fact that it’s Britney means nothing.

  8. rupita

    “…because people don’t want to hurt her feelings. That’s the only explanation I have for the generally positive reviews of “Work Bitch”

    My problem with this critic is that this statement alone is a rash generalization of things. It seems that the writer is invalidating all the other good reviews of Work Bitch just because it doesn’t agree with what the writer thinks of the song. A lot of people enjoyed it. You don’t period. Don’t come up with your own explanation of how people came out with their own opinion. That’s very irresponsible journalism on your part. Besides Music is for enjoyment and it doesn’t necessarily have to fit a certain mold. I for on enjoy Work Bitch just because. not because i don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings/

  9. RMP

    She sould stop working with Will.I.Am, Britney is a queen, and this song is trash, her Femme Fatale album was amazing! Im so dissapointed, this song is a FLOP :/
    I love you Britney, but you can do much better than this.

  10. Paxton

    Thank you for someone FINALLY noticing that Britney made electro popular in pop music!!! Pero I’m in love with Work Bitch it’s pop forward, very international sound, and the “non melodic, tuneless” vibe is amazing and completly hard to do as a sognwriter I commend it I think it’s art, and if you recall Beyonce did the same thing in her massive smash “Ring The Alarm” the verses seemed like it had no consistent melody, and there hasn’t been a song like that since..so dale Britney I love you, can’t wait to see you again in Vegas in Feb!!

  11. Angelo Buenaobra

    Britney is queen so everyone will deal. She looks like she’s not doing anything but she’s actually pushing the envelope every single time. And with every effort to go out the box, not everyone would be able to understand let alone appreciate hence the review. Go Britney Continue to Slay my Queen!!!

  12. Khaotix

    Generic boring melody… Uninspired lyrics pretty much following the latest trends it seems. How any of you guys can refer to this as edgy or groundbreaking or pushing envelopes, is a complete mystery.

    I know this might be hard for some of y’all to digest, but honestly Britney had something for a while there…but it’s gone now… These latest attempts to revive her career has just come across as desperate and saddening… Time to let it go. She’s done.

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