Good MusicNote 5.12 work bitch BRITNEY SPEARS

…Britney said to her producers.

single: “Work Bitch”

artist: Britney Spears

It is perhaps the biggest testament to the clout Britney Spears holds that she can continue to release such production-reliant singles and not need to give the producers a featured artist (or heck, LEAD artist) credit. In the pre-EDM days, when singles like “Toxic” were heady, forward-thinking pop records, it was practically unheard of to give a producer/DJ any billing. So call her a slave 4 tradition.

I may have to snatch the “levels of meaning” prize from Miley (see review 4.1) now that “Work Bitch” has landed. Except most of the levels of meaning here are ironic.

Britney spends the entirety of this song dangling the material carrots of cars, attractiveness, and high-end beverages before her listeners, then informing them that if they want these things, they should, you guessed it, “work, bitch.”

First, by means of damage control, let me say that I admire Britney for turning her life around and re-emerging as a successful artist who smartly plays to her own strengths. I have consistently rooted for her continued success. I also do not mean to say that she hasn’t worked hard.

Now for the damage.

Britney speaks most of the vocals while the production does most of the work. And–she co-wrote the song, but it could easily be argued that she’s about 20 years too late on the concept, behind RuPaul’s “Supermodel.”

A pop diva following the lead of a drag queen (or any number of drag queens) in the content and execution of a high-profile lead single is a bizarre reversal of the usual artistic sequence. And it doesn’t lend itself to the concept of hard work paying off.

But as any good diva knows, “work” means more than sweat of the brow. It means using what you have to your best advantage. And Britney can certainly give advice on that.