After Britney Spears released the more than mildly embarrassing single, "Ooh La La," for The Smurfs 2 Soundtrack--a frothy throwaway that might have led a cynic to believe she was incapable of releasing anything meaningful ever again--"Work Bitch" has more than made up for it. Not only is the beat reminiscent of "Scream and Shout," but Spears has also continued to maintain her British lilt (à la early 00s Madonna). Plus, it isn't without the ability to provoke a discourse on class in America. For, you see, the entire premise of "Work Bitch" is that working actually pays off. On this count, I'm afraid Ms. Spears isn't wholly correct.
Although Americans have always been told that honest, nitty gritty hard work is the only true way to earn a living, our penchant for laziness has palpably increased in the past few decades. There's no longer the same drive that propelled the U.S. to prominence in the wake of World War II--and for arguably good reason. After seeing the baby boomer generation lose everything they had in the wake of 2008's financial crisis, it made sense to simply forego the possibility that working could ever lead to anything rewarding if one could lose it all based on economic and Wall Street whims. Why bother trying to build a personal fortune if it's that goddamn easy for some third party bastard to take away? Well, Spears has ignored these facts and created a motivating, uprising anthem against projects dwellers and middle class cube workers alike. The message is simple: Work bitch.
But there's still somehow a hole in Britney's urging, "You want a hot body/You want a Bugatti/You want a Maserati?/You better work bitch." For one, there's plenty of people who exercise and see minimal results. They must stay within the confines of their accursed body type--sometimes, you're just doomed to possess an hourglass figure. Second, the people who tend to own Bugattis and Maseratis rarely perform work that is strenuous or meaningful, like say, a sugar cane migrant worker. Nonetheless, she goes on to say, "You want a Lamborghini/Sip martinis/Look good in a bikini?/You better work bitch." Again, the same criteria applies to owning a Lamborghini. As for sipping a martini, well, that doesn't take very much work. And looking good in a bikini is also in a similar vein to the "hot body" conundrum.
Of course, what Britney is ultimately saying is that you can't expect to get all the things you want without putting a little bit of elbow grease into it first. But then, the argument that the poorest people in America are the ones who have to work (physically) the hardest continues to crop up. In her consistent lust to motivate throughout the song, she challenges, "You wanna live fancy/Live in a big mansion/Party in France?/You better work bitch." Easier said than done. Someone working three part-time jobs at a fast food "restaurant," for example, is never going to achieve this goal no matter how hard or long they work. And so, there is a certain sadness to Spears' newest single, as it's really only encouraging to the people who already have a chance at advancing their status. Because, in all honesty, the words, "Don't stop now/Just be the champion," are empty to someone struggling for basic human needs. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into this lovely contribution to pop, and I should just take it for what it is. Though that would go against the "Work Bitch" message, n'est-ce pas?