In one of the greatest creative decisions ever made, Britney and company have decided to let Will.I.Am produce every song on this album.
The change is evident on this track. She certainly has come a long way since the days of ‘Oops I Did It Again.’ Instead of utilizing her soft-dreamy voice to her advantage, she has decided to go with a more aggressive-talking style. It’s hard to say that that is the reason this song is awful, since it’s pretty acceptable for rappers and hip-hop artists to do this same thing and it would be considered ‘intense’ and not degenerate to the style.
This is not that style though.
Let me preface this in depth look into the amazing display of talent by pointing out the beginning is literally 16 bars of 808 kick drum. There is that syncopated/distorted synth that that leads into the 5th, 11th, and 15th measures, but you can hear how Will.I.Am took the first 4 bars he worked really hard to create and then copied and pasted them 3 more times. The song is called Work Bitch, and it’s about how to get fame and glory you have to work for it. Yet I get the vibe that Will.I.Am did very little work on this song, and has a very minimal understanding of digital audio workstations, virtual synthesizers, and production in general. The fact that he even had the opportunity to work on any music as a professional producer makes me sad. If you listened to literally ANY producers work compared to this you can hear the difference. Will uses barely any modulations, barely any harmonic layers, uses the default drum kits that come included with DAW’s, and reuses the same VST over and over.
This would be like using times new roman as a font, every time, even when new free fonts get released. It’s like driving a 2001 Honda civic in a race full of 2013 models. Out of context it works just fine and gets the job done, but comparing it to other, newer innovations, it looks out of place and stupid.
How about those vocals though? After the aggressive talking section, Britney actually uses musical pitch, but she bases the ‘melody’ line on one note, and the note one octave above it. A note that is an octave higher is the same note, so really there is only one note, until 2:48 when the bridge happens.
If using one note and its octave is the most basic melody that can exist, then using a note and the 3rd, and 5th of that same note is the second most basic melody. You make the most basic chord that can exist with root III V, and these are the ascending/descending notes in this melody.
The entire song is based off of only 1 chord, the entire time. The only thing that is not a constant in this song is the lyrics. I have ranted before about how people really only relate with the lyrics and not the music (because they don’t understand anything about it), but here you go. This is why you need to learn. So songs like this can stop being made and stop being on the Top 40. This is why Work Bitch by Britney Spears (and Will.I.Am) sucks.