Britney Spears, “Work B – - – -” — It’s trending, but is it good?

September 18, 2013

A regular feature in which we assess the quality of a pop single trending online. 

As Britney Spears announced a new Las Vegas residency, her new single just happened to leak online. (Photo by Al Powers/Invision/AP)
As Britney Spears announced a new Las Vegas residency, her new single just happened to leak online. (Photo by Al Powers/Invision/AP)

The artist: In her own indelible words, “It’s Britney, b – - – -.” (And we apologize in advance for the fact that this blog post resembles a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle.)

The song:Work B – - – -,” a thumpy new single that reportedly leaked on Sunday.

It’s trending: Music media outlets were making Twitter noise about news of the song’s existence days before anyone heard it. But the lack of punctuation in the song’s title made others wonder what message Spears might be trying to send. Was it “Work, B – - – -,” “Work-B – - – -,” Work! B – - – -!” or “Work? B – - – -!”? Life is a mystery.

But is it good? It’s profoundly meh, with Spears reanimating her burnout baby-talk over a freeze dried club beat that isn’t lively enough to grate. It’s the kind of song that inflames the most cynical cockles of the human heart, a throbbing four-minute reminder that there will be no escape from this parasitic digital mediascape where brand name artists demand conversation despite their spiraling musical irrelevance. Life’s a b – - – -.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Ron Charles | September 18, 2013