Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pride Month: Britney Spears song facts

WORK BITCH by BRITNEY SPEARS

This club banger was released as the first single off Britney Spears' eighth album. It was written by:

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, who executive-produced the record.

Swedish DJ and music producer Otto Knows, who had a Europe-wide hit with his song, "Million Voices."

Irish singer-songwriter, Ruth-Anne Cunningham, who at the age of 17 won an ASCAP Pop Award for co-penning JoJo's hit "Too Little, Too Late."

Anthony Preston, who has worked closely with Will.i.am as well as with co-penning Nicole Scherzinger's "Boomerang."

Sebastian Ingorsso of the EDM trio Swedish House Mafia was also listed as a songwriter, but spoke out to distance himself from the track. He explained that he passed along a song created by his protégé Otto Knows to the Black Eyed Peas frontman for Spears' new project. "I don't really know why they put my name in there," Ingrosso told Billboard magazine. "It's a really good song and I'm looking forward to what's going to happen with it. But I can't really take credit for it."

Ingrosso previously worked with will.i.am on his 2012 UK chart-topper, "This is Love" alongside his SDM colleague Steve Angello and Swedish hitmaker Max Martin.

The club ready tune opens with Spears giving fans a pep talk about releasing their potential:

"You want a hot body?
You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati?
You better work bitch!"

Britney previously used the 'b' word when she introduced her 2007 single "Gimme More" with the iconic phrase "It's Britney, bitch." Will.i.am later interpolated a sample of the phrase on his 2012 collaboration with Spears, "Scream & Shout."

Britney assumes a British accent in this song, perhaps because her name is BRITney, but possibly so she could let loose in character like Nicki Minaj does in some of her songs (Nicki also uses the accent in interviews from time to time). Madonna and Lady Gaga have both been known to speak in the British tongue from time to time as well, so this certainly has precedent.

The "you better work" call to action and its variant "work it" were popularized by RuPaul, who before his bout with reality TV stardom on the show RuPaul's Drag Race had a 1993 Dance hit (#45 on the Hot 100) with "Supermodel," where he used "work" in the fashionista sense where it means to present yourself with confidence, especially on the runway. The phrase "Work It" wormed its way into the popular lexicon as encouragement for just about any kind of performance, but Britney uses it in a far more literal sense, explaining that a hot body requires hard work, as does the attainment of luxury goods.

The song title and lyrics caused some radio programmers concern, leading to some stations playing an edited version titled "Work Work." It's not the first Britney release to be censored - the video for her racy chart-topping single "3" substituted the word "this" for the word "sin" during the pre-chorus.

The steamy music video was directed by Ben Mor ("Scream & Shout") and shot between September 7-10 in Malibu, California. The S&M themed clip finds Britney portraying a dominatrix bad girl who seductively whips her dancers into shape. Mor commented: "You can't have soft visuals for a song called 'Work Bitch,' and we sure as hell didn't."

Spears admitted during an interview with the TJ Show on Boston's AMP 103.3 that she toned down what was originally filmed. "We showed way more skin and did way more stuff for the video than what is actually there," Spears said. "I cut out, like, half the video because I am a mother; I have children. And it's hard to play sexy mom while you're being a pop star as well, but I have to just be true to myself and feel it out when I do stuff."

Despite being released as the lead single from Britney Jean, the album doesn't necessarily take all of its cues from the tune's vibe. "That song is a reflection of Britney more so than the album," will.i.am told Billboard magazine. "The album is what the album is, but we felt that song needed to come out to keep the foundation on what Britney represents. But it shouldn't reflect the album -- an album is a body of work as a collective. If we had to pick a song like, 'Oh, what song fits every color of the record,' you shouldn't do that… We felt that song represents 'Piece Of Me,' that Britney oomph."

Asked about her use of the word bitch in this song, Britney explained to UK chat show host Alan Carr that it was a reference for her gay following. "I don't call everyone… that word. I just use it as, it's like in respect to the gays as a term of endearment," she said. "It's like a street slang for everyone, you know, like you get to work, that's what you do when you get to work and it's like, cool."

Britney told Alan Carr that she had expert tuition for the scene in the song's video where she whips one of the dancers. "We had a whip instructor come in and actually show me how to use it, and actually bring it around the back of my head, and actually use it, and it you do it the wrong way you can actually hurt yourself and cut yourself with it, because it's really powerful," she said. "They're really strong."

GIMME MORE by BRITNEY SPEARS

This was Britney's first single release since her very public divorce from Kevin Federline and subsequent meltdown, when she lost custody of her children and made various court appearances.

Spears performed this to open the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. As soon as she turned to look at the audience, she seemed to freeze up and struggled through a very stiff performance which was mocked by a number of media outlets. Despite this performance, the song proved to be Spears' most successful single in the US since her debut hit "Baby One More Time," achieving Golden Status with more than 500.000 copies sold in just 4 weeks.

The song was produced and co-written by Timbaland protégé Nate "Danja" Hills.

This opens with Spears saying, "It's Britney Bitch." MTV had the exclusive rights to sell the ringtone of this phrase.

Co-writer Jim Beanz came up with the expression. He told MTV UK: "She was amazing to work with, she is a very hard worker. Just as hard as she works on her dance steps she is the exact same in the booth. She was basically open to any and everything that I mentioned. The phrase came last minute right at the end of the session. We recorded that while she was pregnant with her second child. It was really difficult to try to make her sound really sexy an at the same time she was pregnant. We knew that as soon as she had the baby she was the one to be able to push that song. We needed that one catch phrase to really bring her back and put her stamp on the industry and that stamp was 'It's Britney Bitch.'"

This was only the second Top 3 US hit for Spears. Her first was her debut single "Baby One More Time."

This was co-written by Keri Hilson, who also contributed to three other songs on Blackout. Hilson developed a nickname for Britney, "One-Take Jake." She explained to Rolling Stonemagazine: "With Britney, I need to get as much of any song done as I can [before she enters the studio]. She likes to record quickly, partly because she doesn't like to stand up for too long."

The song's music video was filmed over a two day period in July 2007 at a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. It was directed by Jake Sarfaty, who was handpicked by Spears. According to makeup artist Mikal Sky, who worked personally with Spears on the clip, the singer refused to follow the agreed script. "She had just shaved her head and was getting nothing but bad press," Sky told Money Making Makeup Artist. "She sabotaged the director by refusing to perform and follow the script. So, what we got was her dancing on a stripper pole with her friends."

I WANNA GO by BRITNEY SPEARS

This Max Martin and Shellback penned up-tempo number features a Euro-pop whistle motif. The song was one of seven that co-executive producer Max Martin contributed to Femme Fatale and his relationship with Spears goes way back to her debut single, "…Baby One More Time," which he wrote. Spears told Rolling Stone why the Swedish hitmaker gets the best out of her: "Max played a huge role on this album and he has been there since the beginning so there is such a huge level of trust. He gets exactly what I am saying when I tell him what I want and don't want musically. His melodies are incredible and he is always coming up with weird sounds, which I love. The whistle on 'I Wanna Go' still gets me every time I hear it. Who would have thought of that? There is nobody I feel more comfortable collaborating with in the studio."

The Chris Marrs Piliero directed video was filmed in Los Angeles, California and finds Britney poking fun at the idea of the sexy pop star. It co-stars Weeds and Half Baked actor Guillermo Diaz as the convertible driver.

One of many pop culture references that litter the video is a movie theater marquee that reads "Crossroads 2: Cross Harder," alluding to the 2002 film, in which Britney had her first major role. Piliero told the New York Post it was, "a fun Easter egg for fans. Plus, Die Hard 2: Die Harder is the most ridiculously awesome way to title a sequel. It just felt like the right thing to do. When Britney saw it, she loved it."

IF U SEEK AMY by BRITNEY SPEARS

This is Spears' raunchiest tune to date mainly because its title is a sneaky way of saying "F--K Me." The song has upset a number of parents who bought Circus for their young children only to find them walking around the house singing what sounds like the F word. This clever wordplay isn't totally original; both Memphis Slim and April Wine have songs called "If You See Kay."

The "ha ha hee hee" chorus is appropriate to the album's carnival theme.

This was written by the Swedish songwriters Max Martin, Shellback and Alexander Kronlund, along with the Texan Savan Kotecha. Martin, who wrote and produced Spears' first hit "Baby One More Time," also produced this track.

An edited version called "If U See Amy" was quickly released when some radio stations refused to play the original.

Co-writer Savan Kotecha comes from a very traditional Indian family. He recalled to Music Business Worldwide their horrified reaction when this song was released:

"My mum saw it and she called me and was like [upset voice]: 'My friend's son is becoming a doctor. And my son? My son is writing pop songs about sex!!!'

Then my dad got on the line and was like, 'You're being indecent.' I wasn't allowed to have a girl call my house until I was an adult. So maybe a lot of pent-up sexual stuff comes out in my songs… and that's quite a foreign thing to my parents."

OOH LA LA by BRITNEY SPEARS

This song plays at the end credits of The Smurfs 2 movie. Britney had her own two children, Sean and Preston in mind when she agreed to record the tune. "I have always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans EVER," she said. "I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they'll think it's Smurftastic!"

The song was penned by hitmaker Bonnie McKee ("Hold It Against Me") along with J Kash, Lola Blanc and Fransisca Hall and produced by Spears' Femme Fatale collaborators Dr. Luke, Ammo and Cirkut. Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lola Blanc told Idolator: "We originally wrote 'Ooh La La' for me — it was me, Fran Hall and Ammo. I came up with the title, which was sort of a play on my name, and then Dr. Luke heard it and was like, 'I want this for Britney!'"

Britney is not the only music superstar to contribute to the movie - Katy Perry returns to repeat her role as the voice of Smurfette in the CGI sequel.

Britney's two sons, Sean and Jayden, made cameos in the song's music video. They were 7 and 6 years old at the time, a younger age than their mom when she made her showbiz debut on Star Search at the age of 10. Britney told Ryan Seacrest that during filming, her kids were pros. "They were actually really, really good on set," she told the radio presenter. "They were, like, acting, and my oldest son, Preston, was right on cue every time they would tell him to do something. Later on I got to see what they actually did on camera and it was adorable."

Britney explained the song's meaning to Ryan Seacrest on his radio show. "It's about feeling good," she said. "Like when a guy makes you giddy. It's more of a feeling. When I eat chocolate I have that 'ooh la la' feeling."

Bonnie McKee and her frequent collaborator, Katy Perry, secretly recorded background vocals on the song. Katy and Britney didn't meet as they laid down their parts separately.

McKee's contribution was to tweak the lyrics to make them family friendly. "I actually came in and was the doctor behind it. A lot of it was already written. It was a great song to begin with. ... They wanted it for the Smurfs movie, and it was originally pretty sexy," she recalled to MTV News. "I was like, 'OK, how do I take this sex-drenched song and make it Smurfs friendly?'"

"That was kind of my task, but it still had to work at radio and be something that people would buy as a Britney Spears song because she's not a Smurf," McKee added. "So, it was just kind of fun to find double entendres to put in there and kind of trick the parents into thinking it's kid friendly."

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