Britney Spears believes people should pay their dues in the formless “Work Bitch.”
Speeding synths and Spears says two breathy “you wanna’s” to open the single , setting a fast-paced tone.
In the chorus, she spots the little wannabe celebrities strolling the city who are clinging to a coattail, no matter how worn. She tells them they can’t buy their way inside. They have to start in the local commercials, print catalogues, and work in the mailrooom just like everyone else. (“You wanna hot body/You want a Bugatti/You wanna Maseratti /You better work bitch/You want a Lamborghini/Sip martinis/Look hot in a bikini/You better work bitch/You wanna live fancy/Live in a big mansion/Party in France/You better work bitch/You better work bitch/You better work bitch/Now get to work bitch (Ah)/Now get to work bitch (Ah.”)
She tells them to schedule auditions and prepared to show off the charisma they claim to have. They should stand out and prepared to give it their all. (“Bring it on/Ring the alarm/Don't stop now/Just be the champion/Working hard like it's your profession/Watch out now/'Cause here it comes.”)
In the pre-chorus, she says she’s the voice of experience. She’s had hit records and the acclaim. They could learn a lot from her. (“Here comes the smasher/Here comes the master/Here comes the beat, beat/Beat beat to get ya/Now time to quit now/Just time to get it now/Pick up what I'm letting down/Pick up what I'm letting down.”)
The chorus is sung again.
She’s established herself. People speculate her next action. When she arrives, the whispers get louder. She’s the real deal and waves away the bottom feeders chomping the bottom of her heels. (“Break it on/Break it down/See me coming/You can hear my sound/Tell somebody in your town/Spread the word/Spread the word.”)
In the pre-chorus, the bottom feeders she ignored threaten to spread rumors. She tells them to go ahead. She’s been around long enough that others are afraid of her. She’s in charge and the people in authority defer to her. Meanwhile, they won’t even get an inch within her, continuing to wish to be her in presence. (“Go call the police/Go call the governor/I bring the trouble/That means the trouble's on/I make the governor/Call me the governor/I am the bad bitch/The bad bitch you'll never know.”)
In the bridge, she tells those who are actually trying to make it the right way to keep going. They have forge past the backstabbing divas waiting to chop their heads off, swatting away their insults and remembering who they are. The divas may try to change their path, veering it in the direction that benefits them. However, one day the divas may come looking for those who pushed aside. (“Hold your hands high/Fingers to the sky/They gon' try to try ya/But they can't deny ya/Keep it building higher and higher/Keep it building higher and higher/So hold your head high/Fingers to the sky/Now they don't believe ya/But they gonna need ya/Keep it building higher and higher/Keep it building higher and higher.”)
In the final section, she repeats “work” three times and then “work it out” twice.
She repeats “you better work bitch” twice to end the single.
Spears’ smushed vocals slip in and out of a British accent (again, the first time being in will.i.am’s “Scream and Shout.”) It’s a weird habit she’s picked up. It adds some crazy into the mix, making her unpredictable. She's going to get people's attention, not because of her forceful personality, but that she might snap at any time.
The single touches upon the sense of entitlement prevalent in society, providing an answer to previous songs (i.e. Karmin’s “Hello”) where instant fame and name recognition is expected. (For those interested more about the topic, read Nancy Jo Sales’ “The Bling Ring.”)
The imperturbable “Work Bitch” cracks the whip, knocking the smirks off of the entitled faces in the way.