Nov 22, 2019
Britney Spears Laughs At Your Adorable Twerking, Miley Cyrus
Watch the video for the new Britney Spears single “Work Bitch” seven or eight times and one thought becomes clear: there is something so cosmically right about Britney’s entering the residency-in-Las-Vegas end-stage of her career. Britney has never seemed to be a person so much as a construction, an avatar built to marketing specs in whatever factory churns out cute little blonde teenage singers who can be mainlined directly into the vein of American pop culture. What better place for her to spend two years performing a stage show than Vegas, the most artificial city in America, a place that feels as if it exists outside of time and space, a carnival of the purest, rawest, most uncut capitalism in the history of ever?
To ape what the great Hunter S. Thompson once said about another circus in Vegas, the video for “Work Bitch” is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. Here is Bondage Gear Britney wielding whips and riding crops and abusing anonymous backup dancers as she tells them “You better work, bitch!” Here is Britney and those same dancers in thigh-high boots with stiletto heels on which you could impale Shamu, writhing on a white floor laid down in the middle of the desert as a white Lamborghini spins circles around them, kicking up dust. Here is Britney – again with the riding crop – on a set left over from some early-90s Rob Lowe movie about a coked-out stockbroker, surrounded by bored-looking half-naked models all rotating their heads in slow motion, as if someone spiked their Dewar’s with mescaline. Plus whatever the hell this is:
All of this is set to a driving synthesizer and Britney’s odd enunciation of lyrics like You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion? Party in France? You better work, bitch. Jeez Britney, even Dylan Thomas on his drunkest days still put some effort into it.
These are the days when I miss the Britney who was going full-on Amanda Bynes back when Amanda Bynes was still a bubbly tween on Nickelodeon. The Britney who at any moment could pop up with a shaved head or a himbo husband she’d plucked from backup dancer obscurity. That Britney, tabloid fodder though she was, felt like an authentically messy human. The Britney of “Work Bitch” and, soon, a stage residency at the Las Vegas Hard Rock, is like the rest of the desert city: a glittery mirage on a horizon, at once both close enough to touch and too far away to see clearly.
On the other hand, that authentically human Britney could easily return in a few years when this video is Exhibit A in the courtroom where her kids are suing for emancipation. So we all have that to look forward to.