There's a new normal for any major singer releasing a breathlessly anticipated pop single: Announce a date for a big, splashy release well in advance; despair when the song leaks days before your countdown draws to a close; shrug and release an official version of the song early to capitalize on the publicity before it's too late.
The latest victim of a suddenly accelerated release schedule is Britney Spears, whose new single "Work Bitch" — which the singer had relentlessly teased last week with a countdown clock pointing to Monday night — was released early on Sunday after a low-quality leak beat her countdown clock by 48 hours.
Woke up today and saw that a low quality version of Work Bitch had leaked :(— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) September 15, 2013
Does "Work Bitch" live up to the hype? The answer probably depends on whether or not you're a Britney Spears fan. The single doesn't break any new ground, but it does demonstrate what Britney Spears does best: Throbbing, autotune-packed anthems that are explicitly designed for heavy rotation in dimly-lit dance clubs. "Work Bitch" is undeniably successful on that score, but only by nakedly echoing Spears' previous hits.
Though the new single has been available for less than a day, it's already amassed well over a million views. And as for the leak, don't feel too bad. Britney seems to be over it:
I am truly overwhelmed and so grateful for all of your support. The Britney Army is amazing. I may have teared up a little.... I <3 you.— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) September 16, 2013
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Bob Odenkirk's 6 favorite books
Subscribe to the Week