Britney Army/Spearleaders/Godney Air Force: Relax.
One full week after “Work Bitch” officially hit iTunes, the lead single from Britney’s upcoming eighth studio album is now hovering somewhere within the Top 20 of the Top Singles chart. Billboard is currently projecting that the song will land somewhere within the Top 20 of the Hot 100 upon its publication later this week. And now, the Internetz (a combination Twitter stans, fan forums and anonymous commenters) is ablaze with horrified panic.
Yes, a Top 20 debut is a far cry from the #1 debut of Femme Fatale‘s “Hold It Against Me.” But it’s also, potentially, much better.
Why? Baby, just breathe…
Let’s take another will.i.am-assisted track to task, shall we?
“Scream & Shout”: The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #12 in the first week of December. It wasn’t until February 6 — a full two months later following the video’s release — that the song reached its peak position at #3, dominating the charts worldwide while doing so.
“Hold It Against Me,” on the other hand, sputtered out fairly quickly on the charts following its #1 debut in January of 2011.
So why are we freaking out already, y’all?
Even Miley‘s “Wrecking Ball,” which is currently the #1 song in the country, took nearly a full month to climb up the charts to the top spot. Remember that? It debuted on August 25 on iTunes — and it didn’t even hit #1 on iTunes until September 11, a few days after the sledgehammer-lickin’ video dropped.
Britney’s single came out exactly one week ago. The Ben Mor-directed video (BEN MORRRRRRR!) hasn’t even dropped yet. Is it her lowest performing lead single since “Me Against The Music”? Sure is — but that doesn’t mean it’s dead in the water.
In fact, she just inched her way up to breaking yet another record in her career.
From Billboard today:
As projected last week, Britney Spears debuts on Pop Songs at No. 25 with “Work B**ch!” The song marks Spears’ 31st entry on the list, pushing her past Mariah Carey (30) for the second-most visits dating to the chart’s Oct. 3, 1992, launch. Rihanna leads with 36 charted titles (all since 2005).
Moving on to Piece of Me: Live in Las Vegasney.
Now, I’ll admit it: The Radar Online article briefly shook my faith, causing me to plummet into a deep, dark mini-Blackout era that involved a Cheetos binge (nope, not talking about it).
Considering Team Britney is obviously throwing all their dollars behind Vegas over Album 8 (for now, anyway), it was disappointing to read that only 3 of the shows have sold out so far. (It’s not just a Radar Online lie, stans — go search for a pair of tickets on any of the February dates. I got lower level seating on the first try.)
That being said: It’s a Las Vegas residency, not a concert. Diehard fans are commuting to Las Vegas — and most of them aren’t crazy enough to drop that kind of money on the spot immediately. (Then again, some of us had a piggy bank labeled “Vegasney” sitting in the corner of our rooms for the past year.) Besides, casual tourists can’t be accounted for after less than a week of sales.
Plus, there’s the media spin. According to Radar Online, “only” three shows are sold out. Meanwhile, check out how the Las Vegas Sun framed the situation:
It prompted a virtual flood of ticket sales and hotel-room bookings. I asked Tariq Shaukat, chief marketing officer for Caesars Entertainment, for reaction from just the first 24 hours. He told me: “We’re very pleased, and, as we suspected, interest in Britney is very high from all over.” Three of her first shows apparently sold out within the first hour, and sales for the first group of 16 shows through February are still going strong five months out.
See that? Same fact presented two completely different ways.
Besides, we always knew Piece Of Me was a radical concept — the idea of introducing a cool, edgy (and very urban) pop star into a pool of “legacy” acts that notoriously appeal to an older generation hasn’t been done before — so this isn’t actually surprising. Britney’s setting the bar for a modern pop star’s success in Las Vegas.
All that being said, It’s time to take a good, hard look at the girl in the mirror (REFERENCE), Spearitual Warriors: Britney’s name alone will not deliver a #1 single these days. There needs to be ample promotion. The competition is fiercer than ever, and Britney’s limited engagement with the general public (read: mostly tweeting) means that her presence isn’t what it once was in 2003. If she wants “Work Bitch” to work (bitch), she quite literally needs to work, bitch.
But let us not forget: Britney Spears is genuinely a living legend. Miley’s having a spectacular moment right now while riding her wrecking ball in the buff, and no one can take that away from her. (She can’t nor won’t stop — it’s been proven.) But Britney’s been knocking around for well over 15 years now — longer if you want to count The Mickey Mouse Club.
To put it all into perspective, Lorde — the 16-year-old songstress currently beating her on the charts — was born two years before “…Baby One More Time” debuted. Marinate on that. (Yes, you’re old now.)
How many pop stars do you see on the charts right now who began their career with a #1 debut in 1998? Exactly.
Keep calm and work on, bitch.
“Work Bitch” was released on September 16. (iTunes)