Single Review: Beyonce “Work It Out”

Work It Out
Year: 2002
Album: Austin Powers in Goldmember

According to rottentomatoes.com, “Beyonce should stick with the music buisness” (Jim Chastain, Norman Transcript) and that she “struts around in a mean Pam Grier mien long on boredom and short on sass.” (Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central) and acted “…with her impressive cleavage.” (Rob Blackwelder, Splicedwire) It’s a rocky and harsh transition from music videos to movies. For Beyonce, it’s a way to become a “triple threat.” However, like every modern pop star, it’s a narcissitic self-delusion. Aside from co-starring in a stale franchise and receiving mixed reviews for it, her first solo single bests the material from Destiny’s Child.

However, that has to do with the production team. Written and produced by the Neptunes, Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams manage to get Beyonce out her comfort zone of slick, good girl pop. Instead, they incorporate the 70s funk sound to make it approriate for the Austin Powers movie. However, the single stands on its own.

The Neptunes also gave Beyonce a personality. In the fiesty “Work It Out,” she is fierce and geniunely sensual in her delivery. Being that the single is for Austin Powers, the song is about having sex. She is horny for a man she likes and wants to do it anywhere, anytime (“we can’t wait for the bedroom/ so we just hit the floor.”) But like the standard R&B songs, the usual nauseating similes are used to describe sex (“So we’re shakin’ back and forth now/just keep it comin’, babe/ treat my body like a guitar/You gotta, you gotta keep on strummin'”) The Neptunes try to be witty by including “I’m feeling foxxy.” However, it only ends up being silly. Also, there are the grammatical errors that seem to pop up in their songs (“I’m gonna call you my sugar to fly high/the sweetest time.”) “The sweetest time” lyric is there, but it’s incomplete. Including the word “it’s” would’ve made it less awkward to hear.

The music requires her to slow down and actually sing the lyrics. Instead of rushing the notes like she usually does, she sings them at a normal pace. It makes quite a difference. For one, her voice isn’t as rough. In “Work It Out,” it’s a lot clearer and lighter. She also has some range. During the “child, blow your horn now” section, she is throaty and emphasizing her lower range. Then, during the second verse, she’s reaching the high notes.

The Neptunes aren’t going to save R&B. However, they are writing songs worth listening to.

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