Amerie: “Gotta Work”

Oktober 5th, 2007 by admin

Pop music – good pop music, rather – made a triumphant return in 2007. Mr. Timberlake began the process and established himself as the new King of Pop with Futuresex/Lovesounds in late 2006 and kept things moving right on into 2007 with “My Love” and “What Goes Around”. Timbaland made sure it was here to stay, producing solid gold hits for Nelly Furtado, M.I.A., and even the loathsome Omarion, later reaching number one on the charts himself with “The Way I Are”, pretty much the only good thing he’s ever done as a solo artist. Kanye was there doing his part, taking Daft Punk back to the top of the charts with “Stronger” and releasing another excellent LP in “Graduation”, and even Robyn made a comeback, collaborating with producer Kleerup and reaching the top of the UK charts for the first time in nine years on the strength of “With Every Heartbeat”.

No one can forget the international reign of pop supremacy Rihanna enjoyed after inviting the world to stand under her umba-rella, but the best female pop track of the year undoubtedly goes to Amerie. Vastly underappreciated in the mainstream for no apparent reason, “Gotta Work” is the pop triumph of 2007 and deserves far more recognition and acclaim than it’s received to this point.

Amerie’s mentor and the producer on the majority of the tracks on her first two records was Rich Harrison, the man responsible for taking her to the top of the charts in 2004 with “One Thing”, her first Top 10 hit. “One Thing” was a masterpiece of pop minimalism, composed of only a sharp one-chord riff, a clattering percussion section and Amerie’s saccharine vocal delivery. Any track achieving success on the back of such a sparse arrangment is worth noting, especially one able to access the upper echelons of mainstream popularity, as “One Thing” did when it reached #8 in 2005. “Gotta Work”, on the other hand, is a lesson in flamboyant maximalism, bursting at the seams with blaring brass arrangements and thunderous percussion courtesy of production team One Up. Sure, it’s very “Crazy In Love” and both songs operate within the same formula, but “Gotta Work” just does so much more for me on every occasion. I don’t think anyone saw this coming (least of all me) after Amerie failed to follow up the success of “One Thing” with the other singles off Touch, but shit – “Gotta Work” makes it clear that Amerie has the potential to be a pop force to reckon with in any music climate. Unfortunately, the track has gone largely over-looked in the US, as it was released without the company of an album here. Because I Love It, a sort of best-of compilation for the purpose of introducing Amerie to UK audiences, dropped across the pond this summer and was extremely well-received there, but the release of that album stateside would have been redundant for obvious reasons. Thus, American audiences went criminally under-exposed to the track, but that can’t really be held against it. That said, it’s nice to know there’s no danger of the track getting played to death everywhere you turn as was the case with “Umbrella”. Radio hit or not though, “Gotta Work” is a pop smash that can’t be fucked with any way you look at it.

MP3: “Gotta Work” – Amerie ((highly recommended))

And for those of you who may have somehow missed out on the pop brilliance of “One Thing” or just slept on the track because it’s too mainstream or whatever, here’s your chance to right your wrongs.

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