"We felt that song needed to come out to keep the foundation on what Britney represents," the Black Eyed Peas frontman tells Billboard.
Britney Spears' latest single "Work Bitch" flies back into the Top 20 of the Hot 100 this week -- thanks, in part, to the debut of its steamy music video. The kinetic dance single precedes Spears' eighth studio album, due out Dec. 3, but executive producer Will.i.am tells Billboard that the new full-length doesn't necessarily take all of its cues from the vibe of "Work Bitch."
"That song is a reflection of Britney moreso than the album," Will.i.am told Billboard on Thursday morning (Oct. 10) after helping to announce the American Music Award nominations in New York. "The album is what the album is, but we felt that song needed to come out to keep the foundation on what Britney represents. But it shouldn't reflect the album -- an album is a body of work as a collective. If we had to pick a song like, 'Oh, what song fits every color of the record,' you shouldn't do that… We felt that song represents 'Piece of Me,' that Britney oomph."
"Work Bitch" jumps to No. 13 on this week's Hot 100 chart and re-enters the Streaming Songs chart at No. 10… but compared to her last lead single, the "Femme Fatale" burner "Hold It Against Me," the new track is lagging a bit behind on the charts. When asked about the fan response to his work with Spears (including their Top 5 collaboration "Scream & Shout"), Will.i.am said that, while he respects the pop icon's army of fans, he also hopes to challenge her creatively and explore new avenues for her music.
"You can't always be dictated by what the fan base demands, because it means that the artist probably won't grow," says Will.i.am. "You have to have one foot in 'I want to honor the fan base,' and then the other foot in 'Let's see this potential where we can go.' And hopefully, the fans -- if we mind the chatter -- will accept and appreciate where we ended up."
Since debuting online last week, the official "Work Bitch" clip has garnered 25 million VEVO views. Spears' 'Piece of Me' Las Vegas residency kicks off on Dec. 27 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.