To this day, the most iconic women’s empowerment-themed country song might still be Dolly Parton’s classic “9 to 5”, from the seminal 1980 workplace comedy of the same name. “9 to 5″ is the sort of toe-tapping retro pop perfection that was calling out to be used for a montage in one of the quirkier Marvel films (and so Deadpool did), but its glumly sarcastic lyrics about the office grind from a woman’s perspective make it one of Parton’s most powerful and timeless tunes. Lyrics like “They let you dream just to watch ’em shatter/You’re just a step on the boss-man’s ladder” reflect Dolly’s experience getting out of poverty, in the working-class tradition of the country genre. Female country acts since like The Dixie Chicks and Little Big Town have certainly followed in her outspoken, honest footsteps, and the new single “Work It” by Cherie Oakley of The Voice feels very Dolly-esque in its spirit.
Much like “9 to 5,” “Work It” is a song dedicated to the women who make it through the working day even when it makes them feel exhausted or underappreciated. That’s not to suggest that “Work It” is downbeat; in fact, it’s far from it. As CMT’s comparison of the song to Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang” suggests, the track is a boisterous, high-energy party number full of confidence and swagger. The other female country megastar that “Work It” immediately brings to mind is Shania Twain, as the song is an ode to a night out on the town not unlike “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”
“Work It” has major dance-pop vibes that look to aim for crossover success, with a fun clapping beat and chorus of “hey”’s adding to its catchiness. But a dance-pop song lives and dies on the strength of its central hook, and in that area “Work It” more than delivers. The chorus of “work it like a mother!” works it double meaning to funny and memorable lengths—fitting for a song that uses “work it” to refer to both making it through the day and strutting your stuff on the dance floor. With its shout-outs to working mothers and women working overtime to make ends meet, the song feels more down-to-earth and heartfelt than many other party jam offerings on the charts right now, and will likely find Oakley plenty of new fans who can relate to it personally.
Watch Cherie Oakley’s “Work It” Music Video here:
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