The girl group known as Fifth Harmony wasted no time jumping from The X Factor stage to the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015 with the saxophone-filled earworm “Worth It.” What’s next? “Work From Home,” which has already grabbed an even bigger brass ring.
But don’t think for a second that “Work From Home” is really about successfully dodging corporate cubicles.
The track was originally supposed to simply be called “Work.” But Rihanna beat the group to the punch with a No. 1 song of her own with that title. And the title is hardly the only thing the two songs have in common.
As Rihanna already taught us, “Work From Home” is an emerging euphemism for—shocker!—sex. It’s about the sex a woman wishes she was having with beau as she impatiently (and naughtily) waits for him at home. And it’s about the sex they do have when he finally shows up.
The night hours drag on interminably for a young lady who’s burning up with desire for her man’s return. To pass the time, she wanders around the house sans clothes, snapping sexy selfies and sending them to him. “I ain’t wearin’ na-nada,” she tells him (and us). “I’m sittin’ pretty, impatient/ … I’m sending pic after pic, I’ma get you fired/ … I can’t stand these nights alone.”
And when he does finally make his appearance, these five singers unleash just about every vocation-related double entendre they can dream up: “Put in them hours, I’ma make it harder/ … ‘Cause baby, you’re the boss at home/ … Let’s put it into motion/I’ma give you a promotion/I’ll make it feel like a vacay, turn the bed into an ocean/ … Ain’t no getting off early.”
And if anyone’s somehow skittered past all that suggestive lyricism, Fifth Harmony then gets more blunt: “I just need your body/Nothin’ but sheets in between us/ … Let my body do the work.”
Guest rapper Ty Dolla $ign also cashes in with a misogynistic verse commanding his lover to dance like a stripper for him: “Girl, go to work for me/ … Take it to the ground, pick it up for me/Look back at it, all over me.” (And the gap in that lyric lets us skip over a graphic line that references the female anatomy.)
The song’s video features Fifth Harmony wearing revealing, formfitting outfits while undulating sensuously through a construction site. Predictably, they’re in Beefcake City, with the girls—and the camera—ogling shirtless workers’ ripped, sweaty chests and bulging biceps as the appreciative laborers return the leering favor.
Twerking and simulated-sex dance moves leave little to the imagination regarding what’s on everyone’s mind. And all manner of tools—from a hammer to a jackhammer, a cement mixer to a blowtorch—get reappropriated in obviously sexual ways.
One of the lines on “Work From Home” says, “I don’t need no explanation.” That’s mostly true of the innuendo-laden sexually selfish track itself. And it’s definitely true of the sultry song’s lusty video.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.