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Doctor (Work It Out)


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Kristin Smith

Album Review

Big, chart-topping music–served by Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Willams.

These two superstars have released a toe-tapping single called “Doctor (Work It Out).” And even though this infectious dance track is technically new, it’s also been more than 10 years in the making.

The song was teased way back in 2012 while Cyrus was working on her 2013 album, Bangerz. Then, it was leaked in 2017. Still, the timing wasn’t right. So, to the vault it went.

Now that it’s available to the public, the song and its accompanying music video have gained over 5.8 million views in three days on YouTube. That’s a lot of views.

This song is, without question, meant to be a feel-good, dance anthem. It’s also doused with desire, soaked in sexual innuendo and peppered with light profanity.


Nary-a-one single thing.

Sure, if you don’t listen to the words, the beat most certainly makes you want to dance. But you cannot separate the song from the provocative, sexually-charged lyrics and seductive video.


And that’s where we’ll start. With the lyrics.

Miley tells this man that she is ready to be his doctor or nurse, with the sole intention of being the medicine he needs before he sustains any… injuries (“A midnight medication/Just show me where it hurts/I need to rock you baby/Before your body bursts”).

She’s ready to be the one who solves his issues (“Let lil’ mama work you out”), provided he’s on the same page. After all, she’s not going to dilly-dally (“Are you on the fence?/Don’t waste my d–n time”).

And it’s implied that he most certainly will be swayed by her one-time offer (“Take your sugar/And pour it into me”) by the night’s end (“I’ll slip, but I won’t slide/Don’t gotta be forever/Just together for the night”).


When I first played this song, I was certain it was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” It sounds so similar, I’m guessing, because Thicke’s song was also created with Pharrell Williams and has the exact same opening as Miley’s new hit.

But it was not the same song. And while it’s less problematic in some ways, that doesn’t make it better.

Miley’s song casts aside the references to sadomasochism as well as the winks at degrading women that the other track included.

In this go around, Cyrus is telling a lover that she’s ready to act out all the things she has in mind.

Those acts aren’t displayed on the song’s accompanying video, but the camera does get glimpses of Cyrus seductively dancing, wearing a leotard that reveals her thong, her buttocks and a fair amount of cleavage.

Apparently, that was the goal.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Miley says of the song that,

It completely embodies my spirit and my essence at this exact moment. And this song is really just kind of fun, and it’s not too heavy or heady or deep, and that’s kind of right where I am and my nature at this moment. And so it just feels really reflective of where I’m at, and that’s really what my music always does.

I can’t say that I agree with Miley. The beat is fun, sure. But the lyrics carry their own hyper-sexualized weight that’s sure to sway some listeners one way or the other.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).