A great pop single this, another clever twist on a still emergent song-type. Its genius lies in the way Amerie takes the now familiar mix of tumbling drums and jerky soul vamps and uses it to blow your standard self-help rhetoric wide open. 'Gotta Work' has no time for doubt except as a catalyst for future success -- 'When you're feeling low/And you can't get no lower/That's when you know you're close/Sometimes you gotta work hard for it'. Paired with Amerie's orgasmic delivery, these lyrics invoke a pliable paradise, one in which everyone has a dream and the means to make it real. All you've got to do is want it enough, to show the audacity to believe.
Like '1 Thing' or 'Crazy in Love' before it, 'Gotta Work' builds up so that by about halfway through the song the beat, vocals and horn sample sound like they're chasing each other round in frantic circles. While the relentless energy of those older songs was romantic/sexual in nature, 'Gotta Work' is less of a call out to a lover than a motivational speech gone somehow right. The inescapable impression that the song leaves is that it's possible to sing, shake and pose yourself into a new life. Every dream you've ever had can come true if you're willing to sing with the beat, to ride its stuttering flourishes all the way to pop-transcendence.
It's a stupid, beautiful fantasy, and it's yours for the taking every time you hear this song.