Bitch (Meredith Brooks song)
"Bitch" (also known as "Bitch (Nothing In Between)") is a song recorded by American artist Meredith Brooks and co-written with Shelly Peiken. It was released in June 1997, as the lead single from her album Blurring the Edges. The song was produced by punk notable Geza X.
The song steadily rose on the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at number two for four weeks. The song reached number two in Canada as well. It debuted and peaked on number six on the UK Singles Chart on 27 July 1997 and stayed in the top ten for four weeks. The song was also a big hit in Australasia, where it reached number two in Australia and number four in New Zealand. At the APRA Music Awards of 1998 it won Most Performed Foreign Work. It also charted strongly on Europe; in Iceland, the song reached number three. It ranked at number 79 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s", and was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.
Writing and inspiration
"Bitch" was written by Brooks and Shelly Peiken. The song originated from feelings of frustration that Peiken felt in regards to her stalling music career. These feelings of frustration inspired the song's opening lyrics - "I hate the world today" - which resulted in Peiken conceptualizing a song titled "Bitch". Peiken reached out to Brooks to collaborate on this song, commenting that "[Brooks] had a lot of spunk, and I knew she could relate to this idea". The song was written in a single day in a spare bedroom of Peikens in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. In an interview with Billboard, Brooks described the song as being about self-acceptance, referring to the word "bitch" as a term of endearment. Brooks intended to reclaim the word, removing the pejorative connotations surrounding it. She further explained the meaning of the song:
Capitol Records was initially hesitant to release "Bitch" as the lead single from Blurring the Edges (1997) due to the song's explicit lyrical content. The label's vice president of artists and repertoire, Perry Watts-Russell, and producer Geza X both expressed their concerns about the song's lyrics potentially having a negative impact on its commercial performance. Peiken explained that the record label considered censoring the song, although she and Brooks convinced the label to release the song to airplay with the lyrics intact. Following the release and subsequent success of the song, Brooks commented that she felt that "Bitch" achieved its intended purpose of being a "celebration of Everywoman's multiple psyches".
According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing, the song is written in the key of A major and is set in time signature of common time with a tempo of 92 beats per minute. Brooks' vocal range spans two octaves, from E3 to C#5.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic cited "Bitch" as an "Alanis clone", critiquing the "semi-profane lyrics to the caterwauling chorus". Other music critics similarly compared the song to that of singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette with Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times, all making note of the musical similarities between Morissette's work at the time in comparison with "Bitch". Record producer Geza X deliberately sought a hit single that sounded like Morissette's songs, yet he was fired soon afterward even when "Bitch" achieved major success, due to conflicts with Brooks' record label.
In the United States, "Bitch" debuted at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the issue dated April 26, 1997. The song spent a total of 35 weeks on the chart, peaking at number two for the issue dated July 12, 1997. The song was blocked from the number one position for four weeks by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans' "I'll Be Missing You".
The music video was directed by Paul Andressen in Los Angeles, California. The video features Brooks on guitar while performing the song on a shimmering floral background. Throughout the course of the song, several objects typically associated with women are shown floating around the singer.
The song was performed as part of Brooks' opening set on The Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon Tour. Brooks left the stage early after the audience began booing and throwing bottles, batteries, and coins at her.
Track listings and formats
Credits and personnel
Credits and personnel adapted from Bitch CD single liner notes.
Certifications and sales
Covers and parodies
Chris Franklin version
In 2000, Australian comedian Chris Franklin released a parody of the song titled "Bloke" with the lyrics changed to reflect the stereotypical Australian male lifestyle. It debuted at number 15 on the Australian Singles Chart before eventually reaching the number-one spot and staying there for two weeks, becoming the twelfth-highest-selling single of the year. It received a platinum certification from the Australian Recording Industry Association for shipments of over 70,000. The song was later nominated for two ARIA Awards for "Best Comedy Release" and "Highest Selling Single", failing to win either.
Awards and nominations
Australian CD single
- "Bloke" – 3:50
- "Jack Off Australia" – 2:13
Credits are lifted from the Australian CD single liner notes.
- Chris Franklin – vocals, lyricist, producer
- Meredith Brooks, Shelly Peiken – writers of "Bitch"
- Gavin Charles – programming, arrangements, producer
- James Lomas – guitar, vocals
- Fiona Lee – bass, vocals
- Crib Point Football Club 2nd 18 Choir – additional backing vocals
- James "Oyster" Kilpatrick – engineer, producer
- Rod Stead – cover artwork
- Gavin Hansford – cover photography
American comedy music group Raymond and Scum parodied the song as "Blair Witch", a parody about the film The Blair Witch Project (1999). Kim Gordon of the band Sonic Youth has stated that their song "Female Mechanic Now on Duty" was inspired by "Bitch". "It's worth mentioning," says Kim, "that the song, 'Female Mechanic on Duty' was inspired by 'Bitch' by that famous Lilith-type female singer, Meredith Brooks. It's an answer song."
In popular culture
The song appears in the film What Women Want, in the scene where Nick sings and begins to try different feminine products for the company he works for. It was also briefly sung by Alison Hendrix, one of the clones played by Tatiana Maslany, in the 8th episode of the first season of Orphan Black. It is sung by the character Brooke Soso in the twelfth episode of the second season of Orange Is the New Black. "Bitch" was the theme song for the reality television series Chasing Farrah starring Farrah Fawcett.
Jane Lynch covered the song as character Sue Sylvester on Glee's final season episode, "The Hurt Locker, Part One". On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon listens to and sings the song while power walking in the episode "Sandwich Day".
The song is sung by the character Liz Ortecho in The CW show Roswell New Mexico.