"Worth It" was produced and co-written by Stargate (Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen) and Ori Kaplan, with additional writing from Priscilla Renea; it was presented to the group by Stargate. It was originally to be recorded by rapper Kid Ink, who ended up collaborating on the song, but the lyrics and melody were changed to fit a female perspective. Kid Ink noted during an interview with Forbes that while he was "writing on [Fifth Harmony's] album, [he was able to collaborate] with producers Stargate and Cashmere Cat" and this led to the development of the song. One of Kid Ink's verses from "Wit It" (the original version of the song) appears on Fifth Harmony's version. In interview to Complex, the member Dinah Jane explained how the song happened, "We walk into the studio—we were given this song—and it was basically Kid’s song. There were no females on the song. When Stargate gave us the song, we changed some of the lyrics and a bit of the concepts to make it fit our perspective. Then we went into the studio without thinking we were ever going to take it this far."
"Worth It" was released on January 15, 2015 but officially impacted radio as a single on March 2, 2015. Following the global success of "Worth It", a Spanish version titled "Dame Esta Noche" (Spanish for "Give Me This Night") was released to iTunes on July 10, 2015. The track features Kid Ink's English rap verse, while the girls of Fifth Harmony sing in Spanish.
Musically, "Worth It" incorporates dance-pop and contemporary R&B with influences of hip hop and Balkan music. The song contains elements from a variety of music genres, it can be noted mainly in its instrumentation which incorporates a Middle Eastern-inflected saxophone, trance synths and a trap-inspired Roland TR-808 drum machine. Songwriting and production is largely based on previous Kaplan and Stargate's productions, most notably Jason Derulo "Talk Dirty" which shows similar song scheme and use of horns during the hook. The song is written from the perspective of a woman telling a man that she's "Worth It", implying sexual connotation. However, it can be considered as a feminist anthem, according to Jeff Benjamin from Fuse it can inspire "young girls to truly believe they're 'Worth It' and can own Wall Street or any other place on which they set their sights". This latter view of the song is highlighted in its music video. Analysing the song, WODS Boston assistant PD/music director David "Joe Breezy" Armbrecht commented about its empowered lyrics, saying:
"Its message of self-empowerment, made clear in its triumphant "Give it to me, I'm worth it!" chorus." Speaking to women of all demographics. Whether you're in a relationship or just getting out of one, chances are you've been through a point where you hit that breaking point and said, 'I'm tired of the games. I'm tired of wanting and waiting. I deserve better, because I'm worth it.'"
It opens with saxophone sample that introduces the repetitive hook, where the group sings repeatedly the phrase "Give it to me, I'm worth it," backed by heavy bassline and "trappy beats" Followed by Kid Ink's rapped verse, MTV's Emilee Linder noted, he insists that they "bring it back like they left something." The member Dinah Jane then is introduced, backgrounded with handclaps Normani Kordei performs the pre-chorus (its performed by Ally Brooke after the second verse), while the second verse is sung by Camila Cabello who delivers the song's most suggestive lines, "Come harder just because/I don't like it, like it too soft/I like it a little rough/Not too much, but maybe just enough." According to the sheet music published by Sony Music Publishing at Musicnotes.com, the song is written in the key of C minor and is set in a 4
4 time signature with a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute. Fifth Harmony and Kid Ink's vocal range spans from the low note of G3 to the high note of Ab5. The saxophone's melody spans the tonal range of E4 to C6.
Rick Florino, from Artistdirect, praised "Worth It", claiming the song has "an empowering refrain that's impossible to shake, especially when coupled with a slippery beat." Rebecca Mattina, from Andpop gave the song a mixed review, noting too-close a similarity to "Talk Dirty" but also stating that the track is "filled with lots of attitude" and rhythmic bounce. Music Times gave it a positive review stating 'the intense, creeping music of "Worth It" is matched with deep harmonies from 5H and personally positive lyrics". They even compared it to Fifth Harmony's previous single, "Boss". FDRMX also reviewed it positively, mentioning that "the production is solid and the lyrics are catchy" and also stating that the single is Fifth Harmony’s most mature record yet.
Jason Lipshutz from Billboard wrote a negative review of "Worth It", saying that the song sounds "oddly incomplete." Lipshutz also highlighted the song's "repetitive phrasing." Amy Davidson, from DigitalSpy UK, noted that "trumpets and saxophones have experienced a resurgence [and Fifth Harmony] have laid it on thick for some serious sax-sampling. 'Give it to me I'm worth it,' they determine, dripping with sass." Davidson also stated, "It mightn't be the most groundbreaking of tracks, but it's got enough attitude to forgive that." For their year-end list of best song Associated Press listed it at number 3 and Spin ranked it at 68. Artistdirect ranked the song at number 1 in their mid-year report.
On the chart dated February 7, 2015, "Worth It" debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 82. On July 28, 2015 the song reached number 12 on its twenty-third week on the chart. It was the group's highest charting song at the time, but has since been surpassed by their 2016 single "Work from Home", which peaked at number 4 in May 2016. The song also debuted at number 37 on the US Mainstream Top 40 chart. It has since reached a peak of number four, becoming their first top 10 song on the chart. "Worth It" also became the group's first song to debut on the Rhythmic chart. "Worth It" has achieved triple platinum certification by the RIAA, for combined sales and track-equivalent streams units of three million. "Worth It" was one of only twenty-two songs to be certified multi-platinum in 2015 in the United States.
In July 2015, it reached gold status in New Zealand and the following month, was certified platinum in Australia. As of August 2015, the song has peaked at number one in Israel, Lebanon and Mexico, number three in Scotland, as well as the top 20 in Australia, Canada, Belgium, South Korea, Slovakia, Germany and France, becoming the group's biggest song worldwide. The song also peaked at number one on Shazam's Global Pop Chart. In the United Kingdom, powered by streams alone, the song debuted at number 81 on the UK Singles Chart, before moving thirty places up to number 51 the following week. After release to digital retailers, "Worth It" jumped up to number three on the chart, becoming Fifth Harmony's highest-charting position in the UK, but, just as in the US, has since been surpassed by "Work from Home", which peaked at number 2 in April 2016.
"Worth It" received two nominations at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards: Choice Song - Group and Choice Summer Song. It took the award for Choice Summer Song, but lost Choice Song - Group to One Direction's Steal My Girl. The song also received a nomination for Song of Summer at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The song lost to "She's Kinda Hot" by 5 Seconds of Summer. The category was fan voted, with a daily tracker keeping track of the number of social media posts the nominated songs received. The winner had over 53 million votes, with "Worth It" coming in second with over 51 million votes. The performance of "Worth It" earned the group their first award at the 2015 Premios Juventud for Best Performance of the Night. The song was also nominated at the 2015 MelOn Music Awards for Best Pop Song.
The music video premiered at the 2015 Kids' Choice Awards on March 28, 2015. It was uploaded the same day to their official Vevo account and was directed by Cameron Duddy. The video features the ladies in business-esque attire. Taking place in an office building, they are seen as CEOs and bosses, dancing in front of a stock market ticker. The video features many feminist attributes, as it shows women working and succeeding in a male-dominated world such as Wall Street, and statements flashing in front of the stock market ticket such as "women in power", "feminism is sexy" and "glass ceiling". Kid Ink is also featured in the video with attractive women near him as he raps. The "Worth It" music video earned Fifth Harmony their first Vevo certified award in July 2015. On 27 July 2016, the video reached the 1 billion view mark on Vevo. With over 1.35 billion views, it is now the 27th most viewed YouTube video of all time and the most watched YouTube video by a girl group.
The video begins with shots of the skyline of Hong Kong, where most of the setting takes place. An image of a stock market appears, zooming in on what appears to say, "@FifthHarmony women in power". The ladies then appear in silhouettes and begin walking confidently as men stand next to a wall, appearing to stand in attention to the ladies. Individual shots of every girl are shown, giggling and smiling at the camera, before switching back to the stock market background. The girls perform a choreographed dance move, and a Newton's cradle is shown being used, in rhythm to the song. The words "break through the glass ceiling" appear in stock market background, a reference to the obstacles that minorities, particularly minority women, have when climbing the corporate ladder.
The verse changes to Kid Ink, who is dressed in almost all-black clothing. He appears to be sitting in an office room with two attractive women approaching him as he sings. The women are dressed in business attire and are shown to have green eyes, known as a symbol for greed and/or jealousy . A man is shown cleaning Dinah's shoe, as she controls him. She then kicks him to show she is not controlled by anyone. The scene shifts to Normani, who is sporting a fashionable business outfit with a white blazer. She then dramatically stands up from her chair, while a man, who appears to be her accountant, looks at her in a frightened motion. Just like the women sitting next to Kid Ink, he also appears to have green eyes. All girls perform a dance move, when the setting shifts to Camila getting ready to play golf in her office. Ally is then shown with a man who also appears to be her accountant, similar to Normani. Lauren is seen in the back of a convertible black car with a man in the driver's seat. Each girl either flicks the man next to them or kicks them in frustration.
The ladies are now in the stock market background, telling their lover that they're "Worth It". They also seem to rush their accountants, who are continuously typing on their calculators. The words "feminism is sexy" appear in the stock market background, before switching to Kid Ink, where the women move in-sync to the rhythm as he raps. The camera zooms into the eyes of a woman, with her eyes appearing bright green. The girls perform more choreographed dance moves individually and as a group. Shots of all the girls winking their eye, smiling, and showing confidence are shown. The video ends with the girls facing away from the camera and looking at the stock market behind them, then turn around and move their hands upward, a similar ending to the group's past videos.
Lucas Villa from AXS wrote that the group "dons sexy CEO looks and busts a move in front of a screen with Dow Jones stocks. It's the perfect mix of work and pleasure." MTV called the video "surprisingly sexy" and compared the office look of the video to Fifty Shades of Grey. Christina Lee from Idolator praised the video for putting women in position of power. She notes the video's ambiguous message, but knows there is a "clear difference between women dressing for the male gaze and doing so for their own personal satisfaction."
Recorded at Westlake Studios (Los Angeles), Windmark Recording (Santa Monica) and The Hide Out Studios (London)
Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios (North Hollywood)
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Reflection.
On February 17, 2015, Fifth Harmony performed "Worth It" for the first time on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live. They performed the song on Live! with Kelly and Michael on April 13, as well as on the Radio Disney Music Awards which aired on April 26, 2015. The song was also performed on the finale of Dancing with the Stars on May 19, 2015. Fifth Harmony performed the single at Capital FM's Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium on June 6, 2015. While promoting the record in the United Kingdom, they also performed it on Good Morning Britain on June 5, 2015 and on CBBC's Friday Download on July 10, 2015. The group performed the song with Kid Ink for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 18, 2015, and this was also their first ever late night appearance.
On July 10, 2015, the group performed the single on The Today Show along with two other songs from their album. On July 16, 2015 the group performed at the 2015 Premios Juventud award show where they sang a mix of "Dame Esta Noche" (Spanish version) & "Worth It". On July 21, 2015, they performed with Kid Ink at the BET's Players' Awards. "Worth It" is also on the setlist for Fifth Harmony's Reflection Tour and Reflection: The Summer Tour. On August 14, 2015, the group performed the song with Taylor Swift at her 1989 World Tour in Santa Clara, California, as one of Swift's many guest appearances at her shows. Fifth Harmony also opened the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards, performing "Worth It" on the red carpet. On December 13, 2015, the girls of Fifth Harmony performed a mashup of "Worth It" and "Dame Esta Noche" on the season finale of the Latin American singing competition La Banda. "Worth It" is on the setlist for Fifth Harmony's performances at the 2015 New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; and Sunrise, FL Jingle Ball concerts. As a part of their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fifth Harmony performed "Worth It" at the outdoor concert series on March 24, 2016, along with "Boss", "Sledgehammer" and "Work from Home". They performed the song again on May 30, 2016 on The Today Show along with "BO$$" and other two songs from their sophomore studio album, 7/27.
The song is featured in the films Hotel Transylvania 2 and How To Be Single as well as the television shows The Mindy Project, Telenovela, Lethal Weapon and Mary + Jane. The song is also used in a PetSmart advertisement.Digital download
- "Worth It" (featuring Kid Ink) – 3:44
- "Worth It" (featuring Kid Ink) – 3:44
- "Worth It" (Non-rap version) – 3:05
- "Worth It (Dame Esta Noche)" (featuring Kid Ink) (Spanish version) – 3:43