In this era of anonymous Internet ridicule, are we really the kind of culture that shares the music video of an aspiring teenage singer just to laugh at it? When the object in question is as bizarre as Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” the online community’s answer seems to be a resounding “YES.”
Coming from the L.A.-based Ark Music Factory (which is apparently pop music’s answer to Uwe Boll), Rebecca Black is the first teen singer to successfully marry the vocal stylings of Miley Cyrus and HAL 9000. While the video to Black’s debut single “Friday” had less than 4,000 views on Friday, in the last three days it’s racked up 2 million YouTube hits [UPDATE: It has soared past 5 million views as of Tuesday morning] and shows no signs of stopping. Watch it here:
Why are people so obsessed with an inept pop song made for tweens? It might have something to do with the bridge, where Black repeats the words “fun fun fun fun” with all the enthusiasm you would expect from a Catholic missal. She also has a particular way with delivery, making the word “Friday” sound like “fried egg.” And considering the song is called “Friday,” this means you’re in for a lot of fried-egg talk.
But as with any generation-defining anthem, the lyrics here are the real star: “Yesterday was Thursday/today it is Friday/tomorrow is Saturday/And Sunday comes afterward.” Wow! A singing calendar.
Even better is the verse fixating upon Black’s potentially life-altering decision about where to sit in her friend’s car (“front seat back, back seat, which seat should I take?!”) Listen, Rebecca, I don’t so much care about the seating arrangement, but next time snap on a seat belt, okay? I know you teenagers think you’re invincible, but all it takes is one wrong turn and you become the Ritchie Valens of viral-video pop. (Incidentally, the songwriters apparently thought the “front seat/back seat” conundrum was so salient that she had to sing it twice.)
While there’s no doubt that this languidly delivered pop anthem is bad, one might wonder: Is this really that much worse than a Miley Cyrus album track? Well, actually, yes. Yes it is.
But let’s be honest with ourselves: this video didn’t jump from 3,000 to 2 million views in three days just because people are laughing at it. No, there’s something sickeningly catchy about this tune that keeps you coming back for more. Before long it gets to a point where you’re listening to it simply because it’s been running through your brain for hours and you hope that playing it the 127th time will finally exorcise this Satanic confection from your soul.
There are already remixes and covers a’plenty of this pop-music aberration, such as the inevitable chipmunk version and a freshly-recorded “Bob Dylan” cover. There’s also a minimalist, Steve Reich-esque remix of Rebecca repeating the words “fun fun fun” for two minutes without interruption.
But instead of driving you away from the original, the reworked versions actually keep you going back to it. In the end, perhaps “Friday” is an example of warped accidental genius. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself after listening to this robotic, idiotic party anthem for three days straight.
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