Over the weekend, Rebecca Black became an instant Twitter sensation, thanks to a music video for a song called "Friday." Its been mocked incessantly. Its been declared the end of pop music or, to some, the end of civilization as we know it. And I, for one, can't blame them for reacting this way. Before you continue reading, watch the video below. It has to be seen to be understood.
How could this song be terrible? Well, let's count the ways. There's her terrible voice, which AutoTune has only worsened. There's the Everest of music-video cliches that never relents. There's the vapid-to-the-point-of-disbelief lyrics that sound like the scattered musings of ten-year-old daydreaming in class. There's the pained acting that looks as if these extras were picked up minutes before the shoot began. There's the bored look on just about everyone's face. There's the bizarre rap cameo. And there's the fact that this thing actually exists, as in real people put real effort into this song and video, spending real money on it because someone, somewhere thought this was a good idea.
I've watched this video six times so far today, and I have come to a conclusion. This isn't the worst video ever made for the worst song ever written. This isn't the end of pop music. This isn't the end of the world as we know it.
This has to be a post-modern commentary on modern pop music. Here we have a singer with no musical talent recording a song, with her voice AutoTuned and backed by a slick beat (sound familiar, Britney Spears?). Her lyrics are far from deep, singing instead about the most inane things imaginable and pretending like they're profound statements (hello, Ke$ha). And this comes accompanied with a tame, dumbed-down rap break to appeal to the masses (just like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Usher, Spears, Ke$ha, Jessie J...well, pretty much anyone who's made a pop record in the last 15-odd years). All over a music video that is meticulously dull with very little set-up (not so much the case nowadays, since everybody's trying to out-Gaga each other, but remember how videos were before 2008?). Which makes "Friday" a brilliant piece of satire: Black's put a face and a voice to how mind-blowingly dumb pop music can be, taking it to banal extremes to show us how this same drivel is currently flooding the Top 40. Black's the Andy Kaufman of pop music, casting herself as another pop tart whose lacking voice can't be fixed without a little help from a computer. And the craziest thing is by hype alone this could end up being a huge hit, which would invite all kinds of philosophical musings on the nature of pop music's relationship with society.
Because she can't possibly be playing this straight-faced, right?