Video: Pop music ends

I held out on posting about it for as long as I could but (a) we desperately need a palate cleanser, and (b) as yesterday’s dopey bully post proved, when it comes to news priorities, Obama’s right and I’m wrong.

Do I need to introduce this clip, incidentally? Is there a single HA reader who doesn’t know instantly from the front-page screenshot where this post is headed? When I checked the video’s YouTube page last night, it had somewhere in the neighborhood of 10.5 million views. Go see where it’s at now. The phrase “Rebecca Black” has been one of the top 10 highest trending terms on Twitter for a solid week, and an appearance on “Good Morning America” is in the works. It’s an Internet phenomenon on the order of “Chocolate Rain.” But why? Is it really that bad?

Pretty much, yeah:

Black, 13, certainly never anticipated the social media uproar, mainstream media hellfire, parodies, and remixes that greeted “Friday” as the video became nearly ubiquitous across Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. called the song–which provides a primer on the days of the week, innocently celebrates partying, and ponders the merits of “kickin’ it” in a car’s front versus the back seat from a wholesome teen girl P.O.V.–“a whole new level of bad” and “a train wreck.” Slate proclaimed “Friday” “disastrous” while Yahoo asked straight up, “Is YouTube sensation Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ the worst song ever?”…

According to Oliver Wang, a pop-music critic and sociology professor at California State University, Long Beach, “ ‘Friday’ embodies any number of current trends practically guaranteed to inspire a set of backlashes.” Among them: “music for teens, anemic dance tracks, Auto-Tuned vocals, super-trite songwriting and most of all, a resentment towards young people whose presence seems to disproportionately dominate social media.”

The first time I watched it, I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics so I missed the joke. It sounded like any other piece of tween bubblegum, basically a Miley Cyrus number produced in 10 minutes instead of 20. But now that I’ve absorbed it all — the “cereal” line, the monotone “fun, fun, fun, fun” refrain, and the immortal Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday chronology — I … still think it sounds like a Miley Cyrus number produced in 10 minutes instead of 20. It’s catchy as hell in its own goofy way, which helps explain why it’s now at number 54 on iTunes and climbing. I hope the poor kid makes millions from it; some of the mockery’s been so nasty and personal that she says she feels “cyberbullied.” She’ll have the last laugh when she and Justin Bieber open the MTV Video Music Awards by dueting on it. (That’s a prediction, not a confirmed fact, but just you wait.)

As for how this production came to be, well, that’s a long strange story, my friends. I’ll leave you to follow that last link and see for yourself how strange. Just know this: If you’ve got a little girl at home who’s dreaming of Miley-esque stardom, start saving now. After this, it’ll be “Friday” for every tween in the land. Three clips for you here, one of the video itself and two parody/tributes. The Dylan cover is my favorite.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023