Rebecca Black’s debut single ‘Friday’ has unwittingly rocketed the teenage Californian into overnight stardom, dubbed ‘the worst song ever’ by critics worldwide. The song, a product of L.A record label ARK Music Factory, has received an unprecedented reaction on Youtube, boasting over 60 million views.
If you could pick a theme from ‘Friday’, it’d be that the weekend will be fun, fun, fun, and in this sense she does have a point. The song is accompanied by an awkwardly directed music video, which sees Black’s unfeasibly young chums cruising to their Friday night party destination. ‘You got this, we got this’ Rebecca implores, presumably referring to the massive joke we’re all meant to have got, and yet worryingly all sources point to this being a genuine production.
Friday’s creepiest moment comes in the form of Patrice Wilson, aka DJ Pato, who simultaneously manages to out-do Rebecca’s terrible lyrics and identify himself as a grown man who is on his way ‘passin’ by the school bus’ to an under 18s disco. Why there would be a school bus operating at such an hour remains a mystery. On first viewing, I had assumed his somewhat random inclusion formed a comment on the insistence of record labels to include a rap section in almost every song produced. However, on further inspection it appears ‘Pato’ is a regular fixture in most of AMF’s musical releases. Doubtless his novelty appeal will be gold dust for his career.
Black is certainly not afraid to make full use of auto tune-software, making her singing voice sound like she’s gargling the words through a satellite phone. For those of you who remember James May’s failed attempt to manipulate the sound of various car engines to sound like the Top Gear theme tune, this song will bear all-too-familiar connotations. However, not so long ago I seem to remember the furore surrounding Simon Cowell’s vocal airbrushing of X Factor hopefuls, and the wider debate it opened on the liberal deployment of auto-tune across popular music. In essence, Black’s song simply bucks the trend.
And herein lies the rub; Black’s unimaginably hopeless voice is not too far from the digitally enhanced tween-pop that has been so popular in recent years, most notably from teen idols Cyrus and Bieber. Are the lyrics from ‘Friday’ really that dissimilar from the average Black Eyed Peas offerings, who also revert to listing days of the week they enjoy? Is Rebecca Black actually that far removed from the pop stars that Cowell et al want us to consume? In fact, Black undermines the established order by exposing its gaping complacencies. Expect Derek Malinson to use it next year as his official Presidential campaign song.