Monday, April 4, 2011

Working for the Weekend (Rebecca Black edition)

It’s not in my iPod, but I’m writing about it anyway. It’s become a strange obsession for me.

Song: Friday
Artist: Rebecca Black

I like to think I’m fairly on top of popular culture. Not always at the forefront (especially since we gave up cable), but you can mention Mad Men or Justin Bieber and there’s a pretty good chance I at least know the basics. So when I saw “Rebecca Black” and “Friday” trending on twitter (follow me here) and hearing it discussed on multiple days on the fantasy baseball podcast I listen to,  I figured it was something I needed to investigate.

A quick trip over to Youtbue and the search for “Rebecca Black, Friday” resulted in a music video. “How bad can it be?” I wondered. Granted, twitter users as a whole aren’t known for their sophisticated tastes in the arts, but apparently there was something to this young lady and her musings on what is generally considered most people’s favorite day of the week.

Yesterday was Thursday
What I learned is that I can be bad. Really bad. Bad to a level that hadn’t been seen since, well, let’s say a Justin Bieber song of your choice. But there was something about it that, for some reason, caught people’s attention and elicited comments about it. But as of Sunday night, her video has more than 80 million hits (click here to add to that total). The song and video brings up so many questions. Why does she go to the bus stop to wait for her friends to drive by? What kind of cereal does she eat? What state allows 13-year olds to drive? Why is there a random rap interlude in the song? Isn't a 30-year old rapper singing in a 13-year old girl's song just a little strange? Can that guy show his face on the street again? Is sitting in the front seat or the back seat that big of a decision? Can we all agree that auto-tune is not a good development?

So I was all set to jump in onthe mockery of this song and everything associated with it. That was, until I felt the need to further investigate this song (or read random sites that also had an unexplained fascination with it.) First, I found this interview with Ms. Black in which she explains the song is more than just a teenage pop song. It’s actually a multi-layered critique on modern society. When she sings about “gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal” she’s referring to the materialism that permeates American society. She also tackles the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and well as the broken promises to her generation.

Then, it what I initially assumed was nothing short of musical blasphemy, someone dared compare Friday to A Day In The Life by The Beatles. But upon further examination, it’s not as absurd as it seems. Honestly, The Beatles’ lyrics aren’t all that inspired and while they’re better than Black’s, they aren’t that much better. There, I said it.

And finally, no blog about Friday would be complete without mentioning the Stephen Colbert/Jimmy Fallon cover. It apparently started when Colbert told his audience that Jimmy Fallon would match a $26,000 donation if Colbert’s audience could raise that amount for charity. Only he forgot to mention that fact to Fallon. So Fallon upped (lowered?) the stakes by promising his audience that Colbert would perform a cover of Friday if Fallon’s audience raised $26,000, again, without telling Fallon. After Fallon’s audience came through with the fundraising, Colbert, “being a man of Jimmy’s word” kept up his end of the non-existent bargain and gave us this enjoyable four minutes of television. It also answers the rarely asked question, "whatever happened to Taylor Hicks?

In about two months, no one will remember this song ever existed. Honestly, if I actually waited until Friday to post this it would already be horribly outdated. But for now, it’s been an enjoyable diversion from real life.

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