So the buzz with the morons on the Internet last week centered around this incredible music video, "Friday." If you're not on the Internet (good for you!) I'll provide a quick summary here. The video features a young singer named Rebecca Black, singing about the various issues with Friday. Musically, the qualities which one normally calls musical are not specifically present. Miss Black's vocals have been autotuned about seven levels past the boundaries of good taste, resulting in a chorus -- "Friday, Friday, Friday" -- which provoke the same mix of emotions one feels while listening to someone break in to a car. Offsetting these downsides are the lyrics, which can be described as nothing less than extremely accurate: __
Yesterday was Thursday (Thursday). Today is Friday (Party)... Tomorrow is Saturday. And Sunday comes afterward.
__ The video also features a rap. In short, it's not great. Comments page across the Internet have since been carpet bombed with insults and bold claims; it's the worst music video ever, many claim, apparently because they've never heard of Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time."
More distressing are the hurtful comments directed at the singer herself, whose, lest we forget, only crime was being a 13-year-old girl. Understand that in no way am I actually condoning the act of being a 13-year-old girl -- a regrettable and often high pitched offense. It's just not worthy of such vitriol. Rebecca Black is merely a girl who wanted to be a pop star. That's not an uncommon affliction amongst 13-year-old girls, and really the only difference between her and any other little doofus is that Rebecca had parents with $2,000 sitting around, waiting to be set on fire. It was only by giving their fire money to a company called Ark Music Factory that this train wreck of a pigpile of a song was made. So who are these people at Ark Music Factory? How is it they can take someone's money and give them bullshit in return, just like a common psychologist, and yet still walk the streets free? Do they simply not care about the damage their products do, like an arms manufacturer? Does it tear them up inside every day, like the guy who makes McNuggets?
This man has handled every McNugget you've ever eaten, and he's less happy about it than you are.
With a professional interest in how a company is capable of turning morons into money, I visited Ark Music Factory last week to do some research. There I met Daniel Peerman, account manager and dreamgineer, who explained to me a bit about how their process works. _________ Cracked: Can you tell me a bit about the services you provide? Ark Music Factory: I'd be glad to. Basically we provide professional song writing and production services to our clients. We're capable of creating songs and music videos from scratch, which many of our clients then use to help jump start their entertainment careers. Cracked: And you do this out of the good that is just constantly overflowing from your two-sizes-too-small hearts? AMF: Well no. We are a business, and these are for-fee services. Cracked: What kind of fees are we looking at exactly? What's your teen sensation package run? What is the market willing to bear for creating magic? AMF: Our basic full song creation and video production package is $2,000. Cracked: And people pay that? AMF: They do. Cracked: Is there, and I hope you don't mind me asking, any coercion involved in that transaction? Are you kidnapping anyone's pet to get them to pay that kind of highway robbery? Have you ever mailed the tip of a cat's tail to someone in the course of conducting your business? What would you say your annual costs are in pet limb postage? AMF: Our clients are more than willing to pay these amounts, and are highly satisfied with the end result. Cracked: Maybe it's just because I'm sane, but I'm finding that hard to believe. AMF: Well let me put it this way. You obviously get a lot of compliments on your looks, right? Cracked: Sure. Of course I do. AMF: I thought so. You have a very pretty smile. Cracked: Thank you. AMF: So you can see why music talent agents might be interested in you? Cracked: I've not considered it until now, but yes, that does jibe with several conclusions I've privately reached about how the world should work. AMF: And if one of these star-makers were to come knocking on your door, you'd want to have something to show them right? Something more than your pretty smile. Cracked: Thank you! AMF: I've been doing this for awhile, and I can't recall seeing someone with your natural effervescence. Cracked: I am sorry about that. I showered this morning, but the A/C in my rental car wasn't working, and I had my coat buttoned up.
AMF: No no. It's a good thing. It means you have a bubbly personality. Cracked: Oh ... and that's why I have those problems in the pool? AMF: What? No. OK forget what I said. I think that you could be the next big teen pop star. Cracked: You think the world is ready to hear what a 31-year-old white guy has to say on the subjects of dating and hanging out? AMF: No. I think they want to hear you sing on the subjects of dating and hanging out. Cracked: Even if my voice makes people feel like they have to get off the bus? AMF: I think your voice is perfect. Cracked: But the people on the bus ... AMF: They don't know talent like I do. Cracked: They certainly don't know politeness like you do. What about the topic of the song? Can it be something I'm interested in? AMF: Of course! What are your interests? Cracked: I know a thing or two about turning things into lists. And most of my free time is spent with model planes and perversion. AMF: Those are all good, but we'll probably be able to help you come up with something a little more universal. Something kids can relate to. Cracked: How about a song about how parents just don't understand? AMF: Also great. See, you're a natural! But like I said, let us come up with the song idea, and we'll leave you in charge of that pretty smile. Cracked: Thank you! But how will you come up with lyrics? AMF: We'd send it out to our song-writing crew. Cracked: Who's that? AMF: I really can't tell you. Cracked: Would this convince you? -pretty smile- AMF: Wow. OK. Sure. We've partnered with a language school. They get a group of ESL students to brainstorm a list of words related to the topic we give them. They're uncanny. We sometimes add a "baby" or a "party" here and there in the refrain, but otherwise what they come up with is pretty spot on.
Cracked: What about the music video? How will that work? AMF: Well, once we come up with the topic we'll base it around that. And then also add several scenes of a dance party. Cracked: Of course. AMF: You're going to be great in the video. The girls will just go wild for those enormous arms of yours. Cracked: Hang on. Are you lying to me? To trick me into making a music video with you? AMF: No! Of course not. Cracked: Because my arms are dangerously frail looking. AMF: No they're not. Cracked: My mom says I'll grow into them, but I'm like, "Mom, I'm 31, give it up." AMF: No they're great. Very, very, great. Better than your smile. Cracked: Thank you! AMF: Now are you at all concerned with looking too cool? Cracked: Never been a danger. AMF: In that case, I would suggest that we also include a rap in your video to add street cred. We'll throw a couple verses to our in-house rapper, MC Rhyme-So-Much, and I defy you not to be on the cover of Tiger Beat by this time next year. Cracked: You really think I could? I'm familiar with that publication thanks to the aforementioned perversion, and I know they don't cover just anyone.
I don't know who the old Shaun was, but I like this new one a lot.
AMF: I really think you could. Just maybe try to talk less when people start conversations with you. Cracked: Now you're really sounding like my mom. _________ So in conclusion, the good people at Ark Music Factory run an up-front and savvy business, and any criticism directed their way is misplaced. Any faults with the "Friday" music video lay with Rebecca Black, who, I have it on good authority, does not have a smile half as pretty as my own. And stay tuned to this space, because just as soon as I can convince management to lend me a credit card to pay Ark off, you'll be able to see a video here of me riding a BMX and singing basic truths about exam preparation tips. _________