The Ed Wood of tween pop.
By the time this topic is posted, there is a significant chance that Rebecca Black will be long forgotten from the face of the internet, a short-lived, one-off meme which died faster than it was born.
But on March 12, 2011, let it be known that this girl was all the rage on the internet, sent around Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. like wildfire. Awful, auto-tuned, pre-teen wildfire.
Who is Rebecca Black, you may be asking a week or so from this very day. Well, dear friends, Rebecca Black was a singer who came on to the scene with a single called "Friday," an ode to weekends, middle school houseparties and the decision on whether to sit in the front or the back seat of a converitible being inexplicitly driven by an eighth grader.
I know literally nothing about Rebecca Black personally, and frankly I don't want to. All I know is that she is one of the many young musical prodigies cranked out by Ark Music Factory, who will write you a song and make you a video and turn you into a star in exchange for enough of your parents' dough.
But this article is solely focused on her "music." Specifically, her magnum opus that has gotten her all this attention, her debut song, FRAYYYDAYY!
If you have not stumbled upon this video yet, I both encourage and warn you to watch it. You could say that it's NSFW, if you work at any office that values music as an art form. I cannot begin to stress through words how absolutely bafflingly, hilariously horrendous this video is, it's a video that just makes you ask, "why, why God, why did you put this girl on our earth, the earth you worked so hard to create?" before you begin to question whether he's even real, or if you're actually completely alone in the universe and that life has no inherent meaning, or perhaps, that the world is actually ruled by Satan. Seriously, how could this girl make such a terrible song about such a good day?
Am I exaggerating? No. No, I absolutely am not.
If you're not one of the several million people who have experienced the shock and aw that is the "Friday" video, brace yourself, because here it is:
MARION! DON'T LOOK AT IT! SHUT YOUR EYES, MARION! DON'T LOOK AT IT, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS!
Funny story: The first time I wrote this, this whole section got deleted.
I published it, it was fine, I came back, and the whole thing was gone.
It took me hours to write, and now it is gone, forever.
Seriously world, you have no idea how hard this has been, watching this god-forsaken video all night and trying to write something funny about it. It was hell. I had to watch that goddamn video twenty times in the name of comedy, and the whole thing is now gone.
Which honestly raises the question: Is Rebecca Black a hacker? (Rebecca Hack? Rebecca Blacker?)
Assuming none of you had the chance to read my original masterwork, I'll tell you that I (seriously) did a shot-by-shot analysis of the whole thing. By the end of it, I was feeling physically ill, with a severe headache (again, this is all real.)
Which means I'm not going to go back and do the entire thing over again, but, in the name of comedy, I'll give you a shortened version, listing from memory what I found particularly baffling about this video after watching it so many times:
"FRIDAY" THE 13: THINGS I NOTICED ABOUT THIS ABOMINATION:
1. She has day-related lyrics written on her calendar, as well as pictures of herself.
"Manic Monday"? "Tuesdays Gone"? A Monkees reference? Was that one for the parents, Rebecca?
We can only assume, had the calendar continued, it would have taken a turn to the violent, with Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
2. Rebecca is totally high in this video.
"Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal"? That can't not be a pot reference. Seriously, if the word "bowl" is used redundantly like that (cause you know, she's not gonna be eating cereal off a plate) it's definitely in relation to pot terminology.
Or maybe it's just bad lyric writing.
But the pot explanation would make more sense, since everything surrounding Rebecca goes in fast-forward while she stays the same. It bears a strong resemblance to this old anti-drug PSA:
3. The car is being driven by a boy no older than 13.
The now-infamous conundrum Rebecca faces is whether to sit in the back or the front of this absurdly nice convertible, and, despite being high, makes the right decision to play it safe, in the back. (Not that there are even any seats in the front, since shotgun is already occupied, but that's the least of this video's logical issues.)
4. The best actor in the video is this guy:
5. There is no indication that any of these young kids make it to school.
For all we know, Rebecca has just been driving around in convertibles all day. She inexplicably abandons her first group of friends for an entirely different car.
6. The second driver is even younger than the first one.
And what makes it even further scary is that, according to the lyrics, she is "drivin' on the highway cruisin' so fast." When a twelve-year-old girl with braces is speeding down the highway, at night, and your in the back seat, it's probably not a great idea to stand up, regardless of what day of the week it is.
But it gets worse:
7. The driver disappears, and the car is being driven ONLY BY HANDS:
8. The lyric "My friend is by my right, ay"
Doesn't seem too bad until you realize there are two girls, one on the right, and one on the left. The girl on the left gets no mention. Who is she? Are they not friends? Are her feelings hurt?
9. Rebecca repeats the lyric "which seat can I take?" even though she's already clearly made her choice: to stand.
10. Rebecca assumes the audience knows little about her favorite day of the week (Friday, FYI) but that they do know about the surrounding days, so she makes it very clear on where Friday lands in relation to them, and, as an added bonus, when Sunday will show up.
11. I'm sure this has been said enough already, but seriously, where does this rap come from?
Who is this guy, and what do his lane-changing misadventures have anything to do with the established narrative of a bunch of young teenagers partying in cars?
I guess it's all left up to your imagination.
12. Is it Christmas?
That's the only explanation for this choice of lighting:
13. Music is officially dead.
Seriously, it's just a matter of time until Glee does a cover of this, causing a rupture in the musical time space continuum and erasing The Beatles from ever existing.
It's passed the two million mark by the time of this writing, so I feel like I have to give my two cents on the sequel:
That's right. It was inevitable that with the thousands of parody vidoes that song has spawned, some of them would be "accoustic cover versions."
But Rebecca beat them to the punch. On ABC News.
First of all, this is news? And not even on one of the 24-hour stations where made-up news is inevitable, this was on ABC, one of the major television networks. And they aired what appears to be a home video of Rebecca singing in her living room.
A few things on this one:
1. I don't play the piano, but my piano-playing-friend tells me that the introductory shot of the piano does not match up with the music. That's right. They started this video off with a fake pianist.
2. Living room or not, Rebecca has very awkward stage presence.
3. What's with that guy in the white jacket who gets up and walks away at the 20 second mark? I mean, it makes perfect sense in a way, but it still looks really unprofessional and awkward. But what else is new, eh?
4. The audience. "Okay girls, we'll let you in for free if you promise to not laugh at her too much. I know it's hard, but seriously, try to control it."
5. You would think after a week of relentless mockery, she would have fixed her pronunciation of some of her words. She doesn't. It's all still "Fraeeday" and "I see my frans."
6. When she gets to the classic part about which seat she will take, her face is one of genuine terror. Like, we've been joking about this a lot, but it looks like it just got serious. Like, there's only one right seat, and the other is rigged with explosives.
7. At 0:55, she only says one "weekend" where there should be two. That's just annoying.
8. MVP of this video: the enthusiastic guitarist.
9. The guy has to conduct a "yeah" from the audience. That's just sad.
10. Of all the lines to mess up on, she screws up the "yesterday was Thursday, today it is Friday" part. Or at least, delivers it in the most awful way possible. "Yesterday was Thursdayyyy...To...day its Friday..."
11. And after that mishap, these guys start feeding her the words.
12. I dare anyone to listen to "I don't want this weekend to eeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEnd" without turning their volume down for a second.
13. There is literally nothing ridiculously awkward about this video. The first one was worth a few yucks because it was so bizarrely bad, but this version is so sincere and just so so very awkward that I almost feel bad for it...but I just have to.
So, we had the original version, then the "unplugged" version, which only means one thing is inevitably next:
THE DANCE REMIX!
Stay tuned for my review of that, folks!