Rebecca Black

As an aficionado of the atrocious, I thought I”€™d sneak a peek at Rebecca Black’s song “€œFriday.”€ For those too engrossed in such small matters as Libya to notice, the song has been almost universally derided by “€œnegative Nancies“€ as “€œthe worst song ever made,”€ “€œhilariously dreadful,”€ and “€œinept.”€ Even TIME shook its grizzled locks in disbelief.

The 13-year-old Californian chanteuse has been the target of innumerable scornful, bitchy, and even threatening messages from the music-loving mob. The song has gone viral with over 63 million YouTube views as of March 29, and despite all the criticism Becky doubtless has a career ahead. (She and the company have already earned some $1 million.) She has defiantly told critics she will not “€œgive the haters the satisfaction that they got me so bad I gave up.”€ Nevertheless obviously stung, she performed an acoustic version to show she doesn”€™t rely entirely on Auto-Tune and has said she will donate some of her earnings to charity.

The song is thin, adenoidal, and accompanied by”€”what else?”€””€œthe worst video ever.”€ But at least the lyrics contain chronological insights:

Gettin”€™ down on Friday…
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes afterwards

But life is not all partyin”€™. Important choices await we-we-we:

Kickin”€™ in the front seat
Sittin”€™ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

And even before that dilemma, urgent tasks must be performed:

Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

Thin gruel though “€œFriday”€ is, it is as good as thousands of other songs released every year. Had it not been for the hyperbole, I wouldn”€™t have paid it any attention”€”except to switch off the radio hastily if it took me unawares. The tune is catchy, Rebecca has a pleasant smile, her hedonism seems harmless, and the lyrics are at least as good as those of a lot of bands people idolize. “€œFriday”€ is certainly more meaningful than the much-vaunted U2’s “€œElevation”€:

“€œBut even while we-we-we endure she-she-she, we should remember that it could have been even worse-worse-worse.”€

I’ve lost all self control
Been living like a mole
Now going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high….

To return briefly to cereal, the well-known Pop-Tart Madonna also lowered the lyric bar in “€œI Love New York”€:

I don”€™t like cities, but I like New York
Other places make me feel like a dork

Only feel like? But then Ms. Ciccone doesn”€™t care what people think of her lyrics, and she trills feelingly:

If you don”€™t like my attitude, then you can “€˜F”€™ off

Madonna is not the only performer-philosopher. In “€œSpice Up Your Life,”€ the Spice Girls point out sagely:

Yellow man in Timbucktoo [sic]
Color for both me and you
Kung Fu fighting dancing queen
Tribal spaceman and all that’s in between

Speaking of spacemen, what vision does REM’s cerebral Michael Stipe adumbrate in “€œMan on the Moon”€?

Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Monopoly, twenty-one, checkers, and chess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

That is almost certainly the best song ever written about Fred Blassie.



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