I just got a press release about Rebecca Black and I couldn't help but write a post about "Friday," her remarkably horrid hit single.
This video has gotten almost 62 million hits since it was first posted on YouTube in February. What's the appeal? A song about something as universally enjoyable as Friday would automatically bag some hits, of course. But that this video has almost certainly gotten just as many hits from critics as fans. Everybody loves being reminded of just how bad music can be - and this is as bad as it gets. The beat and synths are generic, the singsong chorus obnoxious and amateurish. And when the lyrics aren't mind-numbingly inane (" yesterday it was Thursday / today it is Friday ," " fun fun fun fun ") they don't make sense. " Gotta make my mind up / which seat can I take?" Black sings, letting "take" stretch out before launching into the chorus. It's as though she thinks seating arrangements are not a mere afterthought, but the very foundation upon which a perfect Friday is based.
But where I hear bland electro-pop trash, record execs must certainly hear the sound of cash registers clinking. After all, Rebecca Black isn't an artist - she's the potential Justina Bieber. In the press release, Ean Mering of the digital media branding agency Pomegranate shrewdly acknowledges that Rebecca Black's allure has everything to do with demographics. In Mering's eyes, she might just be the savior of a struggling music industry - a golden goose in glossy red lipstick. He writes:
"Rebecca Black is a phenomenon, and as I watch the video I see the genius of it. The biggest issue the music business has faced the last fifteen years is how to make money when major markets are fickle and the overhead is so high... Rebecca Black could be an answer. Simplify the music, throw a young girl in there who is telling her story, and auto tune her to maximum. We also live in an age where a majority of songs coming from the big music companies is inappropriate for general audiences. This phenomenon could be fueled by the fact that it's totally appropriate for girls 6-18 years of age, and their moms are listening for sure. I highly doubt Britney Spears, Ke$ha, or Katy Perry's latest single is something the family can jam out to without having to have major contextual chats afterwards."
Is that exploitative? Sure. But hey, at least he's being honest.
Correction: This post originally reported that Usher appears in the video for "Friday." In fact, the man is merely an Usher lookalike. We apologize for the error.