MUSIC REVIEW by Steven Gordon
A few weeks ago, friend of mine told me I HAD to see this one Youtube video. Let’s get one thing straight right now: no one ever HAS to see a Youtube video. You’re hanging out with friends having some nice conversation; everyone is having a good time. Somebody suddenly decides that everyone HAS to see this one hilarious thing their friend showed them. The rest of the room then has to begrudgingly crowd around a laptop; the Youtube Dictator spends an agonizing amount of time tracking the video down and nervously reiterating how “fucking hilarious this shit is” while the clip slowly buffers into being.
Anyway, the viral sensation I’m slowly getting to is the “Friday” music video. You’ve seen it – it was a pretty big deal for a few seconds back there. And it still is, judging by my Facebook feed.
The song is by Rebecca Black, who I’m going to say – without conducting any research whatsoever – is a privileged 15ish-year-old girl from an insulated, 99% white American suburb. I’m more than vaguely certain that she’s not a Legitimate Recording Artist, and that her parents probably bankrolled the entire project. Maybe her parents are in the recording industry, question mark? Who knows; who cares.
“Friday” is being widely vituperated as “The Worst Song of All Time” – because of its trite lyrical content and pop-cliché-laden video. It was featured on the Tosh.0 blog shortly after going viral, and there’s no shortage of media commentary coming in from all sides (ahem). It might even reach “Chocolate Rain” levels of notoriety before interest wanes.
The Song: An obnoxious, nasally voice through Auto-Tune over harmless radio pop. The words are about, like, how “it’s Friday,” and how “you gotta look forward to the weekend,” and stuff like that. In perhaps the most substantive line of the song, Miss Black reflects amusedly, “Yesterday was Thursday/ today it is Friday/ we we we so excited.” Spoiler alert: she goes on to list Saturday and Sunday in their respective order.
Yeah, it’s dumb. But you know what? It’s infectious. You get it stuck in your head. As far as music goes, that’s not too shabby, and as far as pop music goes, that’s true perfection.
And for some reason, you keep going back to it. All your friends HAVE to hear it.
The Video: There’s some Aha-esque pencil-line animation interspersed between live-action, some words popping on the screen, a bunch of dumb stuff. The action follows Miss Black as she catches a ride to school with some Bieber-mopped boys in Abercrombie & Fitch. They act like they’re glad that the week is over, but they’re not fooling anyone ‘cause they’re obviously the most popular kids there and they love every fucking minute of it. Anyway, TGIF, cause afterwards these heedless teens hit the town. And “town” is this magical place where dozens of Abercrombied adolescents roll up to a non-descript locale in depressingly expensive cars.
At one point, a 40-something, terrible rapper shows up to stamp some questionable “Cred” on the whole project.
What is he doing with these kids?! Coking up some jailbait to bang? And are these girls really allowed to be whipping around in boys’ cars at all hours of the night?! For Christ’s sake, they’re standing up in the back of a moving convertible! I hope their parents are watching this!
Ah, yeah, it’s a stupid, stupid video. But to be fair, the production quality isn’t that bad. Some vanity production company made quite a penny off of the Blacks. It’s really not that laughable if you throw it up against anything on MTV.
Look at you, though, Mr. or Mrs. Too Cool for School, making fun of a teenager. Sure, she can’t sing, and sure, the lyrics are terrible, and sure, the video is painful to watch. Sure, there’re a lot of dumb things about this dumb song, but there’re a lot of dumb things about a LOT of dumb songs. There’s no way this is “The Worst.”
As of right now, “Friday” has 42,128,246 views on Youtube. That’s a lot of fucking views. As a point of comparison, President Obama’s official Inauguration Address hasn’t even broken five million. I’ve watched “Friday” twice, myself, and God knows how many times you have. That’s a lot of Google Ads revenue. This video is going to pay for Miss Black’s college education. Or, rather: it’s gonna buy her a lot of designer handbags while she’s at the college her parents have already paid for.
So yeah, hate on it all you want. Feel good about yourself when you do. ‘Cause your Youtube video has forty-THREE million views. Doesn’t it.