Rebecca Black: What Happens When Teens Go Viral… and It's Bad [VIDEO]Carolyn Castiglia
7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends
These are some of the lyrics to 13-year-old Rebecca Black’s song “Friday,” the video for which has received nearly 6 million hits on YouTube, an impressive tally for an unknown who released the single just one month ago. Unfortunately for Rebecca Black, “Friday” hasn’t gone viral because it’s great – it’s gone viral because the lyrics are laughably bad. Metro Vancouver called it “the world’s worst song.”
To be fair, Black is only 13. (At that age, choosing between the front seat and the back seat is a really tough decision.) I don’t see how “Friday” is any worse than listening to a 10-year-old sing R&B about ice cream cones. The perceived difference, though, between someone like 10-year-old Heather Russell and 13-year-old Rebecca Black is that Russell feels like the real deal. When we hear Russell’s soulful cry about something she’s colored, we understand the seeds of artistry are budding inside her, and that when she’s an adult with some heftier life experience, she’s likely to blow the roof off the joint.
Black, on the other hand, appears to have the makings of another Britney Spears – someone who doesn’t really have much vocal talent or anything to say, but who is willing to say it half-naked.
Not that Black is at all sexualized in her debut vid; in fact she seems like a rather nice girl who grew up in a nice part of LA singing a nice song about fun – a word she uses 14 times in a span of three minutes and 48 seconds. Other words repeated multiple times include:
Friday – 27
Yeah – 21
Fun – 20
Weekend – 18
Partyin’ – 17
Despite the lyrical repetition, I think the song could almost be legit if it weren’t for the absolutely horrible bridge that takes the song from fun (fun fun fun) teen jam to instructional verse for pre-schoolers:
Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards
I don’t want this weekend to end
Normally, when a tween or teen artist releases a video like this, he or she can overcome criticism with love from a huge fan base, but it seems Black has little support online. Twitter is bursting with quips at the singer’s expense, like, “I hate when you’re late to school because Rebecca Black can’t make up her mind on which seat to take” and “I will smash every radio I own if I ever hear the words ‘Justin Bieber featuring Rebecca Black.'”
Music critics have been even less kind. Luigi Bastardo of Blogcritics lives up to his name when he writes:
With the help of the child exploitation gurus at Ark Music Factory, Black’s cheaply-produced music video for her nearly tone-deaf (thank goodness for Auto-Tune, eh?) monstrosity of a single, “Friday,” has gone viral since it appeared on YouTube in February.
The song has already been parodied by several YouTube users, most notably Mike Bauer, who took a page from Jimmy Fallon’s book by recording Friday in the style of Bob Dylan. (Fallon usually does Neil Young.)
So will all of this negative attention hurt young Rebecca Black? If her real life looks anything like this video, I doubt it. (I think it’s safe to assume the guy doing the rap verse will never work again, though.) No doubt Black’s parents will feel some level of remorse for exposing their daughter to this kind of viral criticism, but ultimately Ark Music Factory has to bear some responsibility for being willing to exploit just another little girl with a dream.
Black certainly isn’t the first teen to have been exposed to this kind of negative attention online. The “Star Wars Kid” is thought of as the first teen to have been mocked via viral video, and he has since gone on to become the President of a heritage society in Quebec and is obtaining a law degree. Cheryl Stein, a career coach in Montreal, says teens shouldn’t have a problem overcoming an online failure or viral identity, as long as they maintain a sense of humor and are upfront it. That’s good advice for anyone, actually. (I’m looking at you, fountain texting lady.)
Source: Metro Vancouver