By now you’ve probably heard about Rebecca Black, the new teen pop singer who’s been terrorizing the Internet with her auto-tuned, android-like voice on the relentlessly mocked viral video for her song “Friday.”
I’ve been doing my best to refrain from chiming in with my own opinion on the singer, mainly, since my opinion greatly differs from the resounding negative criticism the singer has received.
Yes, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but Rebecca Black is not that bad. Relatively, at least.
If for some reason you haven’t heard of Rebecca Black, she’s a young teen pop singer who suddenly rose to internet fame after the release of her video “Friday,” in which she sings what many have criticized as dumb, senseless lyrics over a simple pop beat.
Some initially thought the song was a joke or parody, but further investigation revealed the video was released by Ark Music Factory, a company that produces videos for similar, unknown teen pop artists.
It’s true, Rebecca Black is terrible. Her voice and lyrics like Yesterday was Thursday, today it is Friday / We so excited we’re gonna have a ball today / Tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards are cringe-inducing and sadly hilarious.
Needless to say, Rebecca Black hasn’t exactly written the next “Imagine.”
She has, however, written a modern pop song. Admittedly, her chorus of It’s Friday, it’s Friday and Fun, fun, fun, fun isn’t what most would consider lyrical poeticism, but it’s not far from the mainstream pop songs being produced.
Singers like Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus and the elder crew (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, etc.) have been crafting pop songs with simple yet catchy lyrics for years, and, although they’re not necessarily music snobs’ artists of choice, they haven’t caused the same uproar as Rebecca Black.
I found myself laughing and shaking my head at some of the lines in the song, but I couldn’t help but realize many songs on Top 40 radio are not that different.
Black’s lyrics aren’t even that far from older, more respected pop songs. Fun, fun, fun, ’til her daddy takes the T-bird away is not that different from It’s Friday, it’s Friday … Fun, fun, fun.
If it’s Black’s lack of guitars and heavy use of auto-tune and simple electronic pop beats that’s making her such a mockery, that’s one thing.
But why choose Black to mock when others are doing the same thing and have been for more than a decade?
It’s hard to understand why there’s such a fuss over this particular video. Yes, the lyrics are horrible and her voice is awful, but it’s no more ridiculous than any other teen pop song. It’s simple and over-worked, yet catchy in its own, strange way.
There are actually some people on the Internet who are standing up for Black. On Rolling Stone’s website, Matthew Perpetua wrote an article entitled “Why Rebecca Black’s Much-Mocked Viral Hit ‘Friday’ Is Actually Good.”
Perpetua makes statements such as, “[Black] sounds like anything else in pop music,” and “[the lyrics] may not seem as ridiculous if, say, Katy Perry was singing instead.”
Though Perpetua generally pans the song in the rest of the article, he still maintains that it’s fairly similar to many other songs that proved popular.
Perpetua also makes a good point of calling into question the nature of pop, saying “Black and Ark Music Factory have made a video that forces its audience to reckon with a particular formula for pop music.”
Hopefully he’s right, and Black’s song will change the public’s opinion of pop’s simplistic, over-effected formula.
It’s more likely, however, the song will simply entertain Internet meme followers and then fade out of public consciousness.
But the amount of negative attention given to the video is undeserved. Black is dealing with it well, as she largely shrugged off the negative comments on her appearance on Good Morning America, and didn’t do so bad on an a capella rendition of the national anthem and an acoustic version of “Friday” during the segment.
If “Friday” has caused such an uproar, people need to start looking at the pop genre as a whole.
Will Hagle is a sophomore majoring in narrative studies. His column, “Feedback,” runs Wednesdays.