Rebecca Black is totally local (from Anaheim Hills) and totally 2011's Internet sensation. Even if you're reading this in print, there's a good chance you've seen her video, "Friday," online. The 13-year-old's ode to loving the weekend, replete with a made-for-her by Ark Music Factory video, has probably generated 20 million pageviews by now. It's spawned endless amounts of parodies, memes and talking points, plus a mall tour for Black and even 15 minutes of fame for the object of the lyric "my friend is on my right," Benni Cinkle.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 veteran Michael J. Nelson apparently was the key to this going huge; once he tweeted that it could be the "worst song on the Internet ever," everyone wanted in on the "fun fun fun fun."
Yes, it is a Frankenstein's monster of a pop song, fusing elements from all over the place—especially and obviously, the impact of Radio Disney (when Nick Jonas posted, "fun fun fun fun" on Twitter, it was an almost-perfect acknowledgment). And, Lord, yes, there's no question a lot of the attention comes from the fact, as a friend of mine said, this is all down to that universal factor: "gleeful fascination with watching someone crash and burn before their very eyes."
And yet? It's an earworm. What more does a pop song (hell, any song) have to be, and what more does any performer need to get a leg up but to create something that has that kind of impact? In all its sculpted-to-within-a-molecule-of-its-life, Auto-Tuned obsessiveness, it is, to quote another friend, "a cute pop song . . . no worse than, like, a back-to-school JC Penney commercial."
Which serves as another pointed reminder that, yeah, her parents paid for this ($2,000 to Ark Music Factory), it was all written and done for her, and so forth—but how many of us at 13 would have done any better? It's been a crazy and sad time for a lot of this world. Look at Japan's horrific situation, the cruelties in Libya and Bahrain, the government stupidities in this country and elsewhere—the usual. That's humanity. And if the offset of that has been a buzzing (or annoying, or both) silly little anthem to something that's been sung about in so many songs so many times—just getting to the weekend so you can have some fun—well, then, bring it on.
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This column appeared in print as "Today, It Is Friday."