I've never asked for your sympathy. Writing about pop culture and making fun of party photos is a pretty great gig, after all, and is a lot less stressful than, for example, teaching elementary school. So I don't, as a rule, tell people to feel sorry for me. But today, you probably wouldn't want to switch places with me, because I just had to listen to Orange County 8th grader Rebecca Black's inexplicably popular (note: anyone who uses the word "buzzworthy" should be hunted down and beaten without mercy) YouTube single "Friday" four times in a row in order to write this post. And I'm about to play it again. May God have mercy on my soul.
In a sea of plastic, pro-party pop music, it's tough to predict what will stand out. Of course, some things will always guarantee that a party record sells well, whether it's the endorsement of a hit-maker like Diddy, being related to Will Smith, or maybe you're holding a record executive's children hostage, which I hear is how the Black Eyed Peas got their start. In Rebecca Black's case, it seems the road to fame was a bit luckier- in an interview with The Daily Beast, Rebecca explains that the song was written for her as part of a package deal for Ark Music, a vanity label that lets kids record their own pop songs/music videos. And when the video hit YouTube, well, let's just say it's the kind of song and video that make you look around to be sure you're not part of some elaborate prank:
So what is it that makes Friday so uniquely horrifying? As many have pointed out, the lyrics are breaking fertile new ground in the field of shallowness. A lot has been made out of the part where she helpfully, if at length, explains that the day before Friday is called Thursday, and the two days that come after Friday are called Saturday and Sunday. If you ask me, however, that part pales in comparison to the cameo appearance from a 35-year old rapper who looks like Jerome Bettis and raps about following Rebecca's school bus in his car. I'm not sure how he planned to not sound like a registered sex offender with that verse, but it doesn't really matter, because holy shit he sounds like a sex offender. This is the part where I would look up his name on Wikipedia if I wasn't 100% confident that I will never need to know his name for the rest of my life.
And that's really the inherent problem with "Friday." No matter how harmless and laughably vacant the lyrics are, no matter how silly the video is, this is a song about partying sung by a 13-year old. Sure, it never gets more specific than "partying" and none of the kids at the party in the video are holding drinks, but what exactly do we think they're advocating here? The concern, such as it is, comes from the idea that by "cleaning up" party music for kids to sing and listen to, they're being sold the general lifestyle concept and then being told that in actuality, it involves drugs and alcohol. And I can only speak for myself, but having now heard this song six (!!) times, I need some drugs and alcohol. Like, now please.
Lucky for me it's Friday!