Someone call Don McLean — we’ll be singing bye-bye to Miss American Pie very soon. It’s said that McLean was talking about the day Buddy Holly passed when he wrote his 1971 song “American Pie.” I say that’s possible, but I prefer to think that McLean was actually a time traveler. After a trip to 2011, he came back and sat down to write about the day the music died — or, rather, the day that Rebecca Black wrote the song “Friday.”
The video was featured on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” where its notoriety began. It then went viral, exploding all over the world and being watched by people who merely wished to ridicule it. Black’s lyrics, melody, voice and awkward dancing seeped into our brains and got stuck in our heads. To Black, the catchiness of the tune, and those who can’t get it out of their heads, represents a sort of poetic justice — those people who’ve made fun of her deserve to have the most hated song in the world stuck in their head. To listeners, it’s motivation for a homicidal rampage. (But don’t expect that to hold up in court.)
Maybe Black should’ve taken a note out of Ke$ha’s book. Ke$ha is one of the most well known artists on the scene right now. Black could really benefit from following Ke$ha’s example of ridiculous lyrics — many of which concern partying — boring melodies, annoying voice and heavy reliance on Auto-tune software. Ke$ha is a popular recording artist and Rebecca Black is a nothing. All she needs to do is take advantage of all the things Ke$ha’s taken advantage of.
Alright — quiz time. Have you studied? I’ll give you the refrain from a popular song. You have to tell me: What is the most hated song of the following?
A) LMFAO — “Shots”
Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots — EVERYBODY! (repeat)
B) DJ Khaled — “All I Do is Win”
Everybody hands go up — and they stay there, and they say yeah, and they stay there, up, down, up down. Cause all I do is win, win, win, and if you goin’ in, put your hands in the air!
C) Rebecca Black — “Friday”
It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend, weekend. Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday. Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend.
D) Ke-dollar sign-ha — “Tik Tok”
Don’t stop, make it pop, DJ blow my speakers up tonight, I’ma fight, ‘til we see the sunlight. Tick, tock on the clock, but the party don’t stop. (guttural sounds)
E) Rihanna – “Umbrella”
You can stand under my umbrella. You can stand under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh.
The correct answer, if you hadn’t guessed, is C. Did you pass? Good for you. You get an extra point added to your GPA. I’ll let president Mary Sue Coleman know. Power of the press, and all that.
What really sets Black’s “Friday” apart from the other examples is her annoying voice. Wait — Ke$ha whines her way through “Tik Tok.” But Black’s lyrics are more boring than the rest. Wait — LMFAO’s “Shots” aren’t exactly a pinnacle of lyricism. But her melody — wait. Almost every song on the list features passages where the vocal line rests continuously on one note. But her reliance on Auto-tune — never mind.
Well, now we’ve got a problem. What really makes Black unique? Why is she most hated? Ok, she spends the bridge of the song listing the days of the week. Yeah, that’s it. She says, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday.” Yeah, that’s it. She is stupid because she sang that. Or was that the Black Eyed Peas? I can’t keep them straight these days.
Now it’s starting to look to me as if Black is merely following the tradition of those brilliant artists who have preceded her. She’s not the outlier. She’s the culmination of all the music that has immediately preceded her. She was merely raised on the music of the party. She is where the music industry is presently. We shouldn’t hate her. We should glorify her achievements.
Popular music, thy name is Rebecca Black.
Eric Szkarlat can be reached at eszkarla@umich.