It was a couple months ago that I was first introduced to the video of this special, special new song that has taken YouTube by storm. My husband preambled it by telling me it was basically the worst song ever.
I’ll admit I was skeptical. Could this really be worse than Kylie Minogue’s “I Just Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” or Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4U”? If you haven’t already, take a look and form your own opinions before I go bloggifying it.
I had to agree it was incredibly bad in many ways. My thoughts ranged thus: Nobody’s lip gloss looks like that when they wake up… Why is she only singing one note?… Seriously, we rhyme “bowl” and “cereal”?… Are we going to get a blow-by-blow of this kid’s entire day??… Okay, NO WAY are those kids old enough to drive… Um, even when you’re twelve you should be able to decide instantaneously which seat you’re gonna sit in… And that’s only the first 45 seconds.
I winced at her nasal timbre during the chorus. I cringed visibly hearing lyrics that somebody must have actually written down somewhere: “Partyin’ partyin’ – yeah – partyin’ partyin’ – yeah – fun, fun, fun, fun…” I shook my head at the awkward use of lingo (like “kickin’ in the front seat”) – and I’m OLD, what do I know about lingo? And my jaw actually dropped when I got to the bridge that explains the order of the days of the week. Just… wow.
I was also struck by the naiveté of this video, with its elements of something I would have dreamed of starring in when I was a pre-teen (and making up Sweet Valley High songs – which, though banal, had better lyrics). At that age, I didn’t actually want to be a pop star, but I did want to be gorgeous and popular and fashionable (I wasn’t) and seem grown-up (I didn’t, except perhaps with respect to my vocabulary). This video is full of things that make Rebecca seem more grown-up than she is: shiny makeup, friends with a car, sitting up on top of the backseat, wearing glam clothes and jewelry, going independently to a party where there are apparently no adults… As if it came directly from the imagination of someone un-cool, envisioning what cool looks like.
As you will have noticed if you made it to the end, the number of parodies of this video is truly impressive. I ended up watching this ABC News clip about reaction to the video instead.
It was shocking to me. I guess I just don’t have enough first-hand experience with cyber-bullying and the kinds of extreme things kids will say from the safety of anonymity. Wikipedia even says “In response to the YouTube video of “Friday”, Black began to receive death threats in late February 2011, specifically by phone and email. While there were a number of negative, and many violent, comments on the YouTube video itself, none of the comments were specific to Black or direct in their threat of violence. These threats are being investigated by the Anaheim Police Department. As of May 17, 2011, commenting on the video has been disabled.”
I also found out a few more things:
- Rebecca is thirteen, to turn fourteen in June.
- She began singing publicly in 2008, as part of Celebration USA.
- Her parents paid Ark Music Factory to make the video as a “vanity release”.
- The two guys in Ark wrote the song “Friday” in its entirety.
- Therefore, they are to blame for its being amongst the worst songs in the world.
- That trying-way-too-hard guy rapping in the video is also one of the Ark guys.
- No wonder it’s all so dorky.
In the news clip, Rebecca seems to me like a pretty normal, sweet girl who has suddenly had to develop (or at least pretend to have) a positive attitude about being treated horribly by people who have never met her. You can say she brought it on herself by a) having the video made and b) putting it out there on YouTube, but COME ON. No thirteen-year-old deserves to be told “I hope you die.”
The question that rises to my mind is, what kind of people are these who decide to go beyond the “Dislike” button and engage in cruelty? I hope they’re not adults, because that’s just pathetic and creepy. But even though I presume most of the commenters are kids around Rebecca’s own age, and I already know that kids can be really mean for no good reason, this is still way overboard.
I’ve had many a talk with youngsters about bullying and being mean, and there’s only ever been one (whom I fear seeing in the paper as a murder suspect in a few years) who answered Yes to the questions “Do you really want to hurt people and make them feel awful? Do you want to be a mean person?” My brain hurts when I try to imagine what kind of baggage a kid must have in order to get this angry and vitriolic about a simple, albeit dumb, music video.
If bad music were a valid reason for viciousness, there would be violent riots over Jan Terri:
Kids: if you find yourself wishing a bloody demise upon a complete stranger while you’re watching YouTube, you are watching too much YouTube. GO PLAY, right now. Go, scoot.
And adults: if you need something to get the taste of Jan and Rebecca out of your ears, here’s a hilariously intelligent, though exceedingly nerdy and dirty, alternative (if you find this one offensive, definitely don’t check out the rest of his videos):