friday i’m in love

3/20/11

I know I’m supposed to be writing about something else (and I’m 4-5 days late to this particular internet meme, since I was watching a sport I like on TV all weekend), but I’m curious what y’all’s response to this video is:

I’m sure many of you have already seen it, and you can do the research if you like (like on Slate or Salon or Rolling Stone or even Wikipedia), but I’m curious what bundle of genuine feelings this 3-and-a-half minute piece of media conjures. I’ll be the first to admit – it’s not entirely simple.

0 thoughts on “friday i’m in love

  1. Brad

    I think the song’s interesting. There are much worse pop songs out there. The chorus is catchy and I give it props for the weird robo-vocals contrasting with the good-time music and lyrics. When she says ‘fun fun fun fun’ it almost sounds sarcastic to me.
    The truly weak/funny part of the song is the bridge. “We we we so excited” and “and sunday comes afterwards”. Awkward.

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  2. Mark Chilton

    Ian, I think this song/video would be endearing in a certain way if only its production values were even lower. That is, the song sounds like it was written by a 13 year old girl (which i gather it was) and is intended to appeal to other 13 year old girls (which perhaps it does).
    The song clearly has lyrical problems (explored to excess on other sites), but I think the inane subject matter may well be a legitimate reflection of the life of a 13 year old girl (Should I ride in the front seat or the back seat?). Also, particularly in the area of pop music, there’s no requirement that lyrics have any gravitas.
    In pop music, the lyrics mostly just need to be catchy which parts of this song are. I would have advised Ms. Black to rewrite parts of it, but basically a lot of it is not far off the genre. I would say the lyrics are 75% of the way to where they would need to be for the for-profit pop music industry.
    The audio/video production is quite high (despite what the haters claim). It still has has a few glaring deficiencies (long-haired girls riding in the back of the convertible, but with no wind blowing their hair around). But overall the production values are probably 95% of what they would need to be for the industry. Likewise a lot of fairly professional audio production was done – mostly quite well by industry standards (as opposed to my personal aesthetics).
    I think the problem with the whole thing is that there is such a disjunct between the quality of the lyrics and the quality of the audio/video. If the video looked more like it had been done by her friends in her backyard, then the whole thing would look like an endearing (and even somewhat promising) first attempt.
    Alternatively, if the lyrics were redone to remove some of the most inane bits (eg the discussion of the sequence of the days of the week), then the entire audio/video package would add up to something that could pass in the industry. The fact that the song has reached such a broad audience (even if many of them are haters) proves that it mimics the pop music genre well (even if some of the details are weak).
    I am not saying I like this song. Personally, I prefer Tom Waits, but honestly I think the main difference between Rebecca Black and the Black Eyed Peas is that the Black eyed Peas have a budget that is 100 times larger than Ms. Black’s.

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  3. scruggs

    I found myself in pain trying to watch until the end. Awful. I think my 7 year old could write those lyrics. However, strangely enough, I’d much rather have our kids singing about having cereal, going to the bus stop, and deciding on the right seat in the car than about brushing one’s teeth with a bottle of jack or anything dealing with Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.
    As for my 7 year old, he’s tied for 8th in the NCAA pool, yet I am dead last.

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  4. Jodi

    I suspect we’ll see more of these. Isn’t this exactly what 13 year-old southern California girls are supposed to be doing? And at a price of $2,000? It’s better than I would think-

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  5. Bud

    Genuine Feelings:
    1) regret, that I wasted 3.8 minutes of my life watching this
    2) worry, that this may have sucked 2 or three points off my IQ
    3) slight creepiness when the 40ish rap guy comes on (is he trying to “party” with these children?)
    4) some sadness, because the song has an “is this all there is?” resignation about it, a feeling that sums up life in the consumer culture (and has for a long time) and a little more sadness for Gen Y generally, as they don’t seem to be having nearly as much genuine fun as we did at their age…
    5) bewilderment at the thought that anyone would voluntarily watch/listen to this more than once, much less pay to do so
    Those are my genuine feelings….

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  6. Greg T.

    It’s not a great song – I generally agree with everything Mark said above – but it is a vanity project by a 13-yr-old girl and nothing more. The production values are pretty good (too good?) for the $2k price tag.
    I am blown away by the level of hatred this has inspired. Why would someone send death threats to a 13-yr-old girl because of a bad video? This is the ugly side of our Tosh.0 culture where it is okay to openly laugh and point and you earn bonus points for finding ever more shocking ways to show your callousness.
    Some of the negative comments were focused on the $2k and what else it could have been used for. This is really not much different than the small studios that allowed people to come in and record an acetate demo for a small fee. Elvis paid $4 to record his first demos in 1953, I wonder how many thousands of others no more talented than this young lady recorded similar acetate demos. I think that $2k is not a big chunk of change for an upper-middle-class family. It’s not lunch money, but it’s only 3-4 iPads and millions of those are being sold with nobody sending death threats to those consumers because they didn’t use the money for more charitable purposes.
    The critics of this song should really take a deep breath and focus on something more meaningful – like supporting our Tar Heels when they play on Friday, Friday.

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  7. chm

    My first impulse is to deplore the parents for enabling this kind of public humiliation that, oh yes, is going to follow her well into adulthood.
    But I think Slate is right to point out that it’s caught on because, for some, it represents something super not-good about America. To name two possibilities:
    1. The ability of mediocrities like the Real Housewives and Sarah Palin to foist themselves on the culture in the current media environment. And as a corollary to that, the unseemly delight many take in ridiculing these sad specimens.
    2. Oldie but goodie: the emptiness of modernity (zzzzzz). This clip is catnip for a certain type of cultural critic–Richard Sennett, Matthew Crawford, the late Christopher Lasch–who get their panties in a wad about the decline of things like craft, community, reciprocity, and the whole matrix of values that supposedly kept shit together for the 10,000 years of civilization. I’m not as bugged by RB as I would have been as a seriously self-serious 25-year-old, but I’m not un-bugged. At the very least this does seem like an unusually pure distillation of the kind of cultural death one sees in Orange Counties everywhere. (Excepting North Carolina’s OC, of course.)
    In general, though, I think scenario one the more plausible.

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  8. dct

    I watched this cold–not knowing anything about the debate. And so, I just kept waiting for something to happen in the video that was controversial, like teenagers stripping or the rapper getting dirty with somebody underage. But, um, nothing happened. Don’t know why people are watching/talking about it? At one point, I did think, oh cute, they used real teenagers, so clearly I can’t differentiate between this and “real” videos. And umm, does anyone use the word “video’ any more?

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  9. Ellani

    I too saw this cold, without knowing any of the background debate. It didn’t seem much different to the (annoying) teeny videos that were around in the 80s. That this could really generate debate, is pretty surprising to me.
    Sure it is awful and awkward in all the ways that the saccharin teeny, girly vidoes have always been…
    The only difference that I can see, is it has been self-produced via a vanity label.
    As if the mere fact of having been picked up and produced by a major label is a sure sign of quality…

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  10. Mom

    Feelings? None, really. I’ve spent my life with creative, talented people, or people who wished they were or, tragically, people who were convinced they were. It’s pretty much standard stuff. This video (and the appalling living room version) has enough interest (cute girl, interesting story, catchy beat and one marginally interesting chord change that doesn’t quite make up for the one-note non-melody and cringe-inducing lyrics)) to get some attention. And once that door opens and something like this goes viral, there;s no stopping it. For awhile.
    But the thing that will keep this cute little girl who has learned a lot of beyond-her-years moves and has a winning personality, is that she has a really awful voice. She sings in tune and has the rhythm thing down, but her voice is sub-mediocre and grating. It just isn’t a good instrument. Maybe she should try acting. In non-singing roles.

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  11. Mairinpgh

    Years ago I read an article about some study which found the truly incompetent have no idea how inept they are, and in fact grossly overestimate their skills (or lack thereof), while the top 3/competent of those in the study were plagued by self doubt/underestimated their own skills. That article immediately came to mind when I saw this.

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  12. Bob

    Embarrassingly bad content, surprisingly good production values. Sort of reminds me of the Reagan Administration.

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  13. Anne

    @Bob: ROFL.
    Couldn’t watch the whole thing, so I missed the ersatz rapper dude. O well.
    What’s more interesting to me than the song, the girl, the production, yadda yadda, is the media attention the video has garnered. Can you say “feeding frenzy”? Why do presumably serious writers for legitimate media outlets feel a need to waste time deconstructing the video and its fans? Is our culture really so boring?
    Well, I thank Ian for posting this because at least now I’ll know what “Friday Friday” references are about. W00T for being au courant.

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  14. CM

    It’s harmless fluff. And people are mad about this? At least the girl isn’t dressed like a whore. Most songs on Disney Radio are like this.

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  15. LFMD

    God, I wish you had not directed me to the Slate and Salon links. Goddamn snobs! I am so sick of the elitist snark! This is the first video I have seen that shows real Tweens singing about innocuous topics. Is this girl on iTunes? If so, I will download the song so that my 11 year old daughter will finally be able to sing along with a girl who has not been sexualized in a video and has written age-appropriate lyrics.
    We excited. Goddamn right we is.

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  16. kjf

    oh that made me feel old. i am just trying to figure out my granddaughter’s obsession with yo gabba gabba…is this in my future?????

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  17. oliver

    I watched before I knew there was an assignment. About where they get in the car I surfed away in wonder, sadness, boredom and with a will to guarding my easy mood.

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  18. John Galt

    Reagan Administration? Funny; I was thinking Obama and his Campaign That Never Ends™.
    The presence of the black rapper guy is strange, especially with him driving solo when viewed alongside all the happy white kids “partyin partyin yeah!” Very very strange video.

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