It’s Friday

I’ve not had much time to write my normal film review, but thought I’d review one of the latest popular music videos. Not due to its good musical style, but to its awful lack of it and immense popularity.

Rebecca Black is a previously unknown singer who has recently shot into the realms of the C-list celebrity due to the fact that a music video she recorded has now gone viral. At time of writing, her youtube video had received nearly forty seven million views and I highly suggest you see it too. Do not however expect anything ground breaking. The lazy lyric writing, completely non-descript tune and awful autotune combine to make something truly dreadful. Or at least that is the general opinion. Personally, I find it ok to listen to. It’s not particularly offensive to the ears; it’s more to the heart.

It’s a sad comment on the state of the current cultural norms of our western world. The meaningless trivial subject matter is the sort of things that people complain about twitter being about; what cereal I had for breakfast and should I sit in the front seat or the back seat. The awful lack of grammar is nothing new either, but the line “We so so so excited” is a personal low, sinking to depths only previously reached by Timbaland.

It is however Rebecca Black I feel most sorry for. In this post X factor world where new musicians are becoming more of a fashion than a serious career, I do seriously worry what happens to those who are hyped to be the next big thing, but turn out to be a one time medium sized single. How will this star cope with the negative feedback that her single has had, as I can’t believe she thinks of it as badly as we do.

This is why I hate and despise the X factor shows and those other “reality” programs that tantalise the entrants with the promise of fame and fortune. A record contract is a great thing and I don’t want to belittle the value of the prize. Its more the fact that the process is not one I approve of. The contestants are all shown as any good to watch TV soap character and I can’t really expect anything less, but that’s not who they truly are. Some of them are there just for a step up the fame ladder while others have genuinely been struggling to get a record deal for their whole life, despite being incredibly talented. That they have to resort to this public spectacle is saddening.

It’s the complete lack of creativity though that amazes me. They are there purely to sing other people’s songs and they’re musical judgement is entirely unnecessary, as it is the producers who call the shots. That is I think what has caused this atrocity. Whoever wrote and recorded this is not a talented musician and should not be allowed to mess up this poor girl’s career. She wants to be a singer, but has she had any training or have any musical skill? This scarily suggests not, and that’s why the chance to win free tickets to a shiny career of singing are a dangerous thing, as many don’t realise that those who win and last will have some awesome natural ability. They also have to work very hard for it and as long as you’re in it for the right reasons you’ll enjoy it. It should always be about creating and sharing what you’ve made and not the fame. That will be a possible result of talent but in these recent times has become a manufactured product of large marketing brands.

I now face the awful dilemma of whether to buy it or not. Part of me wants to support Rebecca, as although I can’t really judge her voice for all the autotune, I doubt she can be that bad. On the other hand, I don’t want to support this kind of art as it offends me, as you can see from my quite aggressive rant here. I will let you know what I decide. Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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6 thoughts on “It’s Friday

  1. A few things:

    1. no-one knows how much she is gaining from this. A lot depends on the contract with the agency who wrote, recorded and published the songs/video. see http://www.slate.com/id/2289341/

    2. she may have been “set up” as a viral by the agency, see http://www.reelseo.com/smell-rat-talk-rebecca-black-friday-viral-video/ for a marketer’s take.

    3. The history of popular/professional music is filled with people who had no creative input until they record it and perform it. Elvis. Sinatra. Most opera singers. Most ballet dancers. The singer-songwriters’ “authenticity” is a relatively recent thing. Just as long a history is the story of people being manipulated and ripped off.

    My tuppence worth.

    Steve

  2. CJ says:

    To be honest it sounds like a lot of the non-sensical manufactured music with a gratingly annoying catchy tune that the music industry seems to pump out a lot these days. I always find it amazing when you do to a live gig and find true and talented artists who love creating music, but who don’t necessarily want to be famous but pointed at a rack of their CDs and you’d probably seriously consider buying it. Unfortunately to me this kind of music just screams out that Rebecca was in the right place at the right time, managed to get in contact with the right people and really made a go of it. This music isn’t really my cup of tea, and I’m not sure whether it takes much talent to smile to a camera and sing “It’s Friday” over and over, with a lot of audio visual post-processing. Kind of like the type of song someone who sing to themselves, but it’s questionable whether the masses would agree. Then again I could be underestimating the poor girl, but as you said the true test is how well she sing in public (really sing, not just miming to a pre-recording), and also her next track.

  3. I have to admit I couldn’t really listen to it. The post singing effects were incredibly grating.

    It is sad to see someone agree to sing a song like this to be honest but if it’s what the world wants to hear it will sell well.

    Let’s hope she sounds better live as that will probably be what makes or breaks her career from here on in. It tends to be the bands that can sing live who have careers spanning longer periods of time.

  4. The thing I really should have put in the post above is this – her parents paid for her to have this done. It’s vanity publishing, a birthday treat. It was meant for her to feel like a pop star, to show off to her friends.

    Like those books which have your name as the hero.

    Like when we post pictures on facebook we think make us look like proper filmstars/musicians/models/etc

    She may have dreamed of making it big with the film, but it seems as though the tiny vanity publishers tried hard to make it a viral hit for all the wrong reasons (see second link above).

    I hope she (a) gets well paid for the trouble she’s been put through and (b) is able to move on from this.

  5. chrysalisloall says:

    Good points Steve. Had thought about it being just a scam, but that makes me feel even worse for her. I noticed that she appeared on the Jay Leno chat show after it had gone viral and responded to the negative feedback by saying she was affected by it at first and that she’s shrugging it off. Although she was performing live, she was still autotuned and miming, so can’t really judge her live performances from that.

    I think about your point of creativity in only the final stages is something I wasn’t aware of. When I create, I see the whole picture and just doing part to me is hard. I’d want the control to alter the whole, as I’m very concerned about the overall and how the details all join up to make the overriding impression. However not everyone is like that, and I guess that other people don’t see it that way. That is either my issue of being a control freak or my method of creating. I’ll leave that call up to the reader.

    The live performances is an important point, but I would worry about the proportion of the audience who are there to boo her. Its important to remember as well that she is only thirteen (despite how old the video makes her out to be) and so its very early on in her career.

    I was aware it was a present thing, done for her as a gift. She seems to genuinely think its a start of a career though, so I want to respect that, even though I hope she either changes it or changes her reasons for doing it.

  6. Ah, I didn’t realise it was a present to her. I’m sure if she’s serious about a career she will find some way of doing what she wants though.

    It must have been quite an expensive present though that’s for sure.

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