For a long time, I’ve been concerned about how popular music trends tend to make teenagers look stupid and shallow. Now, pop music seems to have hit rock bottom with THIS video by Rebecca Black:
There are lot of things just WRONG about her “Friday” song that together make it worthless, though those faults might be forgiven if they appeared individually in other pop songs. Her singing is awful, the subject matter of the song is pointless, the lyrics are profoundly stupid, and the video is creepy because it features a black rapper following the white girl around (which is actually a racist stereotype; why tolerate that?).
Fortunately, there is evidence that the teenagers this crap was marketed to are rebelling against it. On that video I just linked to, there are 110, 000 “likes”, 450,771 “dislikes”. The comments posted on it are also overwhelmingly negative.
Teenagers everywhere need to tell the record companies to stop insulting them! Even Miss Black herself seemed to get the message:
Rebecca Black’s Friday video removed from YouTube
Dispute with record label prompts teenage singer to remove viral hit from worldwide video-sharing network
- Rosie Swash
- guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 June 2011 12.52 BST
She has amassed nearly as many “dislikes” as she has YouTube viewers since unleashing her debut song Friday earlier this year, but now Rebecca Black’s detested single has been removed from the international video site owing to a dispute with her record label.
Ark Music Factory, the company behind the teenager’s single, has given few details about what the dispute involves, but TMZ quotes a spokesperson for the singer as saying: “We can confirm that we submitted a Take Down Notice to YouTube as a result of the dispute we have with Ark Music regarding the Friday video.”
The issue is thought to involve Ark’s sudden decision to make Friday a “rental” video, in which users pay $2.99 (£1.85) to watch Black parading around in a convertible and generally looking forward to the weekend. This is thought to have caused disagreement between Ark and Black’s representatives over who owns the rights to Black’s image. Black’s mother originally paid Ark to write and produce the song and its accompanying video for her daughter.
Friday was released in March and became a viral hit either because of or despite its vacuous lyrics. Its chorus repeats the words Friday, and its verses list the many things Black does on that day: eat cereal, go to school, say Friday over and over again in anticipation of an amazing weekend. However, despite achieving 167m YouTube views, Black was also the subject of sustained internet abuse.
For those who have not yet watched the video for Friday, the song still appears in some forms on YouTube, including this acoustic performance.
The wonderful thing about the internet, I suppose, is that it becomes a lot harder to suppress stupidity. Copies of the “Friday” video keep popping up, and not just on YouTube. As the old saying goes, “You can’t unring the bell.”
Speaking of which:
Ah, that’s better, slightly.
But the insulting isn’t limited to that one song and video. Look:
Nice bit of name-dropping celebrities along with narcissism and shallow materialism, eh? This was made last year by the same company that made the Rebecca Black video this year. And it too has been overwhelmingly rejected.
But there’s more to come:
Is Lexi St. George The New Rebecca
If Ark Music Factory CEO Patrice Wilson has anything to say about, she will be! The man who turned Rebecca Black into an overnight sensation back in March has a new protégé named Lexi St. George, who was introduced to American audiences yesterday during a Good Morning America segment called “Instant Pop Star” (a name that, at least to us, doesn’t seem to place any sort of value in oldster values like “artistic integrity” or “career longevity”). The 14-year-old debuted her (unnecessarily parenthetical-laden) first single, “Dancing To The Rhythm (With Me),” on the show and, if you’ll allow us to damn it with faint praise, it sounds like just about everything else on Top 40 radio these days. Which is to say, it’s sung by someone with an appealing yet thin affect –think Katy Perry, think J. Lo– and, of course, its bridges and choruses are punctuated by sweeping, lite trance rhythms. It’s catchy, yet disposable, which sort of makes it a perfect pop song to play for your cadre of bleeding edge, irony-appreciating friends at a barbeque this weekend.
Lexi St. George reminds us a lot of Hermione Granger, if Ron Weasley‘s best babe decided to forego a career pursuing Defence Against Dark Arts and instead went the pop star route. She’s got clean-cut Everygirl good looks, and her dance floor skills would blend in perfectly at a junior high mixer. Most importantly, though, she looks like she’s having “fun fun fun fun” with her group of (hilariously) multicultural friends¹ in her video. Speaking of Rebecca Black, it’s too early to say whether or not Lexi St. George will experience the same rocket ride into the spotlight that Black enjoyed, but no matter what happens to her, you can bet that she’ll be the star of her school’s Homecoming dance come this Fall.
¹This is a stroke of evil genius on the behalf of whoever directed this video. The fact that she rolls with a posse that includes every single ethnic group imaginable screams “THIS MUSIC IS INCLUSIVE, DAMN IT!”
Lexi DOES sing better than Rebecca Black, but that’s like comparing the intellectual capacity of a rhinoceros with that of a chimpanzee.
It seems clear that the record company in question, in putting out the Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose songs earlier, was testing the waters to see just how low it could go in appealing to the teenage crowd. It has sacrificed them, so to speak. So why not go in the totally opposite direction and appeal to teenagers with the best possible singers, songs and videos?
Because that would lessen the profit margins of the record companies, of course! Remember, the basic goal of all private businesses, including record companies, is to make as much profit as possible. It’s because teenagers and younger children already have low expectations that record companies prefer to market products to them. This unwholesome trend reached its ultimate manifestation in the late 1990s with such manufactured pop groups as the Spice Girls (who were also poor singers), NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and many others.
And rappers like Eminem were also part of the problem. ANYONE can rap! It takes even less skill to rap than to sing badly, yet rappers also become popular and make millions???
Now I really need something better!
If you want to see record companies put out more beautiful and high quality songs like that by Josh Groban, teach your children from when they are in diapers to demand that too and to not tolerate stuff that makes THEM look stupid! Especially GIRLS. There is a reason why their self-esteem tends to drop when they reach puberty and now I think I see it clearly!
I don’t think that it is fair to categorize two ‘songs’ written as only a money making scheme, sold to mothers and then sung by untrained children in the same way as actual, adult (or even child) artists. They really aren’t the same thing at all. That would be like comparing the glamour shots I did when I was 19 to the cover shots on women’s magazines that were out at the same time. In fact, there is an exploitative undertone to what happened to these two teens that makes me very uncomfortable.
As for rap, I have to totally disagree with you, Dale. Not ‘anyone’ can rap. I certainly can’t. It requires a good understanding of rhyme, meter, poetry, imagery, metaphor, a good vocabulary, music, the ability to cleverly turn a phrase, etc. In fact, I would bet that there are a lot of classic poets and playwrights, including Shakespeare, who’s work could be set to a good beat, and sound, with a bit of an exception for the language differences, like a lot of rap today.
Michelle, I have no doubt that your glamour shots at age 19 were a lot more beautiful than anything sung by Rebecca Black or Jenna Rose.
You are talking about composing rap songs, while I was referring to the act of rapping itself. Granted, however, most rappers do write their own material, unlike many pop singers who do not. So score one point for you.
But my glamor shots were NOT anywhere near up to the standards of professional models, just like Miss Black and Miss Rose’s attempts are not up to the standards of professional singers.
I also would disagree that ‘anyone’ can perform rap. Go to a karaoke show and give it a shot. It isn’t easy, and takes skill. Those who are good at it make it look easy. Trust me, it isn’t.
And then I discover this crap by an “artist” named Nicki Minaj which makes Rebecca Black look halfway decent!
Now THAT has to be the worst song ever written and performed! The video sucks too!
Then see this:
And now I learn about the pervert responsible for the musical atrocities involving those girls in the original blog entry:
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Both Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose sought to atone for their past musical atrocities by making videos reacting to them.
Yes, you are both forgiven. No, those songs will always be remembered precisely because they SUCKED so much.
Another video dissecting that putrid phenomenon described in the blog entry above: