You know, I actually found Rebecca Black kinda charming back in the day (“the day” in this case being, uh, March). Here was a girl who couldn’t sing, or who at least had a fascinatingly weird way of pronouncing certain vowels, and whose parents (perhaps to make up for that?) basically gave her a birthday present that was half fantasy camp, half karaoke booth at an amusement park—with the key differences between those old practices and Black’s clip for “Friday” being a) the worldwide dissemination offered by YouTube and b) the rise of “LOL Culture,” in which people love to travel in packs to various internet curios and point and laugh and then move on to the next big thing—it’s like a cross between a zoo and the worst high-school lunchroom ever.
And here is why it sort of sucks: With her new single “My Moment,” Black and her people have pretty much shaved off anything that could possibly be made fun of or mocked, instead replacing the girlish charm of “Friday,” which is inane but at least in a relatable way (and also poisonously catchy), with the not-even-good-enough-to-be-an-Idol-coronation-song “My Moment,” a song about, yes, being famous despite all the “haters” out there. Seriously?
Her voice sounds like it was poured out of a tube of off-white paint! The lyrics! See, when Chris Weingarten talks about crowdsourcing killing punk rock, he’s also talking about phenomena like this, where things that are legitimately interesting (and not as bad as everyone lets on—any of you who have ever sang along to “Friday” know that it’s at the very least potent as a pop song, which this pile of overcooked noodles is not) get sanded down for fear of sticking out too much, or at least attracting the notice of “haters.” If I were Rebecca Black I would have made a song about, I don’t know, March, or Winter Break, or something, and just embraced the fun that was evident in the lark-gone-nuclear that was “Friday” instead of this self-serious “don’t make fun of me” statement that is as defensive against potential detractors as it claims to be standing up against them.
Let’s not even get into the whole “behind the scenes” conceit of the video, because, seriously, girlfriend. SERIOUSLY.
Ugh. The Internet! It’s only Monday and I’m already so annoyed by it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2011