For better or worse one of 2011’s most notable music stars is Rebecca Black, the California tween whose warbling of the inanity-filled ode to weekends “Friday” lit up the Internet—and nearly resulted in a slight recalibration of the formula for a “successful” pop song. (Awkwardly pronouncing a common word over the simplest sing-song melody = a sorely underexploited recipe for brain glue. Watch out for this tactic to be used over and over again in 2012, probably over thudding Eurohouse beats.) Her new video “Person Of Interest” has weird crime-scene imagery, a romantic counterpart who resembles a mirror-image Black, and lots of skee-ball shots. But is it designed for the express purpose of profiting off the Internet’s negative attention? Our mathematical analysis below.
THE ARTIST (5 points): Here is a somewhat sobering thought: It’s only been about eight months since Rebecca Black’s ode to getting ready for the weekend and stressing over where to sit in her friend’s whip, “Friday,” first bubbled into the Internet’s consciousness. She’s not releasing singles at a Rihanna-like pace or anything, but she has managed to keep her profile up just enough to make her new releases be considered “newsworthy.” Which is a trick not many pop stars can pull off these days! (5/5)
THE SONG (5 points): If you were ever wondering what would happen if Katy Perry’s self-conscious ode to getting totally crazy “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” got rewritten so that it rhymed the phrase “I like it” with the phrase “I like it” approximately 30 times and had a lot of weird crime-scene imagery swapped out for the threesome references, you should click “play” on the above clip. On the plus side, whoever produced the track laid off the really obvious pitch-sweetening this time out, so some of Black’s odd, somewhat endearing vowel-pronunciation nuances are still there. (4/5)
THE VIDEO (5 points): What is it with online sensations and videos set in amusement parks? Some weird attempt to capitalize on Standard Time malaise? This clip also has a weird “Rebecca Black arguing with the cops as if she’s been accused of a crime” subplot that somehow makes less sense as the video goes on and a love interest who seems to have been cast for his ability to look like an amalgam of Black and pre-haircut Justin Bieber. Neat trick. (3/5)
DIVISIVENESS (5 points): As of this writing the clip has 9,495 likes and 8,764 dislikes on YouTube. So close to a 50-50 split! (4/5)
VIRALITY POTENTIAL (10 points): The same-word rhyme scheme might inspire those people who frothed over “Friday” to give this passing mention as they’re running down their list of things they glanced at and keyboard-smashed about during the course of their browsing day. But in internet time, Black is sorta old news. (Sorry, Rebecca. Cheer up, at least releasing this now means you’ll probably get on a couple more of those year-end retrospective shows that are taping over the coming weeks! If you get on The Soup, tell Joel McHale I said hey.) (2/10)
“FUCK THE HATERS” QUOTIENT (10 points): Thank God she’s just singing inanities about infatuation this time out. Although the split-second close-up on the neon lights spelling out “D-I-S” is surely some sort of subliminal suggestion regarding her public profile… (1/10)
BACKLASH POTENTIAL (5 points): There is maybe a 3 in 100 chance that this song might somehow spark the backlash to the backlash to the backlash to the backlash. Wait, did I leave out a backlash there? (2/5)
THAT EXTRA JE NE SAIS QUOI (5 points): If nothing else, the drive-by YouTube watchers clicking on this clip today should amass themselves in great enough numbers to kick a few extra dollars toward Black’s college fund. And really, she should probably stay in school—perhaps she could study Internet culture! (2/5)
TOTAL: 23/50. Not trollgaze. And probably not likely to be covered by Perry on her tour.