Why Rebecca Black fascinates us, and why the mashups suck

Adina Goldman's analysis of Rebecca Black's popularity, the lameness of the parodies and mashups it's engendered, and her own relationship to the vision in Black's video is revelatory and incisive, and points to the existence of a new relationship with irony:
We're left with a fascination with our fascination over something so banal. We are amazed by how quickly something we don't enjoy looking at is suddenly something everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is looking at. It's not the viral item of the moment as much as it's our behavior around it that has us yapping. It's the virtual equivalent of "eeeyuch, does this milk smell bad to you, too?"

But there's something else about this viral item in particular that has me paying attention. None of the inevitable mash-ups or parodies of the original have managed to nail it. So I'll throw my hat into the ring, help Rebecca Black rack up a few more viewings on her YouTube page, and tell you why we are not going to get a parody that tickles us as much as the original.

It's a pitch-perfect portrayal of a certain kind of tween girl's fantasy life by an actual 13-year-old girl. It's the mirror dance with the curling iron. It's wholesome and direct. It's exactly what I, at 13, projected being a teenager would be like. Instead of Bat Mitzvah lessons, I would be headed for some vague (but funfunfun nonetheless) weekend adventure with my friends. In a car. With cute boys. And I would kind of be a pop star. With supershiny lip gloss. Why are we being so cynical about this? It's too honest to fit the parody mold. *, **

Why we will never see a good Rebecca Black parody video


  1. The general lack of expression in their eyes, and the slight staccato motion when, for example, she walks out of the kitchen, helps create an eerie atmosphere.

  2. I’ve heard of this meme, but not heard the meme, can someone point me to the original and a good mashup or whatever this meme is supposed to be about?

    1. That Awl piece is fantastic! Also @mercilessrobot, how has bad lipreading not taken over the internet yet?! It’s amazing!!! YEAH!

  3. Rebecca Black – “Friday” (Brock’s Dub)

    is more enternating than and parody or the original

  4. My favorite parody BY FAR for this is “Friday” by Rebecca Black, as interpreted by a bad lip reader. It is insanely funny and the only part of the song it keeps is the video.

  5. I think there is one more thing being lost in all the hubbub, this song is a crazy earworm. I had this song stuck in my head for the whole week after hearing it. It’s crazy. Make it stop!

    1. You poor soul. I hope I never get a bad song like this stuck in my head that long.

      Then again, I sometimes get Venus in Furs stuck in there for a week at a time. Writing this started it again, too…

      augh, save me!

  6. All I know about this song is that several Facebook friends have posted the video, describing it as beyond-the-pale awful.

    How could I possibly watch such a bad video? I’ll never know why they mock it so.

  7. Maybe at some point in the dark recesses of History there were works of Art that did dwell above parody. But not now, not today. Anyway, I would think that most “parodists” of Ms. Black’s song and video do it for the ever-elusive YouTube view counts. Honestly I put Black’s lyrics in a class with The Shaggs (“My Pal Foot Foot”, anyone?) and at first I thought the whole media blitz (surrounding the song) was some sort of grand RESIDENTS prank. That being said,”Friday” is a wonderful song on every level. How is it NOT a wonderful?!

    1. YES! I was thinking “My Pal Foot Foot” too. She’s just a lesser Wiggins sister with a youtube account (and sketchy label backing of some sort).

    2. Count me in as another one who heard it and thought of The Shaggs. Yay! Foot-Foot for the autotune generation!
      I now have a copy lurking on my iPod under the “Party Over – Everybody Leave Right Now!” playlist.

  8. Sorry, but that’s complete crap. All the parodies I’ve seen have been hilarious. Don’t act so hoity toity, “wholesome fantasy by a 13 year old!” indeed! What’s really going on here is exploitative parents who paid a production company to make a crappy music video of their talentless daughter in an effort to make her the next Miley Cyrus (because THAT always turns out so well). If she does become a “star” at 13 (which I think is unlikely considering how truly awful she is) she’ll crash and burn like Miley, Britney, and all the others in 5 years. If she doesn’t, she’ll have this following her around for the rest of her life–with every job interview, internship, college application she fills out people will Google her name and think “Oh, *that* girl.” And that, to me, is what’s so disturbing about all this, that her parents could be so abominably stupid and short sighted.

    1. “What’s really going on here is exploitative parents who paid a production company to make a crappy music video of their talentless daughter in an effort to make her the next Miley Cyrus”

      Actually I’d be willing to be it’s a spoiled teen with rich parents just doing whatever she wants because it’s her “dream.” That being said, I have no idea where she’s from or what her family’s like.

      1. My feelings precisely. How many BoingBoing readers would have given anything for their parents to send them to space camp when they were 13, despite having no chance of really becoming an astronaut? I don’t see any differences here.

  9. i also just read that amazing ‘Arms So Freezy: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” As Radical Text’ by Dana Vachon on the awl. which absolutely nails it.

  10. Honestly, I must be getting old, in that I can’t see how this young woman’s silly little ditty about how exciting Friday is for her and her friends is any more or less ridiculous that, say, the entirety of the “Black Eyed Peas” catalog?

    Come now, show me the depths in N*Sync or how Ke$ha truly speaks to the modern soul like am American Dostoyevsky.

    Silly little pop songs sung by fresh-face kids, for other kids kids, about kid stuff set to catchy beats. It’s been making money for the music business for a half-century or more

    1. Let’s be honest, the real reason people feel very comfortable picking on this video? Easy target.

      1. Precisely. General meanness, a bit of what Samuel Taylor Coleridge described in Iago “Motiveless malignity”.

        I’ve overheard grown adults, with small children of their own, discussing this girl’s song like it’s tantamount to a war crime. Bizarre.

  11. I doubt that this will get through moderation.

    This song reminds me of all the people who made grade/middle school a living hell. This is the fantasy of the “kill it because it is different” crowd. The people who will throw rocks at you from a moving car, or who will not stop their friends from doing it. The people who will swerve to hit you because you are a pedestrian. The people who hate gays because their parents/pasture told them to. The people in this video are the ones who created the conditions that lead to school shootings. I don’t see anything that is particularly charming or innocent about this.

    1. Sorry middle school sucked for you :(

      This video and everything about it is completely out of my sphere of experience entirely. I guess it’s a middle class suburban kid thing. I can’t even say kids like this made my middle school hell. Kids like this didn’t GO to my middle school.

    2. Don’t you think that’s a little… overreaching of an assumption?
      (above comment wasn’t meant to be a reply to mgfarrelly)

  12. Quick, everyone hit (artist) Robt. Williams with emails, so he’ll toss his opinion into the ‘public’ domain. I expect to see an article by him on BB within 12 hours. Come on, people, get crackin’!

  13. The Bob Dylan cover is brilliant. I don’t think the actual video is entertaining in the least, really.

    And maybe this kind of agrees with the post, but I think the video would be entirely unremarkable if it simply aired on TV and the internet didn’t exist. It’s awful, but it is kids’ music.

  14. The ‘piece’ seems to be confirmation that the Abyss actually has limits. Maybe the ‘producers’ reverse engineered the stuff from various bits of satire and parody (IE Kids in the Hall, Monty Python, Ambrose Bierce)… dreck, regardless.

  15. It’s fascinating because the song is basically “Let’s Go to the Mall”, but for real. This girl is actually the Robin Sparkles of her generation.

    Hopefully, if someone asks her about it 15 years from now, she can look back and laugh, and say, “Oh yeah…I was 13 and an idiot, but it was sort of fun.” If not, she’s in for a pretty rough ride.

  16. …she’ll crash and burn like Miley

    Say what you will about the talents of Miley Cyrus, I don’t think her career has reached the “crash and burn” phase yet. She’s currently doing the whole “transition to adulthood” thing.

  17. I’m so glad to see yet another new generation discovering Bob Dylan.
    Looks like another No. 1 for Bob.

  18. Perhaps Ms. Goldman should take a lesson from the song and cut out the navel-gazing. It’s the only thing adding less to human knowledge than the song itself.

    Besides, the premise is DEMONSTRABLY FALSE, as Team Coco proved:

  19. I agree that many of the parody songs are just as lame as the original, but I have laughed and consequently snorted liquids through my nose at many of the memes, gifs, and whatnot that have sprung up in the wake of her rise to stardom.

    This whole debate reminds me of a girl who lived down the street from us in 1976. She cut a 45(rpm) and got it played on the local radio station for a few weeks. She fully expected to go on to instant stardom, but it appears nothing further happened after it faded from our consciousness. I do wonder what might have happened if she had done a similar thing in the present day?

    Now that the internet grants even the worst talents full availability to (and attention from) an audience, it’s not surprising that mediocrity has become the high level of achievement these days. Neither side–performer nor audience–has to work as hard anymore to find appreciation or distraction, so the reward level is not as preciously sought nor prized.

  20. Obligatory dubstep mix:

    But why does Charlie Sheen fascinate me???

    Can I get a Thunderdome cage match between Sheen & Black?

  21. > the entirety of the “Black Eyed Peas” catalog?

    Yeah totally. A giant media corporation financed a song and video which profoundly asks, “What you gonna do with all that junk inside that trunk?”, it’s promoted by another giant media corporation, millions of consumers voluntarily pay tens of millions for it, and somehow, that whole process of utter and total cultural suckitude doesn’t provoke anywhere near the hatred Rebecca Black inspires. Girl and her family self-produced this thing on a shoestring totally DIY. Her mom thought the lyrics were odd, but Ms. Black said “But that’s how I wrote it”, and stuck to her vision. Compared to Black Eyed Peas, Rebecca Black is fucking Fugazi.

    1. Compared to the Black Eyed Peas, Rebecca Black is still Rebecca Black. Both equally inane.

      I don’t think Rebecca Black is “hated” in the way that a lot of people hate Justin Bieber. It’s mostly just funny.

      Also, not sure where you heard that it was self-produced since it was obviously produced by the Ark Music Factory.

      And she’s from the OC, not some small, poor town in middle America.

      1. I don’t think Rebecca Black is “hated” in the way that a lot of people hate Justin Bieber. It’s mostly just funny.

        It’s kind of like if you have a friend who sings really badly at karaoke, you sort of laugh and have a go at them but you’re also kind of happy for them to do it because they have fun doing it. There’s a sort of affection for Rebecca Black that you wouldn’t see for someone older and better funded.

        I’m actually amazed at the quality and quantity of parodies and responses that have come out of this one unremarkable video, it’s really tapped into the zeitgeist, entirely by accident, and all this stuff that was bottled up in our collective heads is just flowing out.

    2. Girl and her family self-produced this thing on a shoestring totally DIY.

      They paid a vanity music production company $2000. That qualifies as self-produced and DIY?

      Awful music video is awful. Bash the Black Eyed Peas all you want, but at the end of the day they still have two things Ms. Black doesn’t: Tone and rhythm.

      1. “Bash the Black Eyed Peas all you want, but at the end of the day they still have two things Ms. Black doesn’t: Tone and rhythm.”

        Nah. The big difference is that the Black Eyed Peas manage to achieve their high level of awfulness with the backing of major studios and millions of dollars, while Ms. Black did it for just $2000.00 and at 13 years of age.

        Oh, and from what I can tell, Ms. Black seemed not to have peed on herself throughout her performance. So there’s that.

        1. Yeah, you’re right. Multiple Grammy winners that started as 8th graders and didn’t have to get their parents to pay somebody to record them have nothing on an 8th grader whose parents had to cut a check to launch her “career”. Because a good measure of talent isn’t how much people are willing to pay to hear you perform; it’s how much you’re willing to pay to make people listen.

      2. “They paid a vanity music production company $2000. That qualifies as self-produced and DIY?”

        Compared to whatever it cost to produce, distribute, and market “My Humps”, the song and video — I’m guessing low seven figures — shit yeah, it’s DIY.

        And this is interesting: After two years of being online, the official YouTube upload of “My Humps” has been seen 47 million times. In under 2 months, Ms. Black’s “Friday” has been seen… 44 million times. It’s easily be 50 million by April. DIY Stupidity FTW!

        1. Compared to whatever it cost to produce, distribute, and market “My Humps”, the song and video — I’m guessing low seven figures — shit yeah, it’s DIY.

          Wanna see my DIY Toyota? Somebody else built it, but it’s a lot cheaper than a Bentley so it must be DIY. It’s the fuckin’ Fugazi of cars, man!

    3. I’m sorry, I believe you mistook what I was saying.

      I don’t see the difference in quality of music. They’re both saccharine pop-tunes. Cute, sweet and silly. And yet this young woman is getting derided as if she violated the graves of Elvis and John Lennon.

      Kiddie pop is nothing new. The Monkees? Frankie Valli? Fabian? The Nelson Brothers? That this young girl has used the tools of the age to sell her song without the record labels is lovely. I’m just curious why people need to hold such hatred for what is clearly a beloved form of music? For some people anyway.

      1. @mgfarrelly Oh, oh you’re dating yourself there! (Hanson brothers anyone?)

        Interestingly the first girl to write a US#1, a 1958 recording by Ricky Nelson, was Sharon Sheeley. She was 18. There were very few teen songwriters back in those days, because a whole lot of adults were hired to write songs for teens. Other adults sat behind the boards and, usually, played some of the instruments. Teens then were exclusively a market, not a creative force. How soon we forget.

        So now that many of them have the technology to realize their own songs, people will have to forgive them for representing themselves without giving a rat’s ass whether adults are into it or not. This will piss off a lot of people, and threaten adults … just as Rock did 50 years ago, and Swing did 30 years before that. And oh how the adults squealed with anger back then.

        Sharon was 18 when she got her hit. No doubt Ms. Black will “do better” in five years. Unless she’s been convinced she has no talent at all.

        1. Hanson and N*Sync would be about my era actually, I had to dig a bit for the rest I will confess.

          Sparked by this posting, I watched a snip of an interview with Rebecca Black. She seems cheerful and taking it all in good measure. If it was me at 13? Oh, I’d have fled the country by now.

    4. “Compared to Black Eyed Peas, Rebecca Black is fucking Fugazi.”

      I agree with that. In years past, there were always silly, “fun” pop songs that were wildly popular — Louie, Louie and Wooly Bully come to mind — and Friday seems more honestly “fun” than anything by any number of acts, including the Peas.

      Plus, deciding whether to live life in an assertive, proactive way (riding in the front seat), or taking life as it comes (back seat), is actually an important thing to figure out — whether you’re 13 or not.

      1. “Compared to Black Eyed Peas, Rebecca Black is fucking Fugazi.”
        Agreed. Which indicates that the BEP’s must not be very good, because Fugazi suck. They lose all potential points for ‘Needless Waving of Arms’, and for helping to spawn ‘direct-action’ as a barely thought out lifestyle choice for suburban kids with enough sense to get that they’re being screwed around, but not enough brains to find out by who. So they try to ‘behave’ the way their favourite hardcore band might want them to behave. Now they dress like characters from a Wes Anderson submission to Sundance, and affect a semblance of culture. I want Steppin’ Razor to cut ’em — hard :)

  22. I decided to look up the first kesha video I could find, and see if it was better.

    It’s obviously more expensive… but then again, shes making out with a costumed guy acting rediculous. I see little difference, except blacks song has some bad writing.

    and to the guy who said britney “crashed and burned”… did he mean made millions?

  23. Note to Adina Goldman: If your article’s premise hinges on the fact that ‘Friday’ is “by an actual 13-year-old girl,” it might be wise to determine if that is demonstrably false before posting. Ark Music Factory produces an emergent genre of vanity music video that is simultaneously awesome and awesomely bad, precisely because it is a regurgitation of what tween marketers have sold as an idealized tween life since Adina Goldman was a tween. And I still say ‘My Jeans’ is a worse song with an inspired performance, and that Ark superstar CJ Fam is actually awesome.

  24. It’s like a train wreck… But in this case it’s so bad it’s good and back to bad again.

  25. Quite honestly, for its market it is not a bad video nor performance. The problem is that whereas there was little interaction between adults and pre-teens when it comes to music, those walls are disappearing. Is this so bad compared with music targeted towards 5-10 year olds? It isn’t. And 8 year old girls wishing they were 13 year old girls wishing they were 18 year olds would love this.

    But saying this is a bad video is similar to parents of young kids who are forced to listen to the Wiggles days in and day out. Their kids LOVE it, the adults want to die. Sure they would tell their friends how much they can’t stand it in private, but here it’s being done very publicly. It’s great that communication falls in some respects, but in this case it’s a shame these worlds are clashing so and it’s being taken out on Rebecca Black.

  26. what happened to when something sucked we just said so and called it a day? all this over-analyzing of “crap” is well, CRAP.

    twitter feeds, charlie sheen, ICP, etc – why try to get depth out of something that has none?

  27. It’s Friday Friday Friday. Yesterday was Thursday Thursday Thursday, the day before was Wendesday Wednesday Wednesday. That is my criticism/parody.

  28. I Tubed it for the first time today. And my Cat left my lap and walked out of the room a minute into it. I don’t know what this means….

  29. Wait, she’s actually singing? All I can hear is one big long autotuned monstronsity, which these days, is par for the course.

  30. regarding recent comparisons to the Black Eyed Peas in the online internet blog known as BoingBoing, according to Rebecca Black: “I’d pee!”

  31. I’m so confused. I had never heard of this before, and the proclamation that EVERYONE knew about this made me feel left out from the internet. Then people in the comments mention Bob Dylan, and I don’t see the connection anywhere (and yes I watched the video… had to skim through a few parts).

    What the heck is going on?!

    That said, those that claim not to see the difference between this and other pop marketed to teens must be tone-deaf… the 50’s and 60’s stuff had decent writing and nice melodies, and the singers were chosen for their singing voice not just because they were attractive. You wouldn’t necessarily listen to it all the time, but if you hear a song on the radio by The Monkees, Frankie Valli, or anyone else mentioned as an example in the comments, you wouldn’t turn it off right away and you would probably enjoy it at least a little bit.

    And Black Eyed Peas? The only song I can recall by them is the one about being “Crrrraaazzzzy”. While I thought the song was irritating, especially since it was so over-played, I could appreciate that there was artistic talent in it despite them being very commercial-oriented. I don’t think Black Eyed Peas are anywhere near as bad as this and I’m not sure why W. James Au is so dead-set against them.

    This song (and the video) are really, really bad. If it was actually self-produced rather than being high-gloss, it wouldn’t be so bad and I bet a lot of people would actually like it. But as it is, it’s an extreme example of polishing a turd (cue links to Mythbusters), which we all know happens quite frequently in the music industry. No amount of polishing can improve something this bad, though, and in fact it makes it worse by highlighting how bad it is. Same thing you get by throwing millions of dollars of special effects onto a movie without a good script and with bad acting (e.g. Star Wars prequels) while a movie with a bad script and bad acting with no budget can be fun to watch (e.g. 50’s horror B-movies).

    I bet the people who produced the video were suppressing laughter the whole time, and laughing their asses off back in the editing room (because their pockets were lined with money they got for such an awful product).

    1. Sorry for double post, but re the Bob Dylan comments, the song was originally written and performed by Bob in the 60s some time, but never got an album release. Ark re-arranged it as a pop number for Black.

  32. I totally agree with Mgfarrelly.

    Were she a 20 year-old with tits and shaking her half-naked butt, the general public wouldn’t be talking about her writing skills.

  33. … which is really quite wonderful, actually.

    Wish I could track down the ultra-rare Velvet Underground cover that came out not long after Dylan’s original acoustic version (someone posted the link already), and I’d especially love to find the take with the Band from the Big Pink / Basement Tapes sessions.

  34. “… which is really quite wonderful, actually” referred to the uke cover linked in #57. Dang cross-posts!

  35. Horrible. Maybe 8 year old girls might like it? O.K; lets break this down. As of this comment there were 44,075,303 “views” with 70,235 likes and 595926 totaling 666,161 votes. So what about the other 43409142?I believe the difference represents what I did, abandon with disgust, I didn’t even vote. In the end, no vote at all is the worst vote, millions of people felt those few seconds were a complete waste of time. I lasted 36 seconds.

    Oh, if my numbers are right, only about 1.7% liked the song.

  36. The lyrics are the height of vapidity, but it’s just a silly song with aspirations to the perfectly respectable bubblegum pop genre, coming up a bit shy of the commercial quality threshold. Many of the songs I cherish as classic oldies contained no great philosophical musings, they were just fun little earworms.

    I do agree with the quoted author, this is just a teenage fantasy given form via the application of a parent’s money. I do think this particular work comes slightly pre-parodied, but several of the parodies in this thread made me laugh out loud, some made me think. A parody of almost anything can work with the right delivery.

    Also, this seems relevant :


  37. I’ve never heard her name or seen her photo before this moment here on Boing Boing. None of my meagre social circle seem to know any about this or if they do, think it is worth passing along. So I’m being introduced to the virus through a discussion about the virus …

  38. Her MTV makes me wonder why there are so many unemployed Americans. I mean look at the lyric. This is the proof that anyone with zero talent can become song writer.

  39. Goldman may “mean EVERYONE is looking,” but this everyone is not looking. This everyone does not even know who Rebecca Black is, not even after reading the BB piece.

  40. Guess Adina Goldman missed Andrea James post of Matt Mullholland’s version last Saturday right here on BB! http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/19/if-meat-loaf-had-a-s.html

    Brock’s Dub is also quite good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzfQwXEqYaI

    Not sure if I agree with this statement: “It’s a pitch-perfect portrayal of a certain kind of tween girl’s fantasy life by an actual 13-year-old girl.”

    Fairly certain Ark Music Factory (especially ‘Pato’ Patrice Wilson, whose cameos and vocals are prevalent throughout all of their videos) had some major influence in what this ‘fantasy life’ would consist of. See their other ‘Factory’ productions. Theyre all just as terrible and unoriginal as ‘Friday’ with a minor semblance of what a pseudo high-production value video shoot would look like. (i.e. add glow, increase contrast, color correct, time remap, snappy editing).

    Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey have basically applied the typical pop-idol format you’ve seen with other pop acts such as Spears, Mandy Moore, Aguilera, etc, but have geared it directly toward the ‘tween’ market, but without being under the veil of the giant mouse.

    Perhaps this is where the ‘fascination’ really lies. The marketing of adolescents. It’s got all the gloss and shine of a modern day music video, but with a creepy seedy undertone, much in the way of child pageants.

  41. I didn’t think the song was that bad. It wasn’t great art by any stretch of the imagination, but I found it at least listenable.

  42. How is this even on here?

    That was truly the worst garbage I’ve seen on the internet so far in 2011, and I see a lot of garbage.

    I’d never even heard of this person before but that video just made me cringe hard.

  43. Well, in a roundabout way I suppose I thank Ms. Black for introducing me to The Shaggs Philosophy of the World via boingboing.

    But after reading about The Shaggs I’m struck by what a *depressing* story it is.

    Reminds me of the movie Dogtooth :(

    1. You mean Patrice Wilson, the guy that owns the production company and made the video? I think he is perfectly OK with being the “token rapper,” whatever that means, since he created that role for himself.

  44. Pleaaaaase! Who uses the word wigger? Get real champion. As for the mashup i liked it but my neighbours couldn’t stand it. Or was it the volume? Whatever… it’s kinda like those street posters of Usher and Kobe. They’re all over central & they’re famous! What else could it be?

  45. I enjoy the original without irony. It is very well done. It is catchy and original. I suspect that there is some girl hating and posing going on in the hating of it by some.

  46. I’m sorry but there’s something so beautiful about this, and I say this as a cynic. she is really meaning it and enjoying it and you can see that on her face. despite how stupid it is (seems like an instructional video for internet-addled teens too stupid to know the days of the week without googling them, at least to me) I think there something totally sincere here. and that is astonishing, and that’s why it is so compelling. it’s totally sincere.

  47. lol, as if “gotta have my bowl” is referring to cereal. You know the Ark guys had a good laugh while writing this.

  48. She has something in common with Elizabeth Taylor…both are very attractive. The sine qua non of the entertainment industry.

  49. Wow…so many comments…

    I’ve polished my share of shit in the day and paid my bills making music for folks who suck (but could pay). I would do everything I could to make them sound the best they could. We didn’t have auto-tune back then used reverb to hide hide vocal sins. We also walked uphill both ways to school.

    It’s one of those things folks on many levels of the music industry do, and the folks who produced this seem to have it down to a science. Seriously. Say what you will, artistically bankrupt and auto-tuned as it may be, for $2K the production values are pretty good considering the talent level I suspect we’re dealing with (after consulting the youtube). I think it’s much better than the karaoke kiosk at your local fair (given the state of much tween pop music) and someone, somewhere here is talented. Probably not her, but she has sold an ironic number of songs. Hopefully the talented folks didn’t have to put up with all this for only $2k and will capitalize on the opportunity and stop polishing shit for $2k.

    Just my un-ironic two cents. Shake your fist all you like at the machine, the machine doesn’t care. It will just grind out things you will purchase. If you buy it/watch it/talk about it they will make more.

  50. This guy is wrong.

    I really think there needs to be a term for when something is so horrible that it becomes awesome. That’s what this video is. That’s also why so many people feel the need to make fun of it and it has spawned numerous hilarious covers and parodies.

  51. Never seen this before but she seems to be a regular 13 y/o kid who blew her bat mitzvah cash on having a video made with her friends, seems as good or better than any of the dreck you hear on FM radio today. But as mentioned above very Robin Sparkles for future her.

  52. I like it. I think it’s fine. Its pretty honest really so yeah I think it would be hard to parody

  53. I much prefer this girl to the Black Eyed Peas. At least she’s not corporate shill whoring herself out to sell phones and other crap. The song is terrible but at least it’s an honest, sincere kind of terrible which is a nice change.

  54. I wonder what all the other Ark girls think?

    From the “related” videos on YouTube, there are dozens of these, all identical. Always some random suburban girl, all done up, singing an auto-tuned poppy song. I assume all out-of-pocket ventures from the girls or their parents.

    Here are a few quick videos I found (you only have to watch the first couple seconds). The first is exactly the same theme, except it’s “Saturday” instead of Friday. And all of them have the same cameo by the same black dude



    So why did the Rebecca Black video explode, while these all have much lower views. Did her parents have better marketing?

    Anyway, I think that the focus on Rebecca Black is silly. Clearly this is a company that has found a pretty clever, probably quite profitable business: Allow girl’s parents to buy them a music video where they get all done up, are autotuned, get a rap by a black dude, etc. That’s probably about as far down on my list of possible birthday presents as I could ever imagine wanting, but then I’m not a suburban girl. (Or an Indian girl, for that matter — of the six videos I watched the beginnings to, three of them were of a Ms. Patel.)

  55. not seeing the value of comparing this to black eyed peas. one dude in here dead bent on it, but can we move on?

    1. “not seeing the value of comparing this to black eyed peas. one dude in here dead bent on it, but can we move on?”

      Nah. The comparison to the peas is valid and serves to highlight the overwrought, illogical nature of posts that decry the 13 yr old Ms. Black’s video as the worst thing ever.

      Reminding people that bands such as The Black Eyed Peas regularly produce worse “product” with way more resources at their disposal helps bring this silly meme into perspective.

  56. listen: this is the music that the computer makes when it makes music. ie, this phenomenon is just about the fact that we are so deeply enthralled by this here digital stuff, ie the internet/autotune etc, which can allow a perfectly normal kid with absolutely no special talent to suddenly be a worldwide sensation. this is new in the history of the world. and it is also somewhat sad, this moment, because we realize that our old analog ideas of fame, and how fame ends up getting created (a talented individual being vetted by teachers, producers, thoughtleaders, execs, critics, fans etc and then maybe getting to fame) is going away as we speak — which is why RB has so many haters. the “digital regime” (ken hollings phrase in his bbc series) doesnt need talent, experts, critics, etc to get to fame: massive fame now comes without any of those. the network creates the fame, and is fickle, and doesnt care about talent — in fact talent does not generally attract the attentions of the network, the network invariably bestows fame on something that isn’t talent at all, like this. so therefore, rebecca black is a window onto the (very near) future in which we completely surrender to the network (digital market) and let it decide everything; every few days we’ll see a horrible viral phenom like this, and that will be what we call music. why not? it’s catchy. there wont be artists and careers etc. there will just be the network. and we we we we we so excited! thanks silicon valley! thanks steve! you guys are awesome!

    in case you want to play along: 1, relative minor, 4, 5. it’s a doo wop tune. C, Am, F, G.

  57. The mashup with the dude doing sort of a Christopher Walken voiceover made me laugh. It made me happy, so therefore it doesn’t suck.

  58. Hi –

    I, too, think the Dylanesque version is much more entertaining than the original.

    – TWR

  59. I think the important thing everyone’s ignoring is that she’s highlighting the importance of seat selection within an automobile. Not only does it change the weight distribution of the vehicle, it could also make or break your social life.

    Just because she’s 13 doesn’t mean she’s incapable of determining significant social markers within a hierarchical society.

    On the other hand, it should be pointed out that she indeed chooses the back seat, which is wise, as it will get the vehicle closer to the ideal 50/50 weight balance for optimal cornering ability.

  60. I changed my mind. I like it.

    Ahahahahaha! It was the Scottish uke girls that did it.

    Now ffs if her dad is molesting her or something please no one tell me about it.

  61. I have neither heard this song nor watched the video. I don’t know why “everyone” (* not actually everyone) on the internet is talking about it.

    Or Charlie Sheen, for that matter.

  62. I personally LOVE this song. I’ve listened to it about 100x more than Radiohead’s new album.

    And no good mashups or remixes?

    Um hell, dubstep. Just sayin’.

  63. I managed to avoid 2 girls one cup, but not goatse. I think I’ll give this one a pass and improve my average.

  64. Charlie Brooker did a delicious evisceration of the people who made fun of her online and ended up contributing to her fame:

    The sound quality is so bad, but the message oh so so good…

  65. Here’s my contribution. Part of a larger, ongoing project I have been working on, and this morning I read Cory’s article and…. it all clicked!

  66. Rebecca Black with 44 million viewers on YouTube and CityVille with 100 million players on Facebook, yet snarkers gotta snark and haters gotta hate. Whether you like it or not, something very powerful is happening when this kind of thing occurs. Don’t hate it or dismiss it. Figure it out instead.

  67. I originally thought it was bad. Then, I listened to the Dylan cover and realized that the lyrics aren’t so bad… they somehow take on a allegorical value. I imagine a guy at the end of his ropes thinking about all the fun others are having that he’s never going to have again

  68. Here’s the thing wrong with it: it’s not music and she’s not singing. If the song had any actual music, and if she weren’t autotuned to deth, fine, it’s an innocent 13-year-old daydream. But when I was 13, I and my peers were in band class or choir, and had to actually play music on real instruments with real voices. No one was pinning their hopes on being a millionaire recording artist by having their voice corrected by a machine…

  69. What has the world come to when you cannot make a literal-video parody, because the original IS a literal-video parody!?

  70. I just have to know why no one posting comments anywhere on the internet knows how to spell ridiculous is rediculous some type of slang spelling or produced by a small group of illiterate posters that just happen to love posting everywhere. Is there some regional dialect out there where illiterates, when sounding the word out, spell it that way… Keep an eye out for yourself, and you will see.

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