Sunday, 20 March 2011

Rebecca Black - A Sorry State of Affairs

Unless you have spent the last 10days living underground without an internet connection, you will no doubt have heard the furore around the latest internet sensation: Rebecca Black. Her music video: Friday, has amassed a whopping 26million views in no time at all. It’s spawned cover versions, and parodies galore. It has also been referred to as the worst song of all time.

With people on both sides of the argument, vocalising their views, Black has been a TOP FIVE WORLD WIDE trending topic on Twitter for over a week. Overnight this 13 year old nobody has become one of the biggest names on the planet.

I have stayed (relatively) quiet on the matter until now. But I figure it’s time I waded into the debate.

Now: let me preface this by saying: I know full well the lyrics are terrible. And she can’t sing a single note in tune. And the video is kind of dire. I am FULLY aware of every single one of these things.

But Friday is a damn catchy tune nonetheless. This is a song which you genuinely (even if it’s for the wrong reason), cannot get out of your head. And you will find yourself humming it, hours after you see the video.

Can a lack of actual musical talent ever correspond to a properly good record though? Aren’t these mutually exclusive concepts? Just because someone puts a catchy pop beat behind something should not justify it as art, and it’s important that the distinction is made.

We HAVE to remember that Rebecca Black is a talentless, nobody who had fame thrust upon her. How this fame evolves will ultitmately be up to both the record companies, and the public who will buy her music – it’s gone top 100 on iTunes in several countries already. If we want to complain about the state the music industry is in, and that people like this keep cropping up, the way to stop it happening is to STOP BUYING THEIR RECORDS. But for some reason it just doesn’t happen.

Comparisons have been made between Black and the infinitely more talented Justin Bieber – himself discovered on YouTube before being signed to a major label. Do I think she could have that level of success? Not at all. I think she may well be the very definition of a one-hit wonder, and I’m honestly not even sure I’d recommend she puts an album out – it won’t sell, and she’d do better to milk Friday for all it’s worth.

That being said, this is a girl the corporate machine could work with. She’s a cutesie 13 year old, who, if they have to, they can easily auto tune to death to fix the lack of vocal talent. She can have a focus grouped lyric book written out for an album, and I’d be very surprised if it’s not well on the way already – even Simon Cowell has expressed interest in her future.

In this post Bieber world, every record label on the globe is looking for the next big thing. The next big child star they can wrench into the spotlight. I don’t think even they expect to find another kid as talented as Bieber, but they don’t need to, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of half talented 13year olds who want to be singers. – they can milk 10 kids dry in quick succession if they have to, with just one or two songs each.

It’s a depressing state of affairs, and frankly these children deserve better. Black herself doesn’t deserve half the stick she’s getting for Friday – the fact her label allowed it to see the light of day in its current state is not her fault, and they should have done more to protect an innocent 13 year old from this social media frenzy.

Unfortunately, while this stuff still sells, the companies will still make it, and we’ll have a vicious circle forever more. It’s time we made a stand. It’s time we stopped being bewitched by a catchy beat, and took the time to realise what we’re actually doing.


  1. And I totally agree with everything you wrote. Couldn't have said it better myself really.

  2. Absolutely. Stop stupid people buying/promoting stupid records. Where do I sign?