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  • March 2011
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Friday vs. Kung-Fu Bicycles

By now I’m sure many of you have viewed Rebecca Black’s so-bad-it’s-created-a-viral-firestorm video about a day we know as Friday. If, however, you have not, I will embed it for easy watching:

When I saw this video popping up all over my Facebook feed, I ignored it as much as I could because the last thing I need is a poppy earworm infecting my workday.   But then it was explained to me that people liked it because it was bad. And there are few things I like more than unintentionally bad media. Not in a mean way—I’m just fascinated with people’s interactions with and interpretations of the pop culture machine.

Friday wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen. It just seemed sort of naïve and sweet , in short, what Rebecca Black’s version of partying is. I read a little more about it (mostly through this know your meme article) and found out that Black was represented by a company called Ark Music Factory (explained in this Gawker article ) –a company that sends songs to its young artists and makes videos for these songs, hoping to create a viral sensation a la Justin Bieber.  And I guess it kind of worked! Just not in the way they’d hoped.

This reminded me of a favorite documentary of mine – Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story.  You can watch an hour of it on Hulu or read about it on the PBS website or even put  a hold on the copy that the library owns.

 Before the Internet, you could pay to have your song lyrics become a real song. It cost about $200 to have someone write the song for you.  IMHO, this produces much more original results than Friday (no offense, Rebecca Black, you seem very sweet, as evidenced in this clip of your appearance on Jay Leno). 

For example, people’s obsessions sometimes shine through when they’re sending their original lyrics in. Compare “Friday” to Caglar Juan Singletary’s “Nonviolent Taekwondo Troopers”  and his song about Annie Oakley.

Would you rather listen to a song about a day that comes after Thursday and the perils of choosing where to sit in a car OR a song about a super bicycle named Angelaria, and  who we should thank for Priscilla Presley?

Well, you don’t really have to choose. I find it’s good to be well-rounded when it comes to exploring the world of packaged artists and song-poems.  Like “Friday”, these songs are genuinely catchy and you may find that they’ve insinuated themselves into your list of favorite things to hear.  They’re a refreshing alternative to the stuff you might hear all the time on the radio.


Free Stuff Friday begins…


Be the first TEEN to post a comment
on any post other than this one and win a $10 gift card! (Make sure you leave your name and e-mail address!)

Update: Elena J. is this week’s big winner. Congrats, Elena! Check back next Friday your chance to win.

Teen review: Daniel X by James Patterson

Isaiah is a great new teen volunteer who will be writing reviews for the blog. Remember, if you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

My name is Isaiah. I’m gonna be reviewing all kinds of books, comics, manga , and CDs. I go to CAPA for theatre, and I guess that’s okay. I do a lot of music stuff outside of school. I play bass and do some rapping too. I rap with a group sometimes, others I’ll just use beats, which is always cool too. If you’re interested in any of that you can go here to check out show dates and stuff. That’s about it. Also, I’m always up for any review recommendations, so if there’s anything you want me to review, just let me know and I’ll check it out.

Book: Daniel X: the manga
Author: James Patterson
Review by Isaiah Ross


So starting today I will be reviewing many books, comics, manga, or anything else I happen to stumble upon. So starting off, the first thing I will be reviewing is the manga adaption of the book Daniel X by James Patterson. When reading the back of this book is seems pretty solid, let’s see how it shapes up.

So the book starts off very strongly. We begin with a 3-year-old hiding under a table as his parents are murdered by a strange alien known as The Prayer, who is looking for a “list” of some sort. We then fast forward 12 years into the future to a 15-year-old Daniel, who now is a proficient alien hunter. We are also introduced to Daniel’s powers, which allow him to create almost anything he can imagine. We learn that the list is a list of all the alien criminals on earth; Daniel uses this as a guide to find which aliens to go after next. When he is told to go after an alien named Ergent Seth, things begin to get interesting. I’ll leave the rest for you to find.

First, let’s look at the characters–I think that these characters come from pretty cool ideas and a lot can be done with them. Daniel X is a very strong idea for a protagonist and I believe that he is perfect to lead a story. Secondly, the villains–I can see where James Patterson and the artist (Seunghui Kye) are going with these villains but they need some work. The alien concept is very cool, but it’s up to them what they do with it. Third, the action itself–once again, I can see where Mr. Patterson is going with the action, but as of right now, it’s not truly up to par. I’m not saying anything about the art because it’s extremely fresh and crisp but the way that the action is used doesn’t really flow. Fourth, and finally, the story itself–this story is actually pretty great, it moves quickly, and doesn’t stray far from the topic. This is the main reason why I believe I may see this series through to the end.

In conclusion, I give Daniel X a 7/10 for originality, a great story, good characters, and nice art. It’s not the perfect manga yet but it seems that it may get pretty close to it soon. Daniel X is definitely something to watch out for, if you get a chance pick it up from the library and check it out.

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