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.