Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lyric Deconstruction: "Friday"

Rebecca Black, 2011

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

By now you know the story. Dead-eyed teen becomes YouTube sensation through her existentially sad, Auto-tuned pop confection. But why is this the "Worst Song Ever" when something like Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" is just terrible? What did Rebecca Black do to deserve this?

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein' everything, the time is goin'
Tickin' on and on, everybody's rushin'
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

The problem, perhaps, is this: when we listen to pop music, we want to be transported. We want to hear about happiness, fun, romance. You know what's not fun to hear about? Someone else's morning routine. But that's the genius of this song! It's elevating the mundane to the level of the sublime. Of course you gotta have your bowl! Who among us doesn't? Of course you gotta catch your bus! Me too, Rebecca. Me too.

Kickin' in the front seat
Sittin' in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

You take the back seat:

In an analysis of frontal collision data from 1980-91, researchers Donald Huelke and Charles Compton of the U-M Transportation Research Institute found that, when comparing front-seat occupants and rear-seat passengers—both belted and unrestrained—in the same crash, those in the back seat more often than not sustain less severe injuries than those in the front seat.
It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend

Fun fun fun! Who could argue with that? Unfortunately - and I think I'm getting at the root of the problem, to the extent there is a problem, with this song - Rebecca's flat affect and mercilessly compressed vocals don't suggest "Fun fun fun" so much as "My overbearing stage Mom is forcing me to do this send help I don't want this." Soembody should slow down the video and see if she's sending a Morse Code message with eye blinks.

7:45, we're drivin' on the highway
Cruisin' so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right, ay
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

That's right, Rebecca. Fun, fun, think about fun. Don't think about the endless mall performances you're going to be required to do or how sad this whole endeavor seems to even the most casual observer. Think about fun. You got this.


Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin')
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after ... wards
I don't want this weekend to end

There are some other days, too. Moonday? Wershday? Something like that. I can't remember. It's not fun fun fun.

Hey, time for a break with our Creepily Older Rapper!

R-B, Rebecca Black
So chillin' in the front seat (In the front seat)
In the back seat (In the back seat)
I'm drivin', cruisin' (Yeah, yeah)
Fast lanes, switchin' lanes
Wit' a car up on my side (Woo!)
(C'mon) Passin' by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it's Friday, it's a weekend
We gonna have fun, c'mon, c'mon, y'all

WHOA. Passing the school bus makes you wanna scream, huh? Stay tuned for our next hit, "Megan's Law Is Such a Drag."

[Chorus x 2]

By the end, you're just praying to die.


Unknown said...

What do you make of this?

LR said...

I can't wait 'til RB covers "It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time."

periqueblend said...

Yeah, Rebecca's song is awful, this one though is pretty awesome.

I salute those black dudes who apparently own the song factory where these came from. I would let people pay me thousands of dollars for bad vanity projects for their children.

I'm going to make youtube shorts!

**You might have the next Adam Sandberg in your romper room right now!!**

TK said...

@Thanks -

I think it's too long.

@Whirlwind -

That makes "Friday" look like a work of art. Ugh, I wish I didn't know about that.

Tamagosan said...

I am really, really trying to unsee this. Unhearing would be a good start, though. I just can't believe such a thing exists.

And here I was, concentrating all my annoyance on the way Ke$ha pronounces her R sounds...

amy.leblanc said...

i'm positive i would have never heard this song if it wasn't for you, and so i'm going to hold that against you forever now.

Tamagosan said...

OMG it gets worse.

And then the investigative journalism.