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In Defense of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ Music Video

March 18th, 2011 - 12:00 pm

Today is Friday.

Friday.

You know — the day after Thursday, but the one before Saturday?

The Internet has been abuzz this week over a new music video by a heretofore unknown 13-year-old girl named Rebecca Black; her out-of-nowhere hit “Friday” has already racked up 16 million views on YouTube as of this writing, and seems to be garnering another million every couple of hours.

Not because the song is good, but rather because it’s so bad. Or rather, “bad.” No, that’s not right either. The song is “”"”bad”"”".

One needs at least four levels of ironic quotation marks to get to the bottom of the “Friday” phenomenon. Plenty of things in modern culture are simply bad and don’t get any attention. Even things that are “so-bad-they’re-funny” might draw the attention of a few sarcastic hipsters but remain relatively obscure. But “Friday” has a fan base that dwarfs even those of most serious mainstream top-40 artists.

The cognoscenti will tell you that the listeners are only appreciating “Friday” through an ironic lens: We watch it only in order to mock it. And perhaps the cognoscenti do — but they only account for a few million of “Friday’s” views (oops — almost up to 17 million already). The other 15+ millions viewers I posit are other tweeners who appreciate “Friday” at face value — it’s catchy, upbeat and fun.

And what’s wrong with that? I give “Friday’s” popularity my wholehearted stamp of approval:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD2LRROpph0

I think “Friday” is popular with the 10-to-14-year-old crowd specifically because its lyrics are completely innocent and unsophisticated. Kids are sick of being barraged with sexuality and violence and cynicism. At last, for the first time in a long time, a pop song for kids is not about humping or angst. Kids just want to be kids! And Rebecca Black is their new guide.

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