20 Mar

Where do I start with this song?

First off, sorry about the delay in getting a new Gripe together -- it's almost worthy of it's own gripe!

By now you might have heard the song. It's the biggest viral video out there as of today -- the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black.

Now everyone's got their comments on how bad the song is, and I think it's bad too. But, instead of just giving it the broad "slap across the face" like so many people do, I'm going to dissect, breakdown if you will, the song and its background.

First off, a little background on the video. The singer is an 8th grade girl. Her parents apparently wanted her to gain the experience of what it's like to produce her own song. So they allegedly paid $2,000 to hire a company (Ark Music Factory) to write and record a song as well as produce a video. The girl had two songs to choose from, one being a love song and the other being a song about life as a teenager. Since Rebecca wasn't in love yet, she chose the latter. So here are my observations of the song/video in the order that I noticed them:

  • Monotone melody - I think the first 29 notes of the song are all the same -- all note "C". I'm not kidding. It's north of 20 for sure. And that's not the only place this happens. This is a regular occurrence within the song -- I think every verse starts the same way. Pure genius work at hand on this one. The writers at Ark should be embarrassed. My daughter came up with better notes playing on my electric keyboard at the age of 3. Plus, to boot, it sounds so damn nasally.
  • Autotune - Yes, just when you thought you couldn't get enough of it from the likes of Cher, Madonna or your favorite crappy West-Side/East-Side rapper, this song is Autotuned to death. When you get to the refrain, the word "Friday" sounds more like "Fry-ye-dayy" -- to the point where it's undoubtedly noticeable and absolutely annoying.
  • Lyrics - I hate to use the cliche "Sounds like a 3rd grader wrote it", but that couldn't be more true here. The following are some of the lyrics
    1) "Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs, gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal"
    Gotta? Last time I heard that used was in songs such as "In a Gadda Da Vida." But then it continues...

    2) "Gotta get down to the bus stop, gotta catch my bus, I see my friends"
    So nice of them to change it up at the end. I can tell the writers had burned the midnight oil writing this one. But I'll give them a little credit... it's simply highlighting what a typical teenager may go through during the day.

    3) "Partyin’, partyin’, fun, fun, fun, fun"
    Really? This is the best bridge you could come up with? Honestly, my 6-year old daughter was relating to that when she listened to the song.... 6 YEAR OLD! Is this your target audience? Fun fun fun fun? 8th grade? Come on. I'd expect this type of crap on Radio Disney. Plus, she uses the word "si-en" in place of the word "sitting." In case you have a hard time imagining how it sounds, think of how you'd say the word "sit" and leave off the "t" and then add an "in" at the end. Ugh.

    4) "We-we-we so excited, we so excited, we gonna have a ball today"
    No, that is not a typo, and yup, you're right, there's no helping verb either. "We gonna." Major FAIL. And not only are the lyrics sung this way, they actually appear in the video!

  • Video - Ok, this is where Ark gets some credit. It looks like the video was professionally done. Not just some homemade video with a couple of cheesy effects... but rather something that looks like some time was put into it. Panoramic camera shots, traveling in the car, etc. But there were a couple of things that seemed a little suspect:
    1) We all know singers are lip-synching the song in videos. With Rebecca though, it's almost like she didn't want to be there. In many shots, her lips hardly moved, but then in some other shots, there's the reaction from her like her friends we're calling out "Hey, come on Rebecca, let's go [have some fun]!" which is fine.
    2) How many 8th graders are able to drive? As they're kickin' in the backseat, trippin' on some fiddy-cent, my mind's thinking of what's going to happen when they're in high school. I sure hope she isn't going to date the driver from the video. After all, you remember Steve, the high-school senior, who was thinking about dating Becky, the sophomore back when you were in high-school. Isn't that Taboo? Oh the ridicule they'd face! And to the driver of the car in the video.. how the hell can you see? Your hair is covering your eyes! Here's $20 -- head on down to Supercuts.
    3) Where the hell did the teenage boy get that nice convertible? Geez, I'm not saying everybody has to grow up owning a junker as the first car, but a convertible seems excessive. "Um, dad, I'm thinking I want either an "I" class or a "L" class." LOL
    4) What city's law enforcement group would allow 3 teenage girls to sit on top of the convertible seat while literally driving down the freeway? That's what they have in the video! Put your damn seat belt on! Teenagers never listen.
    5) Lastly, maybe I'm not down with the times, but what parents regularly open their house on Fridays to loads of teenagers? I mean, I'm not saying they can't have the occasional birthday party, but I thought "hanging out" meant meeting at the mall or something.
  • Educational - For those of you with horrible short and long-term memories, you'll never forget the days of the week, thanks to this song. They let you know that today is Thursday and then the next day is Friday and the day after that is Saturday and then Sunday. They should have this on Sesame Street!
  • Variety - You get your mix of fake Autotune singing, party crowd participation (cheering "Yeahhh!") and since the production crew loves the look of their own faces, they made sure they got in a little of their own rapping as well. Fo' Shizzle!

    Look, this video and song could have been something. Actually, with more than 25 million hits at the time of this writing, you could argue that is has already been something, just not for the right reasons. If they would have left her voice alone, and let her write her own words, Rebecca would not be subject to the extreme negative criticism she's taking on today. Ark should be ashamed to have writers with no imagination. Get your grammar skills in order! It's no wonder kids are getting dumber and dumber.

    The sad part about this was that the song made it to #35 on i-Tunes (as of Friday... I haven't got an update on this as of today) IN A MATTER OF DAYS SINCE ITS RELEASE. We clearly can't be in a recession anymore with how many people are gobbling this up. If only I had that much disposable income to impulse-buy something just because everyone else is, just for the sake of having it.

    Rebecca was most recently on Good Morning America. She was asked to sing a bit of the National Anthem or some patriotic song, and she did a good job -- she actually does have a voice. Nothing that will win American Idol, but miles above what is demonstrated in the video - mainly because it doesn't have the nasally sound like in the video. But the few things that she's got going for her is that she is now deemed the female Justin Bieber, so she'll have many eyes looking at her. Her name is publicly known, so it might open the door for possibly some smaller recording contracts. Plus, she didn't have a stuck-up attitude during the interview, and when asked if the negative publicity made her sad, instead of giving the politically-correct, ignorant answer of "No, it doesn't bother me at all," she did say that a lot of them did indeed make her sad, but that she was tough and would get past it.

    I truly hope that she does get another chance to show her talents with another video. This time, don't leave the writing up to the producer. Take the old-fashioned advice "If you want something done right, do it yourself." And, there's "gotta" be another recording company out there that won't scramble your voice... let us hear your voice! Good luck, Rebecca!