May’s Super-Duper Song Review: “Friday” by Rebecca Black

It was Friday, March 25, 2011. I was reading at the BYU English Symposium, and a good friend of mine came to hear the presentation. It was already raining that morning, and by the time my panel was over, it was pouring even harder, and threatening to snow. On our walk from the Jesse Knight Building to the Marriott Center, my friend heard a girl singing a song to the friend she was walking with. My friend remarked that that was the second time she overheard someone singing that song. I asked, “What song is this?” Then she started describing it, and I had never heard of it. But, if people on campus had caught the earworm, then I figured I would hear it eventually.

Eventually came very soon. That night I was at a friend’s apartment. We had just returned from a BYU men’s volleyball game, and it was getting late, and we started looking up videos on YouTube. We looked up everything from the Kermit the Frog singing Johnny Cash to Flight of the Conchords. And then somebody had to bring up a song called “Friday” by Rebecca Black. The group of us watched this video a few times, commenting on the musicality and songwriting. I must admit I was taken aback. Why hadn’t I heard of this earlier? How did this phenomenon arise? And, how fortunate was I to have heard this song on a Friday?

Since that fated Friday, I hear the song all the time, everywhere. Here’s the song, for your reference, to accompany my following comments:

The more I listen to the song, the more hypnotizing it becomes. In addition to the catchy autotuned singing, which so skillfully cloaks Ms. Black’s pubescent voice, the lyrics are profound and showcase the marvelous acrobatics of the English language in a neglected circus sideshow. Words, music, video – everything about the song begs further analysis:

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

From the beginning, this song exudes positivity. Where some songs begin with “No-oooo” or even simply, “la la la la,” the “Yeah” inherently invites acceptance. Yeah, of course I will like this song. Yeah, I will keep singing this song all day because, yeah, it makes me so happy. Yeah, even when it’s not Friday. But real-life Fridays make me smile very big. Yeah.

Also, what about the beautiful message of the Ark? The story of Noah’s Ark expresses new beginnings and exclusion of the wicked. What does this have to do with Friday? The righteous party hard on Friday, but not on Sunday. Rainbows come on Sunday.

What do you think of the flipbook animation here? I wish I were as skillful at creating cartoon effects as other people.

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 first thing I think of when I read this verse isn’t exactly positive: if she’s rushing in the morning, why doesn’t she set her alarm clock to go off earlier? I do appreciate Rebecca’s fastidiousness, though, especially her hygiene and the importance of breakfast.

I LOVE the forced rhyme of bowl and cereal. It further emphasizes the value of breakfast: if you make those words rhyme, then you can make yourself eat breakfast in the morning. Also, by the end of the week, by Friday, one’s energy is all but spent, and if she’s going to party that night, she needs all the energy that she can get.

The dilemma of having to choose between riding the bus and riding in the cool car with friends is so, so real!

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

I LOVE how Rebecca thinks safety first! Which seat can she take? Instead of taking either side in the back, she takes the middle! She wants to be alive for the big party that night!

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

I LOVE the English language! I had no idea that forward could be pronounced “forWARD”! I love having the choice of pronouncing words differently than their standard, universally accepted pronunciations! I’m going to pronounce forward in as many ways as I can! I LOVE the free spirit of this song!

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) 
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) 
Fun, fun, fun, fun 
Lookin’ forward to the weekend 

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

I LOVE how Rebecca throws caution to the wind and safety doesn’t matter anymore! She’s not sitting deep in the seat but on the back of seat in that ultra-cool convertible. But she’s with her friends on a Friday night, and that’s what’s important! I LOVE the city skyline and the full moon in the background. I was a little worried teenagers were going to start morphing into vampires and wolves, but THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN! I LOVE THAT!

I LOVE how the friends on both sides of her have braces! What a brilliant plug for dental maintenance and self-conscious imperfections!

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

It’s obvious now which seat is her Friday seat. But I LOVE to hear it again anyway.

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

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday 
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’) 
We-we-we so excited 
We so excited 
We gonna have a ball today 

Did you know that one of my favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, left out small words in his poetry to purify it and extract its essence? I believe Rebecca caught the pulse of Mr. Hopkins with this part of the song. “We so excited” carries just as much meaning as “We are so excited.” The important words: We = togetherness and bonding. So = describes how excited. Excited = excited!

Tomorrow is Saturday 
And Sunday comes after … wards 
I don’t want this weekend to end 

The sequence of weekend days often confuses me. This is a wonderful reminder. This segment hearkens back to the beginning with the flipbook animation. The continuity (and cost consciousness!) of this video is really impressive.

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 

Did you know that R.B. are the initials for Rebecca Black?

Did you know that Gertrude Stein often strung words together in a seemingly nonsensical way, but she used words similarly to how artists use different materials to build and layer and texture their work? Not only does Rebecca add variety to the song by including a rapper, she adds dimension to the song by adding other lyrics that also do not seem to make sense. It’s a diversion, much like Fridays are supposed to be.

In terms of continuity and diversity, the rapper-driver is reckless driving, swerving between lanes, passing a school bus full of children-victims of the public school system. Caution has clearly caught the jetstream. I appreciate the understated environmental message. Pure genius.

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 

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

More about the lyrical brilliance of this song. How do you fill a measure of music? Four beats? Not with “la la la la” or even with “yeah yeah yeah yeah” but with “Fun fun fun fun!” I love the challenge of memorizing this song with all the quirky shifts in the words – the words themselves, as well as the pronunciations. So, so deep.

If I were going to sing a song about the weekend to my friends, I would sing it beside a tree. I would also include cuts to me singing autotuned high notes in a studio with colored lights and stage smoke. I would also make the audience clap for me and my groovy moves. The song ends with the same positivity as it begins. But, the song also ends with a word that ends in end: weekend. Who else would have thought of that?

This song deserves higher than a “SUPER DUPER” rating, but I can’t possibly make an exception in the scale I designed, even as powerful as Fridays are.

May’s rating scale:

SUPER DUPER!

More mediocrity!

Medially mediocre

Trying too hard!

DUPED.

3 thoughts on “May’s Super-Duper Song Review: “Friday” by Rebecca Black

  1. I have never heard of the “Rebecca Black” of whom you speak, but based solely on your unbiased observations I have decided to build a shrine to her in my closet.
    Thank you for showing me the light!

A little discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s