Public Enemy #1: What You Need to Know About Rebecca Black
‘ARK Music Factory’ is an independent record label out in LA (aren’t they all in LA?) that will literally take any tween girl who’s daddy is rich enough to shell out the money, and writer her a song, record it as a purchasable single, and design/film a music video starring her. They call themselves an ‘indie’ music label, yet they seem to be anything but. In the past month alone, nearly ten of these rich-tweens-born-of-rich-daddies have found and exploited ARK for its resources. The music videos are posted to a youtube account.
From what I gather, this company took itself seriously, and never intended for any of these young girls to rocket to stardom with their first single. The song and music video was meant to be the start of a portfolio so the clients could later build a career or get into a good music university like Julliard or the Boston Conservatory. Realistic, yes? I can understand this idea.
Then this little runt came around:
This little girl is Rebecca Black, aged 13. She’s anorexic-thin, has a Lea Michele hairstyle, is a self-proclaimed sufferer of the worst disease since the bubonic plague (aka ‘Bieber Fever‘) and has all the personality of a High School Musical extra. In the past fortnight her single ‘Friday’ produced by ARK went from 400 youtube hits to over 40,000,000.
I think, for once, the hits have it right. Not because this song is catchy, interesting, or that Black has any hint of natural talent. It’s because the song is awful, poorly-conceived all-around, and Black has NO hint of any natural talent. The comments and reviews, professional and not, say it all. It’s official: Black and her ‘Friday’ song is a joke. A joke straight out of hell.
I would link you to the video itself, but it’s easy enough to find, and I will in no way endorse adding more hits to this disaster that cannot possibly be construed as ‘music.’ I also won’t go into the cavity-forming lyrics, which literally go through the days of the week and what order they come in akin to a Barney the Dinosaur number before talking about the TWEEN singer’s longing to ‘party’. I won’t describe the cheesy-as-cheddar music video, complete with classic 90’s MV cliches and mediocre directorial effort (and thirteen-year-olds drivings cars?). I would comment on Black’s god-awful singing voice, but the entire thing is so auto-tuned you can’t even tell what she sounds like. I have to convince myself no one sings like that naturally. It has to be computer synthesizers and tuning. All of it.
So what, may I ask, is the point of begging and crying like a spoiled brat until Daddy shells out 2 grand for an ‘original’ song when it isn’t even your natural voice on the audio track, your original lyrics, or by any means your own design?
Say it with me, people: FAME.
Congratulations, you get a cookie.
Once upon a time, music was an art form unto itself. It was to the ear as painting was to the eye. In the earliest days, musicians literally kept cultures alive through the songs, stories, and dances of their people. Later, musicians were some of the most revered people in society, trained for the sole purpose of entertaining nobility and royalty alike. In the first half of the 20th century, hell, the first three-fourths 0f the 20th century, musicians were celebrities for a reason. Not just any half-wit with a bank account could make it. Talent was key. The art was still art. Lyrics were poems, and melodies were the medium used to convey poetry to people. Songs gave courage to freedom-fighters, identity to lost souls, and voices to entire generations.
Now, they tell us that Sunday follows Saturday, and are tools used to get quasi-attractive, upper-class preteen girls a shot at bringing in more money than they already need.
The meaning of music is dying. And what it’s being replaced with looks more suitable as the DVD cover of an independent teen horror flick.
I am literally insulted and offended just watching the damn music video, then seeing how much fame is following this girl around inside of a month. Because good or bad, fame is fame. Chicago taught us that.
In what warped universe is this monstrosity acceptable? And before you say ‘this one,’ let me just say I’m just as pissed at ARK for letting this happen as I am at Black for existing. This is abuse of the original purpose of ARK’ Music Factory.
No, this is a comedy. An unintentional farce. It has to be, and this is the only way I can see this abomination fitting into the realm of music with a purpose. After all, comedic musicians can be quite big too, and some are even witty, like Weird Al Yankovic or Richard Cheese. But alas, something about this tells me this is 110% serious music video with serious intent. If there were credits after the video, the vocal lessons were provided by Helen Keller.
Music itself changes all the time, and I can accept that. We had Amadeus Mozart, Louis Armstrong, The Beetles, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Spice Girls, Green Day (again), and Lady Gaga. But what all of the aforementioned have in common is their music has/had a goal, even if it’s just to entertain or shock.
The goal of ‘Friday’ is solely for getting a face out there. That’s it. I see no other reason but to associate Rebecca Black’s face with something, good or bad, so she can get on TV. Oh, and the small satisfaction in getting off a good Helen Keller joke (see above).
And she did all of the above. Mission accomplished, okay? So, to my dear Rebecca Black: I’m sure you’re a spoiled, self-interested, shallow person in real life, but for our sakes, please shut up, stop ripping apart a millenia-old art form, and go back to middle school before lunch period ends.