Hey kids! Guess what? Apparently awful is the new great. In an age when the music business is suffering dearly--when even vocal dynamos like Christina Aguilera can't sell albums or concert tickets anymore, and thousands of unsigned, undiscovered artists have to sell records out of their car trunks--a mind-meltingly horrific song called "Friday," by a previously unknown, marginally talented teen-pop singer named Rebecca Black, managed to rack up more than 2.2 million views on YouTube (yes, that's right, TWO-MILLION, TWO-HUNDRED-THOUSAND) just over this past weekend.
It must be seen, and heard, to be believed:
The video got its first big promotion, perhaps not coincidentally, last Friday, when Comedy Central's Tosh.0 blog posted it under the headline "Songwriting Isn't For Everyone." And that was all it took. By the weekend's end, "Friday" had been Tumblr'd, Facebooked, blogged, and tweeted by countless baffled viewers--and dozens of covers and parodies had popped up on YouTube as well, including an amusingly Dylanesque one.
The virality of "Friday," a wannabe weekend-party anthem for the new generation, had nothing to with the song being any good, Rebecca being particularly attractive or gifted, or even with the fact that it was, well, the weekend. It's simply because it was so unbelievably BAD. ("A whole new level of bad," according to none other than Time magazine.) And it's because the song and video raised so many fascinating questions...such as:
Who the heck is this girl? How did she get a record deal? Why is she sitting at a bus stop, if her friends are picking her up in their car? Why is she so indecisive about whether to sit in the front or back seat? If the girl standing to her right is her friend, then is that girl on her left her frenemy? Did the general public REALLY need to be informed that Thursday comes before Friday, or that Sunday comes after Saturday? And, most importantly: Is this a real thing? Or is this an SNL Digital Short for which the Lonely Island are responsible?
Honestly, we're not sure if these questions will ever be properly answered. But we do know that "Friday" is the churned-out product of a Los Angeles-based company called the Ark Music Factory, which sends out casting calls looking for singers between the ages of 13 and 17 to record its songs and, if all goes well, become overnight YouTube stars (a la Justin Bieber). Rebecca Black's "Friday" is Ark's first major hit--and after this, we sincerely hope it's the company's last.