Rebecca Black has become a teen sensation. Not surprisingly in the age of the 15-second commercial, YouTube and Twitter, her rise to fame has been meteoric. Just a few days ago, nobody outside of her friends and family had ever heard of her. Then she recorded and posted a pop song called “Friday.” And people hated it, calling it the “worst song ever.” They hated it by the millions — and in that hate a 13-year-old star was born.
“Friday” seems to have brought out the music critic in everyone. It is difficult to say where it all began, but someone dubbed the tune the “worst song ever” and from there the video went viral. A Google search results in literally hundreds of results when Black’s name is attached to “worst song ever.” There is an endless parade of quips about the poorly thought-out lyrics, not to mention slams about the simplistic pop arrangement and the auto-tuned vocals. And that says nothing about the personal slams Black and her music endure on the YouTube video, which was first posted on February 10. Even Rolling Stone said it was an “unintentional parody of modern pop.”
Still, for all the hateful, disrespectful, and often cruel comments, Rebecca Black has become a household name in a relatively short time. Her infamy via song and video garnered her enough attention for ABC’s “Good Morning America” to have her appear and talk about her notoriety, her newfound fame, and the reception of her music video, which seemed to constitute nothing short of cyberbullying.
Black told “GMA,” ” At first, when I first saw all these nasty comments, I did cry. I felt like this was my fault. And I shouldn’t have done this, and this is all because of me. And now I don’t feel that way.”
“Friday” debuted on iTunes at #39. Not bad for a song that nobody but her carpooling friends had ever heard before last week. Two days later, it sat at #19 (March 20).
But people hated it — right?
At the same time, the afternoon of March 20 saw Black’s runaway viral video hit top the 26.5 million views threshold, up from 16 million on Thursday.
But… people hated it… right?
They did. In addition to all the spiteful comments, there are video reviews of the song’s awfulness, parodies of the “worst song ever,” and even poorly executed covers.
In some crazy descent into schadenfreude, like a Ke$ha song one hates but can’t get out of one’s mind once it has been heard, “Friday” seems to have taken over the collective consciousness of Internet users. People love to hate it. Hooked by the “worst ever” tag, more people are drawn one-by-one to a song that has managed to do what would seem to be impossible: Inspire an almost universal reaction, and that a predominantly negative one.
But it is also a negative reaction that has put a positive counter-reaction on a 13-year-old unsigned singer’s life — and bank account, through the sell of iTunes downloads and ringtones.
Then there is the fame thing…
Black also told “Good Morning America” that she had “talent on some level. I don’t think I’m the worst singer, but I don’t think I’m the best singer.”
The song was produced by Ark Music Factory in California and funded by Black’s parents. Her producer, Patrice Wilson, told “GMA” that Black was “actually really good” as a singer and had not performed the song off-key or needed the auto-tune to hide her vocals.
No word yet on whether or not Black is up for a follow-up single and the backlash it might inspire.
Suzan Clarke and Michael Milberger, “‘Friday’ Singer Rebecca Black Responds to ‘Worst Song Ever’ Label,” ABCNews.go.com
Rebecca Black, “Rebecca Black — Friday,” YouTube.com