Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rebecca Black

File this one under "everyone else has something to say about this, so why should I comment on it too?"

I wouldn't say that I called this one (check note #5), and I'm certainly not saying that I was the first person to express that kind of sentiment, but this is obviously one of those times when I'm happy to stand by my comments. I know that people thought I was bonkers when that comment was posted with P&J. Some felt that I was implying that all the weird covers of "Dynamite" were better than, or interchangeable with the original. This is not true. The real point is that you can become a star by appearing in a half-million dollar video on MTV or by appearing in a two thousand dollar video on Youtube -- but not necessarily the exact same type of star. The point is that both the "professional" MTV performer and the "amateur" Youtube performer are both stars in some way.

People like watching stars emerge in unexpected or unpredictable ways, which is why so many millions of viewers all cottoned onto shows like American Idol. It seemed like an exciting and original way to make stars, as opposed to having stars fed to them via tabloids or by MTV. Meanwhile, I haven't watched AI even once this season. As long as certain enterprising people think of new ways to make stars, they can be assured that there will be a celebrity-craving audience there to appreciate their effort.

In one sense, Ark Music Factory are looking like geniuses right now, but on the other hand, what they're doing isn't so different from the songwriting factories that were abundant in the 60's, it's only the technology, i.e. the method of releasing the music to the public that has changed. They have a team of writers and producers who create cookie cutter pop by the bucketload, and it costs them next to nothing. They bring in cheap talent (enter a practically limitless supply of teenagers who want to be famous), and if they release enough music, then eventually they'll stumble upon a minor hit and will make some money. Or at least that's the philosophy. Costs remain low, and therefore their risk is low. Low risk, low reward, with potential for a high reward.

The song is horrifically bad, but yeah, (un)fortunately it's so bad it winds up being good. Or at the very least, you can have a good laugh at the ridiculousness that is the video for "Friday". The Usher lookalike rapping in the CGI driving scene. Thirteen year olds driving cars and picking up other thirteen year olds. The mind-numbingly mundane lyrics. And now we have new material to dissect ... it's the acoustic version from Good Morning America! Black is jamming out on "Friday", all casual like, in what appears to be her living room. In the room with her, smiling and grooving along to the song, are all her the friends from the video. Even the Usher lookalike is there, they're all there, it's like the final scene of "The Wizard of Oz"! But here's what I want to know: how it possible that Black doesn't know the lyrics to her own song? She flubs the words at least three times in this two and a half minute clip!

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