Pint-sized Youtube star Rebecca Black just dropped a video for her new song “Sing It,” and it sounds the most like a real pop song that any of her singles have yet. Unfortunately for the viral cutie, that’s not what made her famous, and it won’t stop her from fading away into pop culture obscurity but for a few lines on the Wikipedia page about Internet memes.
This is not because her new songs are particularly bad. “Sing It” is a decent approximation of teen pop music; she and the people working with her have clearly studied their Kelly Clarkson. But Rebecca Black is never going to sing, write, or collaborate with producers as well as Kelly Clarkson, and therein lies the rub: under normal circumstances, she would never have this platform to make mediocre pop songs in the first place.
The reason “Friday” was such a viral sensation was because of its lack of self-consciousness. Here was a 13-year-old girl, smiling and doing her awkward best at dancing as she sang what she thought was a genuinely good song. But wait, ha ha, it was actually a bad song! Silly teen girl! I’m now going to post this on my Facebook wall! “Friday” felt like a primary document, an innocent teen observed in the wild, and the kindest reaction anyone could have was to feel a bit bad for her. The song was, simply put, famous for being terrible.
But as we all know, the act of observing something changes that which is being observed, and as soon as she received the Internet’s uh, constructive criticism, it was impossible for Rebecca to make another “Friday.” When she made “Friday,” she might have dreamed of being a famous singer the way lots of girls do, but she never thought it would actually happen. And now that she’s famous for embarrassing reasons, she understandably wants to be famous for better ones.
Some better producers, better lyrics, and better singing later, we’ve got a song that’s too good to be funny, but not good enough to be a bona fide pop hit. But luckily for Ms. Black, she’s got her whole life ahead of her. She’ll be able to laugh it all off by the time she gets to college, which the proceeds from “Friday” will probably pay for.