The latest ‘so bad it’s good’ teen pop single, Rebecca Black’s ear-bleedingly infectious ‘hit’ Friday was released onto the internet in early March, and, in the space of just a few short days, acquired millions of views and became a massively trending topic on Twitter – knocking the disaster in Japan off the top spot.
The song was produced by Los Angeles-based vanity record studio, Ark Music Factory, which specialises in creating made-to-order pop productions for unsigned acts. Essentially, if you’ve got an aspiring pop diva daughter and $2000 to rub together, Ark Music Factory will pen, record and produce a video clip for you to take your shot at the big time, or at least live the dream for a week or two.
That’s what they did for Rebecca Black, however no-one, perhaps least of all Ark Music, could have expected the song to catch on in such a dramatic fashion.
And catch on it has. At the time of this writing the clip has received over 66 Million views on YouTube, has charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and even reached 33 on the New Zealand singles chart.
So what’s the secret of Friday’s sudden success?
It’s catchy as hell, that much is undeniable. But that’s not what has made Friday an instant viral hit. In addition to the bubblegum bounce of the cookie-cutter synth track and synthetic auto-tuned vocals, ‘Friday’ boasts some of the most bafflingly inane lyrics ever captured on tape:
"Fun, fun, think about fun / You know what it is / I got this, you got this / My friend is by my right, ay / I got this, you got this / Now you know it”
If you think all the lyrics are about ‘fun’ however, you’d be wrong. Friday also sees our teen protagonist overcome a series of everyday hurdles, including the construction of a bowl of cereal, plus a difficult decision regarding which seat should be taken in a friend’s car. Heady stuff indeed, which just makes the middle section so comforting, when it returns to more familiar concepts, namely the days of the week and the order in which they occur, which are described in troublingly explicit detail:
"Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday / Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’) / We-we-we so excited / We so excited / We gonna have a ball today / Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes after...wards”
A quick look at the Ark Music Factory’s website provides something of a hint as to the cookie cutter nature of the tune. Ark’s output consists strictly of cloying techno music sung by auto-tuned ‘tween girls, bafflingly redundant lyrics and by-the-numbers music videos, not to mention a seemingly obligatory rap from Patrice Wilson, Ark Music’s chief songwriter, and author of Black’s viral hit.
And while Black’s unsettling auto-tuned voice has provoked the ire of internet trolls and the public in general, mainstream music heavy-hitters Lady Gaga, Chris Brown and Simon Cowell have come out in her defence, Cowell going so far as to refer to Black as "a genius”.
And brace yourself; there’s more on the way. "We’re currently writing another song — it does not have to do with weekdays, or months, or numbers or colours,” she posted on Twitter. "Throwin’ that out there.”
The word on the street is that the new song is called "LOL”.