Monday, April 04, 2011

Coming to Grips with "Friday"

I’ve bought several really good albums this year – by groups like The Baseball Project, The Low Anthem, Drive-By Truckers, and R.E.M. – with a lot of great songs on them. So naturally, the one song that pops into my head during every free moment that I have is “Friday,” the infamous Rebecca Black song that has now gone over 83 million hits on YouTube.

I haven’t decided yet whether the song is garbage or trash. There is a distinction to be made there; a lot of great rock songs fall into the latter category. The former implies, basically, that something is just a piece of crap. The song is totally ridiculous – ridiculous lyrics, ridiculous singing, ridiculous narrative (if you can even call the “story” the song tells a narrative). But damn if the thing isn’t catchy, much in the same way that “Sugar, Sugar” was catchy more than 40 years ago. People are still dancing and singing along to that one. I’d love to know what Lester Bangs might have to say about “Friday” – he was a fan of “Sugar, Sugar,” along with a lot of other late 60s bubblegum classics.

I’m not going to link to the original version of the song here; it’s certainly easy enough to find. I will link to the Stephen Colbert/Jimmy Fallon/Taylor Hicks version that appeared on Fallon’s show last week, because it was seeing that version that made me begin to wonder if this really did deserve to be a phenomenon.

You can argue that it’s a terrible song, but I don’t know that you can say much about this performance that’s negative. For me, it just might be the transcendent cultural moment of 2011, so far.

“Friday” – it ain’t gonna go away, that’s for sure.


Anonymous said...

And to think that just last week I was chatting with Isabel about how Jeff's picks in music when we were in our teens would later prove to be excellent even when I didn't agree at the time (Elton John, Springsteen, Jackson Browne). Now this! Say it isn't so. I am going to have to file this blog entry in the category that Styx falls into: A rare JV mistake.


Jeff V said...

Oh, I've had my stumbles along the way. And this may very well be one of them!