Is Rebecca Black a rising talent or a victim of a cynical media?

Well that depends on how you define talent. The Rebecca Black song, ‘Friday’, has been the centre of a media circus for the last week but to say it’s the worse song in the world is a little far fetched. The major music labels have recorded far worse.

What is amazing is that this has happened by accident and all in a week. It’s not some clever PR event managed by a team of marketing wizards drinking cocktails in the ivory towers of some music label. In many ways it’s a happy accident, or unhappy depending where you sit.

Love it or hate it, laugh or cry, ‘Friday‘ is actually a catchy formulaic pop song and highlights just how processed music has become, even down to the pointless rap section in the middle.

Black is just a teenager having fun and no doubt many teens will see her as a new hero. I have little doubt that brand managers and marketing consultants are looking at her and thinking how they can exploit her to reach the teen market.

Some will say this phenomenon  proves the power of social networking, but the reality is that most of the 31 million who have visited the YouTube video probably heard about it on the TV, radio or via mates in the office, it’s had an amazing amount of media coverage. According to Keller Fray research,  90% of chatter goes on offline not on online and PR drives many big hitters on YouTube.

Black, who is just 13, has now overtaken the baby face of pop bubblegum musak, Justin Bieber on iTunes, and is now in the top 25. Yep, people are actually buying the track so she stands to make a small fortune, not bad considering her parents paid $2000 to record the track.

Even Simon Cowell, who has given us lots of rubbish pop music, and never one to miss an opportunity for some PR, claims he wants to meet her. Last week he wouldn’t have given her the time of day but the media makes ordinary people into celebrities overnight and for some reason we actually see these people as something special.

Blacks’ song would probably have remained unnoticed with a few dozen YouTube hits from her Facebook friends if it hadn’t been for the press picking up on it’s banal lyrics,

“Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday.? Today is Friday, Friday. We-we-we so excited.?We so excited.?We gonna have a ball today.?? Tomorrow is Saturday? and Sunday comes afterwards.?I don’t want this weekend to end.”

Ironically, she didn’t write them, she had paid to record a song at the Ark Music Factory who write pop songs for teenage kids to record. Alana Lee (Butterflies) is another of their acts who is actually getting praised for her song and riding off the back of Black’s success.

Friday’s blatantly observational lyrics has stimulated dozens of mick takes on YouTube, most worse than the original. But that’s what is so great about YouTube, it’s a great place to have a laugh and be laughed at. And the worse it is the bigger the pull, after all Evolution of Dance (by Judson Laipply) has over 167 million views.

For limp lyrics just listen to one of Kerrang radio’s top air plays at the moment, Killing Inside by Brazilian metal rockers, Cavalera Conspiracy.

“Killing inside, We are commotion. Killing inside, Killing inside, I am destruction. Killing inside, Killing inside, I am the healer, Everyone dies.” Hardly poetry.

Or what about the kid of pop, the new Donny Osmond, Justin Bieber? Take these lyrics from Baby, viewed by almost 500 million teens, can they get any worse?

“And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh, like baby, baby, baby, no like baby, baby, baby, oh I thought you’d always be mine, mine. Baby, baby, baby, oh, like baby, baby, baby, no like baby, baby, baby, oh I thought you’d always be mine, mine.” Tosh or what?

Justin Bieber is mediocrity hyped by a very manipulating music industry with no ethics. His Pray song is discraceful, exploiting suffering to sell a bad song to make money for his record company. Well that’s my opinion. When I posted a comment on the video I got a torrent of abuse from a teenage girl who claims to be “in love with him”. Freaky or what?

This is the danger with pop idols, emotionally confused teenagers idolise them. Which raises the issue, is it ethical for record companies to exploit teenagers like Bieber and Black? Look at the effect it had on Michael Jackson.

At least  Rebecca Black isn’t unethical, she’s just a kid having fun. Hopefully she’ll laugh in the face of the shallow media that ridicules her for standards few of them rise above.

For good or bad, she’s become the centre of publicity and if she’s smart she’ll use it to start a successful career. Let’s be honest, the music industry doesn’t trade in talent but trash these days, so she’s got a head start and maybe Bieber & Black would make a good musical duo. The big question is, can she remain a hit after this Friday?

Finally, I picked up this moving message posted under her video.

“I was going through so much pain in my life and considered ending it all, but then I heard this song. You saved my life, Rebecca. Thank you for creating such an inspiring piece of music.”


  • Guest

    I’ve just graduated with a first class BA honours in English from LSBU and I’m finding it equally as hard to get onto a graduate scheme. Employers offering graduate schemes are focusing more on UCAS Points and what university applicants are from, which I feel is slightly unfair. The University league table has misrepresented universities such as LSBU to employers, which has had an adverse affect on myself and others. LSBU is a great university, despite its ranking on the league table.