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So far, Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” is the most culturally relevant song of the decade.
No, I’m not joking.
Many of you are thinking “but this song is a joke…everyone makes fun of it”.
Yeah…but in the process…they are BUYING IT. The song is a hit, and has charted on Billboard without the backing of a record label. Without all of the added costs that go along with a label release, this girl is making REALLY GOOD money, more money in fact than most of your favorite artists. This is making music history, and it should be considered a bit of a victory that an unsigned artist can have a major hit while bypassing the antiquated label system.
However, that alone isn’t why the song is so important…
Yes, millions of people are laughing at the terrible lyrics…mocking her for the excessive use of auto-tuning on her vocals…
But really…is the song THAT much worse than most of what people actually DO like?
No one was mocking Fergie for “my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my hump my lovely lady lumps” or Usher for "Shorty got a booty like pow pow pow/Honey got some boobies like wow oh wow". No one noticed how bad the lyrics were when Miley Cyrus sang “I’m noddin’ my head like Yeah! I’m moving my hips like Yeah!” or when Britney Spears sang “Womanizer, Woman, Womanizer. You're a Womanizer, oh Womanizer oh You're a Womanizer, baby. You you you are, You you you are. Womanizer, Womanizer, Womanizer”
These songs were all legitimate hits…and they are every bit as stupid as Friday. The problem was that people either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
As far as auto-tuning goes…ever heard of T Pain? Will.i.am? Many of the biggest artists in the industry are auto-tuned beyond recognition. And people happily buy the albums and sing along. They make these artists millionaires for the same reasons they are now making fun of Rebecca Black. Keep in mind that Rebecca is 13 and Will.i.am is 36.
So what is the difference here?
Simple…Rebecca Black is a joke because she is unsigned. If Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears had released Friday, it would have been an even bigger hit than it is now. The only thing Rebecca Black is missing is a multi-million dollar ad campaign.
Speaking of which…
Make no mistake about it…the music industry thinks you are stupid. They intentionally write and record the dumbest music they can possibly create, because they think that is all you’re really able to understand. When we were talking with labels one thing we heard over and over again was “you have to dumb your songs down to preschool levels or people won’t get them”. We refused to do that, which is a big reason why we remain unsigned. If a song is a hit, other artists are told to copy it…and they do…and those songs become hits as well. The “Powers That Be” in the music industry truly think that YOU are a moron. We should all be insulted.
Please don’t misunderstand…I’m not suggesting that Friday is a great song, or has even an ounce of wit behind it. I’m also not bashing pop in general. The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Prince, pretty much all of the classic Motown stuff…these are some of the all time greats in music history. The point is that the industry as a whole has degraded to an embarrassing level, and people are now not only laughing at a bad song, they are laughing at every artist like her (and often at themselves).
There is obviously a place for fun music. Where would any of us be without Ice, Ice Baby?? (don't answer that) However, when the industry standard is to promote music that celebrates it’s own stupidity and profits off of the assumption that the listener is also stupid, then we have a problem.
Rebecca Black has unintentionally thrown down the gauntlet for us all. Either we embrace the current intellectually and emotionally bankrupt music industry, or we demand something more.