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Friday on my mind

Let’s state the obvious first: Rebecca Black’s Friday does not represent a zenith in the annals of popular music. I am even inclined to agree with those who suggest the song is quite awful, especially in its excess of autotuning. It sounds like the theme song for a particularly hyperactive Japanese game show. My remaining days will not be diminished by the absence of Friday on my iPod.

But those people with whom I’m inclined to agree are not the target audience, many of whom dislike the song as well. Black’s target audience has a crush on Justin Bieber. And Black’s target audience likes all manner of scantily-dressed young ladies and their dentally-blinged rapper friends for whom the age-old challenge of inventing euphemisms for the carnal act no longer is a necessity.

Rebecca Black has probably copped more hatred over the past few weeks than Colonel Gadaffy, the Taliban and wife-beating loser Charlie Sheen combined.

Perhaps I’m becoming increasingly priggish as middle-age is forcing its oppressive embrace upon me in much the same manner as a cheek-pinching moustachoid aunt reeking of cheap perfume would, but I rather welcome the innocence of Rebecca Black’s song. Indeed, I would locate her lyrics in the inventory of early ’60s pop, when the Beach Boys had fun fun fun fun fun and possibly contemplated the seating arrangements in their little Deuce Coupé as they cruised fast to go partyin’ partyin’ (yeah).

Black offers innocent relief to the image of a virtually naked Lady Gaga drinking blood as she thrashes about in the fake vagina of a creepy dude with face tattoos. Even if Rebecca’s fellow car passengers seem to be squirming in evident embarrassment, why should she not have fun fun fun fun on Friday. And why should she not make a record and video about it? She is 13 years old, after all. Contrast that with the venerable gentlemen from Green Day, no less in the clutches of moustachoid Aunty Middle-Age than I am, who choose to call their new live album Awesome As Fuck, a title any halfway sentient kid over 14 would reject as lame.

If we want to mock bad lyrics, then there are many far more appropriate targets. You can find seven of them here, and feel free to add more examples in the comments section to this post. And does Rebecca merit scorn for her doctored vocals when the autotuned rapper Drake — an autotuned rapper, for crying out loud! — remains at liberty? Do we really want to point fingers and laugh at the child? What sort of cruel society takes pleasure in making an apparently perfectly nice 13-year-old girl cry, because she likes to have fun?

My good friend Ian provided what I think is the most perceptive observation to the Rebecca-scorning, saying that he would be “heartbroken” if his teenage daughters were “subject to an international hate and laughter campaign just because they made a song about how much they love Friday night”. Indeed.

And while we formulate our responses of empathy to the next person who mocks Rebecca Black, here’s a tribute to the days of the week, even those Rebecca fails to mention, in the Any Major Week mix. As always, it should fit on a standard CD-R.

TRACKLISTING
1. Marvin Sease – Friday (2001)
2. Dee Dee Warwick – Another Lonely Saturday (Baby I’m Yours) (1965)
3. Chaka Khan – Any Old Sunday (1981)
4. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Monday Monday (2006)
5. Cat Stevens – Tuesday’s Dead (1971)
6. Simon & Garfunkel – Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964)
7. Harry Nilsson – (Thursday) Here’s Why I Did Not Go To Work Today (1976)
8. Steely Dan – Black Friday (1975)
9. Nick Drake – Saturday Sun (1970)
10. Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning (1967)
11. John Prine – Long Monday (2005)
12. Chairmen Of The Board – Everyday’s Tuesday (1970)
13. Ronnie Dyson – A Wednesday In Your Garden (1973)
14. Matt Costa – Sweet Thursday (2006)
15. The Pale Fountains – Beyond Fridays Field (1984)
16. Josh Woodward – Saturday (2006)
17. Laura Nyro & Labelle – I Met Him On A Sunday (1971)
18. Fats Domino – Blue Monday (1956)
19. Yazoo – Tuesday (1982)
20. Lisa Loeb – Waiting For Wednesday (1995)
21. The Futureheads – Thursday (2006)
22. Jens Lekman – Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo (2007)
23. Walker Brothers – Saturday’s Child (1966)

GET IT

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  1. April 7th, 2011 at 13:42 | #1

    This is the best commentary I’ve seen yet on “Friday.” People forget that the girl is just 13, and have treated her as though she’s the first 13-year-old in history to do very badly something she loves to do. (The same people who have probably forgotten about the poetry they wrote at that age.) And you’re right–better other 13-year-olds listen to that, and to Bieber, than a lot of the crap on the radio.

  2. Douglas
    April 7th, 2011 at 15:48 | #2

    Nice inclusion of Mr. Nilsson!

  3. April 7th, 2011 at 16:34 | #3

    As somebody observed somewhere… I think it was on Twitter… that her lyrics were no worse than stuff done by the Black Eyed Peas.

    I’m not defending this song though, it really is bad.

    But… once you’ve seen the Colbert version on the Jimmy Fallon show you’ll change your mind:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5Asg5ww_Iw

  4. Sonic
    April 7th, 2011 at 17:55 | #4

    Great job, Dude. I have seen similar efforts, but they did not go nearly as deep as you did. The subject headline led me to expect the Easybeats. Like how you have Susanna Hoffs, but not the expected Manic Monday. Nice to hear from musicians I am not familiar with. By the way, I also appreciate that you always have album art with your files.

  5. halfhearteddude
    April 7th, 2011 at 18:04 | #5

    That is brilliant.

  6. April 7th, 2011 at 19:05 | #6

    It’s a pop song. I’m no fan of the AutoTune, but Cher uses it to good effect, and it is, for the moment, a tool in the quiver, like guitars and synths. It’s a song about being 13 that seems to be a lot more like being 13 than many such. I think it is amusing, at a minimum.

  7. April 8th, 2011 at 15:26 | #7

    When sung and produced by a more experienced crew, the song sounds the equal of a hundred other hit pop songs. Love Me Do wasn’t the most crafty song but the Beatles made a career from it.

    Rebecca’s performance was poor. It’s possible that she can’t sing but I’m not sure that Britney Spears can either. Whatever talent she may have was diminished by wretched production and cheesy visuals. She would have received zero attention if the lyrics had not been mind-numbingly bad and I’ve read that they were from a professional team.

    I remember teen stars and lightweight pop songs. This isn’t the death of music by any means. She had the opportunity and made use of it. Good for her. Tell her dad to spend more money next time and get better people. If the girl has any actual talent, Simon Cowell will make her an offer. She’s already got the buzz which will save them a fortune in promotion money.

    Good mixtape by the way. everything blends together well and you didn’t pick the most obvious choices.

  8. DkWallace
    April 8th, 2011 at 21:00 | #8

    I think I agree with sentiment that calls off the attacks on young Ms. Black as an individual. But a deconstruction of the kind of society that could create her and something like “Friday” is sorely necessary. While I’m not going to claim that the existence of “Friday” portends the coming apocalypse, I do think that it’s safe to say that the kind of unreflexive excess we see celebrated in the song, and then further exemplified in the act of paying for a recording and videoing it is rather horrifying. Work went into putting that thing together and it does beg the question, why? The American century was the 20th, it will not be the 21st. Our stupidity is makes us top heavy.

  9. halfhearteddude
    April 9th, 2011 at 09:48 | #9

    At the same time, aren’t we overstating how bad the song is? It’s not very good, but it’s hardly the worst song of all time either. Nor, in a generation of the Black Eyed Peas and Drake, the wrst contemporary hit.

  10. April 10th, 2011 at 06:29 | #10

    Dropping in to say ‘hello.’ Been a long time. Fusion 45 ramping back up slowly. In the meantime, it’s nice to see you continuing your ever-cultured point of view. Cheers. F45

  11. April 10th, 2011 at 06:29 | #11

    And by the way: Nice mix.

  12. sw2boro
    April 11th, 2011 at 13:47 | #12

    Hey Dude, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but “This file is no longer available because of a claim by Universal Music”, which seems like a bit of a shame.

  13. halfhearteddude
    April 11th, 2011 at 22:15 | #13

    Ah damn, looks like there’s a bit of a crackdown going on…

  14. April 13th, 2011 at 08:59 | #14

    A fellow by the name of Walt Ribeiro took “Friday” and arranged it for orchestra. It’s not half-bad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP887IpQL00&feature=related . Nice mix!

  15. April 15th, 2011 at 19:18 | #15

    Well done on not including The Cure’s awfully pedestrian ‘Friday’s I’m In Love’, but The Jam’s beautifully delievered ‘Monday’ might have made the cut.

  16. April 18th, 2011 at 05:56 | #16

    Very well done. I’ve heard worse, and after watching Stephen Colbert’s version on Jimmy Kimmel, it was actually growing on me in a Weird Al sort of way.

  17. April 25th, 2011 at 03:25 | #17

    I’m a full-blown midlife geezer. My initial reaction to the video was that it was, well, lame. But then I realized how lame I actually am to let myself hop on the band wagon of criticism without thinking things through. The truth is, the tune is kind of catchy, and I’m too old to let my “peers” tell me what I should like and what I should not like.

    How pathetic to read what a bunch of foul-mouthed, nasty commenters had to say about this young girl. How horrible, how terrible, the things some of them said, all of it so unnecessary and undeserved.

    Thanks for the article. You nailed it. I’ll save the “increasing coarseness of society largely due to TV, Movies and he Internet” for another time.

  18. halfhearteddude
    June 11th, 2011 at 15:01 | #18

    The mix is back up. If you are Universal Music, contact me so that I can remove the songs you don’t want publicised.

  19. Boinga
    July 18th, 2011 at 08:43 | #19

    I’ve never heard the little girl’s song, so I have no comment on that. I think it’s common for people to be so wrapped up in image that they might have their mind made up about a song before they’ve heard it. A terrible mistake.

    Great mix. I would have included Sonic Youth’s song, Sunday: http://youtu.be/CY5IEsms6ck
    Macaulay makes me feel like a pervy cougar watching this. I’m not a fan of Harmony Korine, but I like the video.

  20. halfhearteddude
    April 22nd, 2012 at 20:11 | #20
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