Celebrating the best (and worst) of the Tosh.0 blog in 2011.
2011 was the year I became part of pop culture history.
I first wrote about Rebecca Black's "Friday" in a post entitled "Songwriting Isn't For Everyone" on March 11th. A number of major news organizations (such as Nightline and CNN) credit that post with launching the song's success: success that eventually sent it to the top YouTube's list of most watched videos for 2011.
Yes, I took some jabs at the song. But here's the thing: I like "Friday." I believe "Friday" struck a chord not because it's so poorly done, but because it was done so well.
The production values of the video are professional, surprisingly so given the video's much publicized low budget. Even the music is well produced, sounding as good as (or as bad as) much of what constitutes pop music today.
Rebecca's singing is fine. Her appearance is typically teen. I'd go so far as to call her lip-syncing "proficient."
The song's catchy too. The hook is solid not just melodically, but also conceptually: everyone can relate to looking forward to Fridays.
So here's this video that everyone put their best efforts behind — Ark Music has production flare, Rebecca sings her heart out. What happened? Why'd this particular song hit a nerve?
Well, the lyrics suck. Like out-of-this-world bad.
And lyrics are important. They may be the most important part of a song. They are the song's heart, grounding ethereal music in down-to-earth language. And yet Ark Music forged ahead blindly ignoring this fatal flaw.
"Friday" is like so many Hollywood blockbuster movies: tons of special effects, but no substance. Yet here, the inane lyrics are so front and center the song's Achilles' heal is vulnerable for everyone to see.
In 2011, things like "Friday" are more and more the norm. So much of our culture has been built around using image and flash in a vain attempt to scam our way to the top without people peeking behind the curtain to realize there's no substance.
"Friday" was our chance to laugh at ourselves without having to address any of the bigger issues. Society could pick on the little guy — an unknown teen and some borderline-shyster music producers self-releasing a song to YouTube — whose flash wasn't able to mask their flaws, without digging deeper into the question of why we're keeping up with the Kardashians and watching another Transformers movie …or how some of the world's biggest banks can go broke and some of the world's strongest countries can near default.
"Friday" was the easiest of easy cultural diversions because, as so rarely happens, we could all point to exactly what was wrong. Everyone could click the dislike button with utmost confidence, with no cultural repercussions.
You couldn't fool us, Rebecca Black, with your glossy music video. We caught you as soon as you tried to pass off "fun, fun, fun, fun" as a real song lyric….
In a couple days, 2012 will roll around. I can't wait to see what our next big distraction is.
We need a big one. It's an election year.