In defense of Rebecca Black

There I was just sitting around growing old, minding my own business perusing the Interwebs, and I kept coming across this girl’s name – Rebecca Black.  Frankly, I’ve never read such hateful things about a person.  Gadhafi gets better press.  I began to wonder what she had done.  Had she gassed a litter of puppies?  Did she rob little old ladies of their Social Security checks?  Perhaps she pantsed the Pope in front of a cathedral full of nuns (does the Pope even wear pants?).

It turns out she didn’t do anything that crosses the moral lines.  No, she had the audacity to record a silly pop song and make a video.  The song is inane and irritating and asinine… basically it sounds like 98% of the crap that passes for pop music these days.  Her talent it marginal… again, pick a pop star today and you could probably hang that adjective around their neck.  She’s a 13-year-old kid that’s just being a 13-year-old kid. 

As I understand it, she didn’t write the song.   According to Newser, her mother paid Ark Music Factory to write and record the song and video.  It sounds like a self-publishing model for the music industry, which is totally cool.  The girl’s real crime here is that she seems to have struck a viral chord.  Her video has over 42 million hits.  Her song’s in the top 20 on iTunes.  In short, she’s made money with her music.  And she’s doing so by being either slightly less or no less talented than most the musicians making music today with a song that’s just as silly as most the hits today.   

Here is an example of a huge pop hit:

Hello, hello, baby, you called? I can’t hear a thing
I have got no service, in the club, you see, you see
Wha-Wha-What did you say, huh? You’re breaking up on me
Sorry, I cannot hear you, I’m kinda busy

K-kinda busy
K-kinda busy
Sorry, I cannot hear you
I’m kinda busy

Talk about inane!  And that’s Telephone, a gigantic hit by Lady Gaga. 

By comparison here is the first part of Rebecca’s song Friday.

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

One is an idiotic description of bad cell service and the other is an idiotic description of someone’s morning.  What the hell?  Neither one of them give me hope for the future of music. 

I know, I know, I was supposed to defend Rebecca Black not bury her music.  I’m not here to defend Rebecca’s song.  I don’t care for it, but I hate Telephone just as much, so it’s not a personal attack on the 13-year-old crooner.  Today’s pop music just doesn’t do anything for me.  I am offended by the vicious attacks on Ms. Black.  She’s very clearly a victim of online bullying.  People have threatened her.  They’ve encouraged her to commit suicide.  They’ve treated her horribly.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  She’s thirteen!  She’s a kid!  Let her have her fun.  Be critical, but back away from the hateful comments, my friends.  Christ almighty, it’s a song about Friday, not a call for genocide!  Get a little perspective. 

Okay, old man rant over.  Have a good FRIDAY!

Question of the day – What was your first concert?

So, the Michael Jackson post turned into a discussion about musical preferences, and it made me get a little nostalgic.  I attended my first concert in 1977 when I was 11-years-old in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The artist was the incomparable “talk box” artist, Peter Frampton.  “Do you feel like I do,” was his signature song at the time, and I was chomping at the bit to see how he made that guitar talk.  I remember being really irritated that he actually played other songs.  My tastes diverged into the Southern Rock, Blues, and Pop arena shortly thereafter, so obviously the experience did not shape my musical preferences.

How about it?  What was your first concert experience?  Did it shape your listening habits for the rest of your life?  While you are perusing memory lane, here’s a little taste of Mr. Talk Box himself:

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I Kissed the Floor and I liked It – Kate Perry Wipes Out on Stage

The woman who sang about kissing a girl and liking it got a little too cutesy on stage and fell flat on her face. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Kate Perry getting in a very uncool, unrock like moment:

A Few Honest Words

As we head into the homestretch of the presidential election, this Ben Sollee song perfectly captures what I expect, and rarely get from our politicians.  Just A Few Honest Words.  If only.