by Rebecca Black
As a rule, I try to wait out web memes, but Rebecca Black's original "Friday" got too big too fast for that. The 13-year-old Southern Californian's mom purchased the song-and-video combo for $2,000 from a vanity label, and she got what she paid for, and then some: "Friday" is the gunkiest piece of pop junk to hit the air, even in an epoch that brought us Ke$ha, who is probably firing her entire team for having been out-trashed by someone who wasn't even trying. But that gunkiness is part of the appeal of "Friday." It was never intended to blow up the way it did, even given Black's showbiz aspirations. Stung by the instantaneous backlash the song endured after it got all over the web and then TV, she vowed to Chris Lee of the Daily Beast that she would record an acoustic version.
To prove... what? That "Friday" is a good song? Well, no, it's not. It's an accident—unscripted performance art that happens to conform to a lot of people's worst ideas about teen-pop, with lyrics so brainpan-scouringly inane that "My Humps" is Dickens by comparison. But for all that's wrong with it, it's indelible. Like a lot of people I know, I find myself involuntarily humming "Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun" to myself in a harsh, flat monotone without even realizing it until somewhere around the sixth "fun." For a few days there, it looked like the song was unkillable. But there is, in fact, a way to vanquish all that fun, and it's to perform "Friday" with acoustic instruments on Good Morning America.
Black made good on her promise to the Beast exactly the way you'd expect from a 13-year-old: by being very literal-minded. If there's an acoustic guitar and piano, and it's in your suburban living room, then it's "real." Especially if you sing it like a prom song—a prom song with a bridge that goes, "Kickin' in the front seat/Sittin' in the backseat/Gotta make my mind up/Which seat can I take?" Cut, naturally, to a close-up of the pianist struggling to keep a straight face. The real nadir, though, came when Black held the last word of "I don't want this weekend to end" for several seconds, going flat about halfway through and staying there for the rest of the song. Now that's the "Friday" I remember—the one that stuck. In the contest between bad-memorable and respectable-blah, the first one wins every time.