March 21, 2011

The Genius of Rebecca Black

Very rarely something as magical as this comes along on the internet. An authentic, accidental organic, free range, fair trade meme. A meme that forces an unknown into the spotlight to be sacrificed, parodied and mocked by the masses, through completely no fault of their own.
This is the kind of video that has already spawned a whole host of mini memes including ‘which seat shall I take’ and ‘Fried egg’, and all of this comes from a 13 year old girl from California who just happened to make a music video. A video that really has to be seen, to be believed.

In just over a week the video has shot to over 29 million views, after being embedded on the Tosh.0 Comedy Central blog and is yet to show any sign of slowing down.

So let’s look at the anatomy of the meme, what elements does ‘Friday’ have that separates it from the other viral videos?

1) The lyrics.
The song Friday features such gems as “Yesterday was Thursday / Today it is Friday / We, we, we so excited / We so excited / We gonna have a ball today / Tomorrow is Saturday / and Sunday comes afterwards / I don’t want this weekend to end.”

Prompting many twitter users to sarcastically thank Rebecca for such priceless information. At one point, even the messiah chimed in.

2) The Autotune
Taking its lead from many previous memes the song has been autotuned to an almost unrecognizable level. The word ‘Friday’ melts into a sea of bum notes and is replaced instead with something that sounds suspiciously like ‘fried egg’.
Cue the Christina Aguilera misheard lyric image macro.

3) The girl in pink
Surely if there was a prize for the most awkward backing dancers in the world then it would go to Rebecca Black’s entourage. The painful, strained facial expressions of her tween friends mixed with bizarre robotic dance moves have been turned into gif after gif and embedded into Tumblr blogs all across the globe. Special mention goes to the girl in pink who has racked up over 70,000 likes on Facebook. You can join the revolution here

4) Which seat will I take?
One of the strongest mini memes to emerge is this one. Rebecca sings “Kicking in the front seat, sitting in the back seat. Gotta make my mind up, which seat will I take?” Luckilly, the internet (being a helpful bunch) was there to provide a solution to the teen’s dilemma.

Like all good memes, the video was just the beginning. Friday has evolved into something bigger and stronger through parodies and commentary, gathering up old memes along the way and rebirthing them.

The final honorable mention goes to this (weirdly good) Bob Dylan style cover version currently doing the rounds, giving the meme a new and completely abstract dimension.