Thirteen-Year-Old Rebecca Black's Lyrics vs. Katy Perry's Lyrics Thirteen-Year-Old Rebecca Black's Lyrics vs. Katy Perry's Lyrics
Culture

Thirteen-Year-Old Rebecca Black's Lyrics vs. Katy Perry's Lyrics

by Cord Jefferson

March 19, 2011

By now you've undoubtedly seen the music video for the Rebecca Black song "Friday." Though initially uploaded to YouTube a month ago in an attempt to jump-start the California-based Black's singing career, the blandly bouncy, low-budget tune set the 13-year-old up for global public humiliation.

Though "Friday" has now been seen almost 14 million times, it's likely that most of those viewings have been ironic, with writers around the world posting the video and asking if it's "the worst song ever" or if Black herself is "a joke." There's also a healthy market for ironic remixes of "Friday," with professional producers and DJs taking Black's admittedly rough source material and turning it into everything from dubstep tracks to metal songs. 

It's all a little funny—until you realize you're laughing at an eighth-grade girl who just wanted to make a song.

Today, in her first interview since becoming a laughingstock, Black tells the Daily Beast that all the vitriol has "really shocked" her. Adding: "It feels I’m being cyberbullied."

She also notes that, outside of singing "Friday," and dancing in the video, she didn't have any hand in creating the song. She just went to a casting call at Ark Music, a record production company, with dreams of becoming a pop star, and she got the part. She then had to choose between two songs: "Friday" or another one that she felt didn't speak to her. "The other song was about adult love," Black told the Daily Beast. "I haven’t experienced that yet. 'Friday' is about hanging out with friends, having fun. I felt like it was my personality in that song."

Basically, Rebecca Black is a child singing about things children like to do: Get to the bus on time, sit with their friends, have "fun, fun, fun." It's a song by a kid for kids. Why are adult music critics so eager to call her track "disastrous," as if it's in the running for Pitchfork's album of the year? Calling "Friday" disastrous is akin to The New York Review of Books  tearing apart The Berenstein Bears. Sure, it doesn't meet your standards. It's not for you.

One last thing worth pointing out is that, while every music writer and their cousin is spending 400 words knocking Black's simplistic lyrics, nobody was saying a thing when Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, both of whom are more than a decade older than Black, were releasing similar schlock and selling millions of records. A sampling is below:

Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream"

We drove to Cali/ and got drunk on the beach
/ Got a motel and
/ built a fort out of sheets/ 
I finally found you
/ my missing puzzle piece
/ I'm complete

Lady Gaga, "Telephone"

Hello, hello, baby/ You called, I can't hear a thing/ I have got no service/ In the club, you see, see/ Wh-wh-what did you say?/ Oh, you're breaking up on me/ Sorry, I cannot hear you/ I'm kinda busy

Lady Gaga, "Boys, Boys, Boys"

Boys, boys, boys/ We like boys in cars/ 
Boys, boys, boys/ 
Buy us drinks in bars/ 
Boys, boys, boys/ 
With hairspray and denim
/ Boys, boys, boys
/ We love them/ 
We love them

Katy Perry, "E.T."

You're so hypnotizing/ Could you be the devil/ Could you be an angel/ Your touch, magnetizing/ Feels like I am floating/ Leaves my body glowing

Those lyrics aren't quite Kate Bush-caliber either, and Gaga and Perry are adults.

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Thirteen-Year-Old Rebecca Black's Lyrics vs. Katy Perry's Lyrics