Friday, April 1, 2011

Lyrical Analysis - Rebecca Black's "Friday"

Hello, and welcome to Lyrical Analysis, where I'm trying something a little different today.

Folks, some of you may have heard of a new phenomenon sweeping the nation. And if people catch Bieber Fever, I have to reason that this new fascination should be dubbed the Black Plague.

I'm speaking of course of the pure unadulterated GENIUS that is Rebecca Black and her new single that's been rising up the charts, "Friday".

I know, I know, those of you familiar with the song are undoubtedly saying to yourselves right now, "Don't you usually review BAD songs?" Well, that is true, but people a song like "Friday" only comes along once a generation, and I can't let such an opportunity pass me by. Every generation has an artist that DEFINES them. The Beatles, for example. Rebecca Black is undoubtedly such an artist.

Without further ado, "Friday". I warn you, don't listen to it all at once. A genius work such as this only come along so often, and if you don't pace yourself it IS possible to overdose on such genius.

What can really be said about such a work of inspiration? I don't know if I can even begin to explain all the reasons why this song is phenomenal, but I suppose I should try.

Before I start speaking about the words doubtlessly straight from the lips of angels that are the lyrics, allow me to comment on a few other aspects of this song and video.

First, her voice. The monotone she sings in doubtlessly signifies the deep depression many people in America try to conceal. The fact that the heavy autotune can't change her voice's monotone clearly represents that though America tries to conceal their depression, no one can fully conceal it forever.

The video itself is also a work of genius which hasn't been seen outside of the post-90's era animation works of Don Bluth. For example, the obviously underage drivers of the automobile in the beginning of the video clearly represent how many people are not emotionally mature in today's world, though they are physically mature, and perhaps considers for a moment that perhaps a reworking of the system which gives licenses out should be re-examined? The flipbook effect partway through the video represents how weeks can quickly change into months, months into years, and years into decades. As Rebecca sings about Friday, she begs you to slow down and enjoy yourself before your life passes you by.

But the lyrics are what you've come from. Honestly, there's no way I can do justice to such a work of inspiration which I can only assume to be divine, but I can try.

We begin with a repetition of "Yeah" for around 10 seconds. Normally I don't like repetition in a song, but here it shows the uncontainable optimism Black holds for the song, and the day in front of her. It works.

"7 AM/Wakin' Up in the morning/Gotta be fresh/Gotta go downstairs"

Right off the bat Black hits us with the heavy stuff, as she sings of the start of her day. 7 AM. She awakens. Once more she puts on the mask of a happy individual. A fresh face, behind a truly withering soul. "Gotta go downstairs" likely refers to the descent from her dreams into the harshness of reality. Powerful stuff most songwriters would wait a few lines in to get to, but Black is uncompromising, hitting us with the tough statements from the beginning.

"Gotta have my bowl/Gotta have cereal"

Here Black challenges the social norms. As she's presented, in the morning, with a bowl filled with cereal she says "Gotta have cereal". Why must she have cereal? Who created the social norm of eating cereal in the morning? How are social norms created? What justifies them, any more than anything else? Had she put waffles in her bowl, would that have made her a madwoman?

"Tickin' on and on/Everybody's rushin'/Gotta get down to the bus stop/gotta catch my bus"

Here again, she comments on the way time passes all too quickly, and how you can't appreciate what you have until it's gone, unless you truly live for the moment, but how living for the moment is frowned upon, even prohibited, by our modern society. This is represented by the pressure of missing her bus, were she to take a moment and relax.

"I see my friends/Kickin' in the front seat/Sittin' in the back seat/Gotta make my mind up/Which seat can I take?"

Here, once again Black displays her grasp of society, and how we can turn even the most arbitrary of choices into acts of war. Were she to sit in the back, her friends in the front would be upset with her. Were she to sit in the front, her friends in the back would be upset with her. Truly this is a lose, lose situation for her. Which choice she makes is left up to the listener to decide. But in the end she asks the question "which seat CAN I take?". Indeed, which seat can any of us take in a society liable to take offense to us "taking the other seat" as it were.

"It's Friday/Friday/Gotta get down on Friday/Everybody is lookin' forward to the weekend (Weekend)" (x2)

Here too she comments on the way time passes us by, albeit in a different manner altogether. Here she comments on how we are always too occupied looking ahead to appreciate where we are NOW. The dramatic echo of "weekend" clearly symbolizes that truly we can never fully reach our goals and must be happy with how far we've gotten, while still not completely giving up on our goals either.

"Partyin'/Partyin/Yeah!"(x2) "Fun/Fun/Fun/Fun/Lookin' forward to the weekend"

Here too she elaborates on the above idea. While we may pretend to live in the moment, we are never fully appreciating what we have. While part of us may be "partyin'" and enjoying ourselves, part of us is still just as driven toward "the weekend" as ever. Perhaps even more so.

"7:45 we're drivin' on the highway/Cruisin' so fast/I want time to fly"

Here she states how some of us even dare to wish time away, hurried with getting to where we want to be, as though we had time to waste. How spend so much time wishing for the future, we can't pay attention to the present. Coveting what we will have, we can't be thankful for what we DO have.

"Fun, fun, think about fun/You know what it is"

Clearly this is intended not as a statement, but as a question to the listeners of the song. Think about fun. Do you really know what it is? Have you ever truly experienced nothing but fun? No stress to dilute it? Has it been so long since you dared to let loose you can't even REMEMBER what fun was like?

"I got this/You got this/My friend is by my right, AY!"

This puzzled me for quite some time. "My friend is by my right, AY". I couldn't think of what she was implying. Was she saying that it's important to keep friends close? Was she saying that true friends are those who would do anything for you, "right hand men" as it were? Finally it struck me. She's implying with this nothing to DO with what's on her right, but what's on her LEFT. The brilliance of this statement overwhelmed me. She's saying that there's two sides to every coin. To keep your right side safe, with the comfort of friends, you leave your left side vulnerable to your enemies attack. Harsh words, betrayal, all of these things come with life, just as do the benefits of it, such as friends, enjoyment, and even love.

"I got this/You got this/Now you know it!"

Here she tells us implicitly that the purpose of this song was to share her unparalleled wisdom. And we do thank her for it.

At this point she repeats the chorus, once again to emphasize the message she tries to get across with the song.

"Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday/Today is Friday, Friday/We, we, we so excited/We so excited/We gonna have a ball today"

Here she says that, while it's important to enjoy the moment, you must also remember the past. It may not always be pleasant, but it's important to look back at our mistakes, our "Thursdays" past, to learn from ourselves, moving on into the future.

At this point the song switches to a rapper. This man is obviously meant to signify a man who has followed Rebecca's advice, and begun to live more in the moment.

"R-B/Rebecca Black"

He begins with her name as though to say "Remember this name." And I'm sure that we shall remember her, such a tremendous breakthrough in music history.

"So chillin' in the front seat (In the front seat)/In the back seat (In the back seat)/I'm drivin'/Cruisin/Yeah, yeah"

This is what tells us that he clearly is living by her words. Backseat? Frontseat? It doesn't matter to him. He's just drivin'. Cruisin'.

"Fast lanes, switchin' lanes/Wit' a car up on my side (Woo!)/(C'mon)Passin' by is a school bus in front of me/Makes tick tock/Tick tock/Wanna scream"

Here he sings more about the benefits of just enjoying yourself. A school bus passes him, and he laughs at the people inside stressing about the future.

"Check my time/It's friday/It's a weekend/We gonna have fun/C'mon, C'mon y'all!"

Here he closes out his rap saying that he's going to enjoy himself, and live his life for the now, not for the then. He begs us to do the same with our lives.

After this, she repeats the absolutely inspired chorus a bit more, and closes out the song. And thus is the end to a masterpiece we shall all hold in our hearts, and our minds for a long, long time.

With such a phenomenal song, it's no wonder so many people have begun to cover it. A quick youtube search shows parodies in many genres like Screamo, or Death Metal... But truly these imposters are just ripping off the immeasurable talent that is Rebecca Black, and her life changing work, "Friday".

I know with such inspired lyrics, I shall not soon forget the song, and I would hope neither would any of you. Happy April 1st everyone!

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