FRIDAY: A Close Analysis

Categorised as FEATURES., MUSIC.

Everyone has been debating the merits of Rebecca Black’s debut offering, whether or not we are now through the looking glass and have entered the ‘other side’, where merit no longer exists and where the opposite is, in fact, more powerful. Regardless of the reasons, or even your opinions, racking up seventy million hits on youtube is not something to be ignored and the reaction that this one song has caused is now the subject of much academic debate and MINT is about to join the party.

To frame this piece it comes from a comment on Facebook in which I Said that this song is a song about unpredictability.

Glyn Peppiatt:

On the contrary Marcus, clearly Rebecca Black’s Friday is a musical essay that explores the ennui of the inability of the Human being to vary ones life from a pre ordained fate. It explores both this idea both in the context of the pressure exerted on one by society’s expectations and the deterministic universe that Rebecca finds herself operating in.

These themes are represented in the very first shots of the video, a list of the days of the week, cataloguing the unchanging unremitting flow of time toward a specific point and are further brought to the fore by the captions accompanying them-  these  tell Rebecca what she should do and who she is, and how to feel about it. “I am thursdays child”  “friday, I’m in love”  “Hooray”.

It’s clear to the conscientious viewer that Rebecca lives, from birth to death-  in a pre ordained narrative.

Witness the first verse.. a list of things Rebecca has GOTTA do-

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

She has no choice in what she GOTTA  do.
The direction and destiny of Ms. Rebecca Black is set, and she responds to this by intoning in a computer enhanced robot voice that expresses perfectly the emotional disconnection this life must bring.

For Rebecca Black- Her getting down on Friday, is an unavoidable consequence of being brought into existence.

However, though there is determinism at work here, and although it’s truth is clear in the song, occasionally this universe gives  emotional respite-   Just as she’s listed the things  she has to do,  she has a chance-   a choice point, a chance to diverge from the clockwork, inevitable rush toward getting down on friday.

This brings, a slight relief, the choice in question here is a small one. A slim sliver of hope that maybe free will exists,  that one can break free from  the shackles of fate…

“Which seat can I take?”

On the surface, this looks like Rebecca has at least for a second, Free will. Countless philosophers will posit this as evidence of entropy breaking into the narrative structure,  that the human spirit can indeed overcome the script of the universe, however, let me put that idea to rest quickly. This choice  is nothing of the sort,  It is  flim- flam. An illusion,  It’s  Derren Brown’s sleight of mind.  It’s Henry Ford  telling us, you can have any colour you want, AS LONG AS IT’S BLACK.

We have to bear in mind-  she’s not driving the car, she has no control over where it’s going. We also must consider the diction, – she’s not asking which seat do I want to take or will take, she’s asking which seat CAN I take… she’s asking if it’s possible?  and the answer comes back rapidly – as surely as Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday, Tomorrow is Saturday And Sunday comes after.

Without actually making the decision, Rebecca finds herself in the back seat anyway.


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