Shape Up, Mrs. Black

Selling out for fame isn’t a new phenomenon.  Neither is dumbing-down music to increase popularity.  Pop music is often dumb on purpose. It’s that earworm thing I wrote about before.  If lyrics are simple and the beat or a motif that repeats gives your intelligence a comfy chair to sleep in, you are more likely to plop right down.

Rebecca Black is only 13, for pity’s sake.  She can’t get a driver’s license.  She’s barely old enough to date.  WTF is her mom doing, trying to jump-start her music career?  Look, the girl can have all the dreams she wants.  Imagination’s good.  She imagined what it would be like to be a pop singer.  Did mom say “That’s nice, honey.  Would you like to have some voice lessons?”  Of course not.  That would be…sensible.

What Mrs. Black did was spend TWO GRAND on a “we can make you dawter a STAH” promo package sold by hustlers.  The hustlers offered them two suitably dumb songs to choose between.  One was about sex and the other was about partying on the weekend.  Rebecca was creeped out about the sex, not having had any yet (whew).  She recorded the partying song, they made a music video, posted it on YouTube and ba-da-bing!  Gazillion views, displacing the previous Charlie Sheen freak show.

Instant infamy of this kind tends to create some backlash.  Like I said, Rebecca’s 13, and her voice is immature and untrained.  The few notes required in the song are auto-tuned waaay beyond necessity, making the poor kid sound robotic.  Nobody coached her about her accent, and when she “sings” the too-often-repeated title it sounds like “Fry-ee-day”.  In my imagination, she’s just an ordinary girl.  The song makes her seem like an empty-headed, insubstantial twit.  There were nasty comments in reaction to the viral video urging her to cut herself or get an eating disorder.  The comments made her cry.  And now she’s famous – for appearing to be an idiot.

I expect Rebecca will get over it.  I hope it happens soon.  Unfortunately the person who should have offered a voice of experience, her mom, acted unwisely.  That’s the one I hope has learned her lesson.  Fame, without regard to quality, is a nasty drug.

The girl’s had enough.  Or maybe she hasn’t.  She still thinks she and Justin Bieber should do a duet.  (Ay-yi-yi…)

I’m not going to post the video.    Go look on YouTube if you are curious, and let me know if you agree, but be warned.  The song IS an earworm.


Filed under Ethics and Morality, humor, Music, Self-Esteem

15 responses to “Shape Up, Mrs. Black

  1. I saw this last week and was horrified. Sure, she achieved a small measure of fame, but I suspect it’s not the kind she was seeking. I never once thought she was an idiot. I reserved that label for her parents who, apparently, thought this was a good thing for their daughter or wanted to reap the benefits of their child’s impending stardom. Sadly, it was probably the latter.

  2. I’m not certain Rebecca understands the difference between being famous and being a professional, and I agree with you mfog. It’s the adults in that household who bear responsibility, if there are any adults.

  3. I didn’t know about this video, but I absolutely love your writing in this post. Especially, “Fame, without regard to quality, is a nasty drug.” So well said. I hope the mother really has learned a lesson.

  4. Before I saw the videoo I was like we;ll a gal oughta follow her dreams…then I saw her video. Saw how many folks were laughing at her. And found myself laughing too. Poor kid. I don’t even think it’s so much her lack of talent so much as the song writers and.the video makers. “Where am I going to sit?”
    And “Yesterday was Thursday.” Might work in an English as a second language class as a teaching tool if you don’t mind enunciating like a robot. Poor kid.
    Hope Mom has some money left over for the years of therapy.
    (I know it was bad of me to find it funny, but… and no, I doubt she’s dumb. It just looks like she was a reject from Disney or something. I bet she’s selling a lot of the ring tones for the dorkiness value).
    I can’t really say anything though b/c a few young folks ganged up on me for retweeting something stupid one said and I was upset….but poem coming soon probably! Heh. It’s funny now since it happened in January.

    • I probably should have been more explanatory about just how dumb the song’s lyrics are. Good point, Lisa. The writers destined her for ridicule:

      “Kickin’ in the front seat.
      Sittin’ in the back seat.
      Gotta make my mind up
      Which seat can I ta-ee-ake?”

      (==Mikey’s head begins aching at the temples.==)
      I’ll look forward to your poem.

  5. Pie

    I had a look at the video on YouTube… TWO GRAND?! On THAT?!! This could’ve been done so much cheaper and more effectively with a camcorder and a microphone, using a mac with iMovie, Garageband and a free music production software like Audacity to put it all together. Not forgetting, of course, a proper tune. That would help enormously.

    Her singing is not as bad as I thought it would be, but with such a heavy overlay of AutoTune (which I think should be banned), it’s hard to tell. Oh, and where would a modern pop tune be without the obligatory rap bit in the middle? Just so you know it’s from the ‘streets,’ rather than an overly-ambitious wealthy parent’s vanity project. She may get over this unwanted side of fame, Mikey, but as it’s up in cyberspace forevermore, I don’t think she’ll ever be allowed to forget.

    • The kid’s been appearing on news and talk shows ever since , proving that she really CAN sing – a little (a very little). I predict she’s going to end up in the land of Rob and Fab.

  6. I’m not looking at the video. After all the other cruelty around lately, I think I’d me inclined to jsut see it as more cruelty. So I’m taking a raincheck on this one.
    Mother needs therapy, by the sounds of it.

  7. Pie

    Stage mums and AutoTune: both of them should be banned!

  8. My daughter actually feels bad for Rebecca Black and has forbade me from writing about her. But this doesn’t count – I hope!

  9. That’s to bad. Why would someone think you can just manufacture a music career for $2000? Oh, but they don’t want a music career. They want fame.

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