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An analysis of Rebecca Black’s song “Friday”

Mick Hammock | Friday, March 25, 2011

The decline in American culture becomes apparent when looking at and judging the popular music of the day. Rebecca Black’s hit song “Friday” makes light of this degradation of American civilization and highlights our stupidity as a people. The failure to read and understand the obvious deeper meaning of this song is simply atrocious, and points out major gaps in our education and schooling. In order to attempt to facilitate creativity and critical thinking within our schools, I will attempt to dissect and to shine a light of knowledge on the forbidden metaphorical corners of the first verse and chorus of Rebecca Black’s song.

In the opening lines of the song, Rebecca Black repeats the word “Yeah” approximately 12 times. This number 12 obviously hearkens back to the 12 Disciples, representatives of the 12 Tribes of Israel, and her refrain of “yeah” signals an acceptance. Black is making two important points here — she accepts Christ as her Savior, and she accepts Israel as a sovereign nation.

Rebecca’s song really takes off with the first verse. She sings “Seven a.m. waking up the morning / 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.”

This verse begins to highlight the struggles that Rebecca Black deals with and her outlook on society as a whole. Her repetition of the word “gotta” shows that she is simply going through the motions — forcing herself to do the tasks that society expects of her. When she talks about the time, continuously “tickin’ on and on,” she is commenting on the fact that the fast-paced, demanding society has turned her “necessary” tasks into something monotonous, leaving her with no time to stop and admire the world around her. However, when she sees her friends waiting at the bus stop, this is what gives her life. Without her friends, she would be but an empty husk, but her friends transform her.

Rebecca Black then sings “Kickin’ in the front seat / Sittin’ in the back seat / Gotta make my mind up / which seat can I take?” This is Rebecca’s commentary on her socioeconomic status and the decline of the American middle class. The “seats” are a metaphor for the American class system — there are only the front seat (upper class), where her friends are “kickin’,” a synonym for relaxing, and the back seat (lower class), where her friends are “sittin,” a word that does not invoke the same relaxing connotation. She asks the listener, “which seat can I take,” making the class distinction seem like an arbitrary choice, where if one performs one’s necessary societal tasks, one can have their choice of either the front or the back seat.

Rebecca now launches into her refrain. “It’s Friday, Friday / Gotta get down on Friday / Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend / Partyin’ Partyin’ Yeah! Partyin’ Partyin’ Yeah! / Fun Fun Fun Fun / Lookin’ forward to the weekend.” The repetition found in this chorus is crucial here. She repeats this line twice, cementing this refrain into the minds of the listeners that what they are hearing is the true Rebecca Black. Her repetition of the words “Friday” and “weekend” showcase Rebecca’s excitement at the arrival of the weekend — a time where she breaks free of the societal demands. This is much like when she sees her friends at the bus stop — she is invigorated. Her plans, something that she must do, are also repeated. She must “party” and she must have “fun.” This is repeated with excitement, with much more energy than what she had to do in the first verse — conform to society’s demands. Doing what she wants for a change gives her new life, the only reason why she “wakes up at seven a.m.” during the week. Finally, the repetition of the final line, “Lookin’ forward to the weekend,” solidifies the belief that without the weekend, Rebecca Black would be but a robot, destined for a life of monotony.

Indeed, Rebecca Black’s song contains more than what immediately meets the eye. It is a daring commentary on societal constraints, religion and the American class system. Her songwriting is simply brilliant and fearless. However, like any good poet, her meaning is not immediately clear, but needs critical thinking to peel back the layers. I hope that one day the average American citizen will reach this level of intellect. Only then will we regain our status as a world superpower.

Mick Hammock


Knott Hall

Mar. 24