In 2011, the collective eardrums of pop culture lovers everywhere were repeatedly assaulted by a little pop song called "Friday," sung by largely talent-free entertainer, Rebecca Black. Though the majority of listeners agreed that the song is utterly terrible, the video went viral on YouTube and instantly launched Black into semi-stardom. Though Black's future beyond her initial 15 minutes of fame is uncertain, one thing is clear: For a few months in 2011, everyone not only knew her name, but they knew her song, which was more catchy (and irritating) than the common cold.
That's just how the internet works. Just because something goes viral doesn't mean it's good.Apologies for the Earworm
The newest entrant into the "So bad I can't stop singing it" viral category is "It's Thanksgiving," by tween newcomer Nicole Westbrook. If this song sounds a lot like "Friday," that's no accident. "It's Thanksgiving" was written and produced by the same person as "Friday," producer Patrice Wilson. Wilson, who used to work for the vanity record label ARK Music Factory, recently founded his own company, called PMWLive, presumably to have more freedom in creating viral songs that America loves to hate.Deja-vu All Over Again?
Even a casual listen will tell you that this new song is very similar to "Friday," and the video is nearly identical. Both videos feature a gaggle of pre-teen girls dancing awkwardly while the lead singer earnestly bleats out ridiculously simplistic lyrics through heavily-glossed lips. "It's Thanksgiving" is even stranger than its predecessor, however, as it seems to show Westbrook and her young friends preparing and eating a Thanksgiving feast... with zero parental supervision. In fact, the only adults who show up in the video are writer/producer Wilson, who (literally) pops in for a quick rap in the middle of the song, and some creepy guy dressed in a turkey costume. Yes, you read that right; there's a man-sized turkey in this video.Awkward!
Speaking of rapping, Westbrook herself does a little rap during the bizarro Turkey Day feast as well. What's worse than a pre-teen white suburban girl attempting to rap? How about having her perform said rap while using a turkey drumstick as a microphone? It's horribly uncomfortable to watch, but undeniably funny.
We're not criticizing Westbrook or Black for trying to become famous, don't get us wrong. Many stars have gotten famous by displaying their talents on YouTube and being "discovered" by talent scouts and producers. It really does happen quite often in today's day and age, and YouTube can be a source for legitimate talent. Black and Westbrook, however, don't seem to have much in the way of singing talent. What they clearly do have is parents who are wealthy enough to buy them studio time with skilled producers like Wilson who know how to turn drivel into viral on the internet.Unintentionally Funny
We actually feel sorry for these young girls, who have such high hopes and will undoubtedly do wonderful things (that don't involve singing professionally) with their lives. The problem is, the pop culture world is not laughing with them, it's laughing at them. Currently, "It's Thanksgiving" has over 3 million views on YouTube, and as that number grows, so too do the memes and parodies the song and video will no doubt spawn. The internet can be a cold, cruel place, and the taunting doesn't end when you log off. In the wake of "Friday's" viral success, Rebecca Black was bullied by her classmates so badly that she eventually had to drop out of school.
Let's hope that Westbrook does not suffer the same fate, because any kid who rocks a "Dance Until Dawn" shirt and knows her way around a kitchen deserves hugs, not haters. Be gentle, internet.