Rebecca black’s saturday: recovering from the friday hangover
Rebecca Black spent the past few years trying to distance herself from “Friday” — who amongst us can forget “My Moment” or “Person of Interest?” — before apparently deciding “Screw this, let’s just do it again.”
So she’s back with “Saturday,” the sequel to her 2011 viral smash. Yes, it is another bizarrely literal documentation of teen-dream ephemera (though, this time out, there is no debate about where she should sit in the car), and yes there are plenty of callbacks to her biggest hit — both videos feature shots of alarm clocks, she’s once again tooling around town in a convertible, there’s a cereal bowl emblazoned with the “Friday” lyric “Gotta have my bowl,” etc. — but, in an odd way, “Saturday” also veers into uncharted territory for the 16-year-old singer: It represents her move towards maturity.
Make no mistake about it, “Saturday” certainly isn’t Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” (though a Cyrus doppelganger does twerk her way through the video, and there’s plenty of food-play at a party;) instead, it’s a decidedly PG-13 reinvention. Black’s still squeaky clean, and she’s still palling around with a crew of card-carrying Young Life members, but the simple fact that she’s acknowledging she’ll never outrun her signature hit shows a bit of artistic growth. You can only swim against the current for so long, it would seem.
In that regard, “Saturday” can either be considered an act of resignation or desperation. I’m not really sure which. And while either probably assigns too great a depth to a song that includes lyrics like “Call everyone you know/Turn up the radio/Oh-oh,” there’s something oddly fascinating about the song … you could argue that the whole thing (the video in particular) works as a metaphor for Black’s entire life, post-“Friday.”
After that song became a sensation, she was put through the wringer, bullied to such a degree that she was forced to leave school. The “Saturday” video opens with her worse for wear (she wakes up on a couch), literally recovering a wild Friday night. And though most of us would just roll over and go back to sleep, Black rallies, shakes out the cobwebs and defiantly decides “I don’t want this Saturday to end.” Couple that with the copious callbacks to “Friday,” and the bizarre ending to the “Saturday” video, which some interpret as a shot at former Svengali Patrice Wilson, and you have something that works on yet another level. “Saturday” is not only her nascent attempt at artistic maturity; it’s also her bid for independence. She’s not avoiding her past, she’s embracing it, making it her own.
Yes, all of this is too deep for a Monday morning, and maybe “Saturday” will never free her from “Friday’s” shackles (though, with nearly 9 million views in 48 hours, it’s certainly got a shot). But there’s certainly something compelling going on here, something that rises above yet another Inbox-clogging viral video. Hey, at the very least, we can certainly expect the third part of the trilogy, the somber “Sunday,” to arrive sometime in 2015.