IVES: Rebecca Black releases “Friday” remix on tenth anniversary

Exactly+ten+years+after+her+debut%2C+Black+has+released+a+remix+of+Friday+featuring+Dorian+Electra%2C+Big+Freedia+and+3OH%213+Feb.+10.

Photo by Nathan Lampres

Exactly ten years after her debut, Black has released a remix of “Friday” featuring Dorian Electra, Big Freedia and 3OH!3 Feb. 10.

In 2011, a 13-year-old girl uploaded a harmless music video to YouTube. The video’s production had been a gift from her mother. Rapidly, the post garnered national attention and the young middle-schooler was forced into the limelight at the mercy of the public’s scrutiny. She became a national laughingstock.

That girl was Rebecca Black, and her song was “Friday.”

Enduringly iconic, “Friday” is an awful song that celebrates the light-hearted pleasures of adolescence, namely, the weekend. The lyrics are uninspired and repetitive, much like the overall message of the song. And the musical accompaniment is jarring. 

The video itself is no better. Accompanied by outdated graphics and a murky filter that screams early 2000s, it follows young Black as she goes about her daily routine including eating breakfast and catching a ride to school. Anyone with a proclivity for second-hand embarrassment should avoid the video entirely, with its seemingly endless supply of pre-pubescent teens awkwardly dancing side-by-side.  

Ten years have passed since it was uploaded to YouTube. In that time, Black has been busy. 

True to her roots, or at least the root of her notoriety, Black established herself as a YouTuber, gathering a loyal fan base over the past decade. Currently, she has nearly 1.5 million subscribers on the platform.

She has also been quietly releasing music since her disastrous debut in 2011. In 2013, she released the spin-off “Saturday.” She has a few hit singles, such as “Do You” (2019) and “The Great Divide” (2016). And in 2017, she re-defined herself as an artist with her extended play “RE / BL.”

The overall tone of the album is one of healing and celebration as she alludes to the ridicule and other difficulties she has faced over the past few years. Much of this growth can possibly be attributed to her fan base, which she recognizes in her music video for “Heart Full of Scars,” the first song on the album.

At the beginning of the video, the words “To my fans / let it sink in … you’re enough” flash across a black screen before the music starts.

Her latest release, however, takes a far different tone with a style that strays considerably from that of her other music.

Exactly ten years after her debut, Black has released a remix of “Friday” featuring Dorian Electra, Big Freedia and 3OH!3 Feb. 10. It was produced by Dylan Brady, best known for his contributions to 100 Gecs.

A week after its release, the remix has over half a million listens on Spotify and nearly two million views on YouTube.

The song itself is electronic, as per Brady’s specialty, and spotlights Black singing the original lyrics at an accelerated tempo and modified tone of voice. Already, the song has been met with criticism for making her sound like the newest member of Alvin and the Chipmunks. 

The contributions from the song’s featured artists add dimension to the remix that was lacking from the original. For example, the new lyrics sung by 3HO!3 and Big Freedia, though by no means brilliant, offered a much-needed break from the repetitive original lyrics sung by Black. And Black’s high-pitched tone in the song was balanced nicely by Dorian Electra’s husky voice.

In what seems like both a celebration of and a graduation from the original version of “Friday,” the music video for the remix parallels the original in certain ways, and contrasts it in others.

Much like the original, it begins with the portrayal of her morning routine. It also leads into some lengthy scenes with Black singing in or beside a car. Unlike the original, however, Black is dressed in a black leather leotard with fishnet stockings and a long, high ponytail dyed black and blue. She goes from dancing provocatively beside her car to competing with Dorian Electra in a street race.

When compared side-by-side, the new music video appears to be a mature version of the original. 

Aside from its connection to the original version of “Friday,” the remix seems inconsistent with Black’s usual style. For example, she released a different song called “Girlfriend” Jan. 29. Released just 10 days apart from the remix, the two songs take on very different tones and styles. “Girlfriend” is a standard, upbeat pop song about love. Its accompanying music video shows Black dressed in trendy and glamorous outfits, singing on stage or in the sunlight. 

This is nothing like Black’s portrayal of herself in her more provocative “Friday” remix music video. Nonetheless, the remix already has four times the number of views on YouTube that “Girlfriend” has. In terms of viewership on YouTube, it has also surpassed all of Black’s other music, except for the original version of “Friday.” Which begs the question, why?

Maybe the remix is popular because of the original’s clout. Maybe Black is simply having an identity crisis. Or maybe the once 13-year-old icon is making a comeback. Only time will tell.

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.