What Do China’s Netizens Think of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”?
By now, some of you may be sick of “Friday,” the song by notorious teen sensation Rebecca Black. First posted on YouTube in mid-February, the video quickly received attention after The Daily What posted it on March 11. After nearly two weeks of furious reblogging and social sharing, “Friday” now boasts over 39 million views on YouTube and a spot in the top 100 on iTunes. By sharing laughs over the overwrought autotune production, the near absence of an actual melody, and the vapid lyrics, the Internet has unwittingly made the 13-year-old Ms. Black famous.
Sure, the song invites the listener to join in the celebration of friendship and the end of the week, but we’re not having any of it. We’re enjoying it from an entirely different vantage point.
If you’re somehow out of the loop (meaning old, or a Luddite), watch the video here:
Beyond the U.S.
But does spreadable media stop at the nation’s borders? We were curious to see if the amusement and outrage would translate elsewhere in the world.
On China’s major video-sharing website Youku, the most viewed copy of “Friday” has an underwhelming 25,000 hits. It’s at least a little odd, considering how it’s become such a ubiquitous presence on the American web. So what’s the disconnect?
For starters, consider what uploaders have titled their copies of the video:
- “America’s 13-year-old “loli” Rebecca Black’s highly praised single Friday blows up on the web! This year’s saliva divine comedy” (美国13岁小萝莉Rebecca Black超赞首单Friday引爆网络！今年的口水神曲啊).
- “A very sweet song Rebecca Black – Friday” (很甜的一首歌Rebecca Black – Friday)
- “Great to listen to! Young beauty Rebecca Black’s explosively popular Internet single” (好听！青春美少女 Rebecca Black 网络爆红单曲)
Or how about some of the comments, which we’ve translated below:
The first time I heard this song, I thought it was terrible. After listening to it a few times, it’s not bad.
The lyrics are really retarded, but it’s great to listen to.
I feel pretty good. The melody is very gentle music that comes from life. Though the lyrics may be very “Baby,” they’re good. I got hooked after listening for a while.
Great, developed even better. I want to sin
I like this kind of woman
I really love the Friday princess
Language and “loli”
So, some viewers have latched onto Rebecca Black as an attractive, likable performer — a greater portion than stateside, it seems. That’s an interesting idea to consider. The language barrier may be a primary reason; Chinese viewers who don’t speak English may engage with the video purely on a melodic level. And if we begin to notice “Friday”‘s similarities to Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” or any other well-received pop hit that employs monotonous melodies and/or lyrics (examples here and here), then these reactions suddenly become far less surprising.
Another recurring theme in some of the comments — well, the lewder ones — is an obsession with Rebecca as “loli,” a term widely used in Chinese and Japanese web culture to describe a pretty young girl. The descriptor is not necessarily sexual in an overt sense, though there is often an implication of the girl being recently of the age of consent, or appearing younger than she actually is.
Still, many disagree with the positive assessment. In one copy of the song, 56 dislikes trumped the 46 likes. The sympathetic uploader, however, had this to say in the description field:
A very sweet music video. Even though the vocal parts are somewhat lacking, it’s music with attitude. The little girl did it haha. This music video has been passed around like crazy in the US. The reception has been mixed, but the “Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun” part certainly makes the melody hard to forget. Haters don’t have to listen. On YouTube, the video has broken 10 million views.
很甜美的一个MV，虽然vocal部分有所欠缺，但是music with attitude, 小女孩做到了哈哈，这个MV在美国疯传，褒贬不一，但是Fun,Fun,Fun,Fun那里的确让你难忘的旋律，贬的人可以不要听，在youtube上也一举突破一千万点击
So let’s not cross Ms. Black off too quickly. It looks like she’s garnering some fans elsewhere. Plus, it’s only because of the haters that she’ll be having fun, fun, fun, fun all the way to the bank.
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TAGS: China • Friday • Justin Bieber • loli • memes • music video • Rebecca Black • spreadable video • Youku
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