I Must Be Getting Old

Sully links to this Rebecca Black song, which I had never heard of until about five minutes ago:

Apparently this is the newest big thing, and it is sweeping the intertrons because it is apparently really, really bad. Critics are panning it, and Sullivan included one critic who stated that “Black’s video for ‘Friday’ is one of those rare occurrences where even the most seasoned critics of Internet culture don’t know where to begin. From the singing straight out of Auto-Tuned hell to lyrics such as ‘Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes afterwards / I don’t want this weekend to end’ and a hilariously bad rap about passing school buses, ‘Friday’ is something that simply must be seen and heard to be fully appreciated.”

Here’s my problem, and why I think I am getting old. First, I’d never heard of it. Second, I watched it and listened, and to me, it seemed not much worse than most of the crap you hear every day anyway. Flip through the television and watch any of the shows on Disney or those networks geared towards teens, and you hear this kind of crap every single day. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t my style of music and I think it is bad in that sense and I will live a very happy life if I never have to listen to it again, but I have a hard time describing it as qualitatively worse than any crap that has spewed from Miley Cyrus or the likes. If I were in a store or restaurant and that was playing in the background I wouldn’t stop and say “That’s really bad,” because it sounds just like all the other crap out there passing itself off as music.

And I thought the young girl singing it had a sweet smile.


344 replies
  1. 1
    KG says:

    Sounds like a synthesized PG-version of Pink.

  2. 2
    Comrade Mary says:

    She has a sweet smile, it’s an awful song, and I feel bad that she’s getting the Internet pile-on. (I mean, it’s not as if she went out of her way to be snotty and racist about Asian students in her library and posted her bile to YouTube. She’s just an ambitious kid who’s misjudged her talent.)

    What’s more interesting about this meme is that there’s a creepy production company putting out this bilge from all sorts of keen kids and raking in the bucks from their parents. It’s the aural equivalent of a vanity press, with added skeeve.

    (Some of the links in that thread have been pulled from YouTube by their owners. Considering some of the kids making and posting the video are as young as 12, I feel really bad for them.)

  3. 3
    Walker says:

    I was once in a faculty meeting where one of my colleagues was explaining to an older member of the department — and Turing award winner to boot — the merits of Lady Gaga over Britney.

  4. 4
    Theah says:

    So true!

    I wrote a joke based off this article..

    You know you’re getting old when… all new music sounds the same – terrible.

    I own a site that does “You know you’re..” jokes and I just had to use this idea. Thanks!!


  5. 5
    cleek says:

    this is how i feel about every second of Glee.

  6. 6
    Alwhite says:

    I caught this a week or two ago, not sure. It sucks, but like you said I don’t think it sucks any harder than the stream of pre-teen effluent spewed from any of the Disney brand princesses. I just thought I’m old & unhip, its nice to know I’m not alone. Although, it really doesn’t make up for the fact that pop music today sucks so hard it is almost a parody of itself.

  7. 7
    Martin says:

    Does it help if you realize that she’s standing on your lawn?

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    Perv. ;)

    Meh, I’m not gonna listen. I have managed to live my life in such a way as to avoid having ever heard a Britney, Miley, or even a Rihanna, Fergie, or Beyonce song. And I’m not breaking that streak now.

    Now, if you wanna talk the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night, I have encyclopedic knowledge of some of those people.

    /old fart

  9. 9
    JenJen says:

    Don’t beat yourself up over not having ever heard of this atrocity of a song… it blew up and went viral on Saturday; it’s only Tuesday (yesterday was Monday, and tomorrow it is Wednesday, Wednesday).

    As far as not thinking it’s that bad? Well, that part I can’t defend. The lesson about the order of days in the week, followed by “We we we so excited, we so excited” is pretty f’n funny.

    Gawker had an interesting write-up about the teen music factory that’s cranking this schlock out and separating purportedly well-meaning parents from their money.

  10. 10
    theturtlemoves says:

    I agree this isn’t demonstrably much worse than crap like “My Humps” or anything spewed forth from Miley or Britney. I almost feel bad for the girl getting mocked, but the “producers” on this thing are a vanity label that rich parents pay big bucks to have their kids record a song and video for, so she may or not be deserving of pity. And Auto-Tune is the work of the devil.

  11. 11
    Served says:

    It’s awful because no real effort was put into polishing this thing, both on the writing and production. Give this song to a Dr. Luke, Max Martin, or Claude Kelly (three of the biggest pop producers out there), and in a couple of weeks this is a hit song. That’s what scares me.

    This music video-vanity craze isn’t new. My friends and I did stupid crap like this, but at home, with a family camera. Our parents didn’t (and couldn’t afford to) pay a production mill a hundred thousand dollars for one song, a video, and a fake launch party just so we could feel famous for a week and a half. The irony is that she is famous now, but for all the wrong reasons.

  12. 12
    Alwhite says:


    Yes, there is maximum suckage in a bottle right there.

  13. 13
    malraux says:

    My “Wow I’m Old” thought: What’s a kid that young doing driving a convertible like that to school. That said, I’ve listened to worse crap. I own Right Said Fred’s second album. Don’t talk to me about bad music.

  14. 14
    Svensker says:

    Looks like you need a bigger lawn.

  15. 15
    Don says:

    Translation of the quote: wah wah, 90% of everything is crap.

    I’m with you John. “So?”

    Yeah, it’s bubblegum crap but there’s always been such crap in the last 100 years worth of music. Twinkies have a place in the food ecosystem too. You want to complain that people should value steak and hamburger differently, sure, I’m down with that. But attacking its very existence? C’mon.

    I don’t love that technology has lowered the bar and being a decent singer is no longer necessary in order to get to national attention levels, so sure – I’ll join in with the I Has A Sad about autotune. But if this stuff is filling a niche where personality and appearance is more important than raw musical quality then is that really worth getting bent out of shape about?

    “This sucks” has always been an inferior response to “you know, you might like this actually awesome stuff even better.” True for talking to Twinkie fans, Rebecca Black fans and Dan Brown fans.

  16. 16
    MattMinus says:

    So waitaminute….is this meant to be taken seriously? Like is she actually a signed act somewhere? My old ass can’t tell.

    The thing I found most remarkable is that all the kids in the video look like kids. Honest to god ugly, awkward kids.

  17. 17
    danimal says:

    No, as a father of an 11 year-old, iTune addict daughter, this is an unusually bad example of an unusually bad musical genre.

    But she does seem to be a sweet girl with a big smile.

  18. 18
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Alex, I’ll take the category “People who don’t have middle school aged children have no idea what they are missing” for $200.

  19. 19
    Walker says:


    And Auto-Tune is the work of the devil.

    I wouldn’t mind it if it sounded like actual singing. Before I knew what it was I was always asking why modern singers sound like they are under water.

  20. 20
    meh says:

    hehe I think its pretty terrible but wtf do I know?

  21. 21
    jwb says:

    Whenever I see these sorts of more or less random pile ons, I always wonder how this particular object has managed to provoke the critics and what it says about the critics’ personal values that they have chosen to become appalled over this particular object in this particular way at this particular time.

  22. 22
    flukebucket says:

    Man this post makes me feel better. I had just heard of this 5 minutes before I came over and I listened to it and I felt exactly like John feels about it.

    But that could be because I am already old.

    The first thought that still comes into my head when I hear Taylor Swift is “are you kidding?”

  23. 23
    Quicksand says:

    Fun fun fun fun!

  24. 24
    stuckinred says:

    I swore when my old man railed about Dylan that I’d never do that. . .at least not out loud.

  25. 25
    Served says:

    @Walker: The T-Pain strain of AutoTune is the robotic stuff that gets annoying. Even good vocalists have their songs zambonied into “perfection” which makes them sound tinny, like they’re singing from the bottom of a giant tin can.

    The least autotuned track I’ve heard lately is “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson. Her voice is almost completely untouched, and you can hear the difference in the character that’s behind it compared to other pop songs.

  26. 26
    malraux says:

    @JenJen: Wow that is scuzzy. I feel about this the way I feel about stuff like the Star Wars kid; it’s wrong to pick on pubescent kids for an innocent faux pas.

  27. 27
    Steve says:

    I don’t know how anyone can complain about stupid lyrics ever again after that Black Eyed Peas song was the biggest hit of the year.

  28. 28
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    No, you’re exactly right John.

    So what’s this song’s crime exactly? It’s stupid? It’s tuneless? It panders to children? That’s what most pop music does? Hello?

    Maybe because we can enrobe ourselves in our ipods and internet playlists that cater to our tastes some are shocked (shocked!) that a lot of trash gets made.

    Picking on this kind of bad music is a sport for people who really don’t like music that much anyway.

  29. 29
    Martin says:

    This is the benefit of having a 10 year old daughter. You hear this crap all the time. When you’re trying to compare Rebecca Black to whoever you grew up listening to who was good enough to stand the test of time and still get airplay now, then yeah, she sucks ass. But when you stick her in the Miley Cyrus, Victoria Justice, Ke$ha, swirling tsunami of suck, then some names will clearly rise above others.
    @cleek: True, but Naya Rivera is smokin hot, so that totally makes the show watchable.

  30. 30
    Scott P. says:

    Yeah, it’s bubblegum crap but there’s always been such crap in the last 100 years worth of music. Twinkies have a place in the food ecosystem too. You want to complain that people should value steak and hamburger differently, sure, I’m down with that. But attacking its very existence? C’mon.

    I didn’t read Cole as attacking its existence. Quite the opposite. He doesn’t feel any particular antipathy for it.

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    I don’t even care enough to watch the damned video. I’m really old.

  32. 32
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    The ultimate irony is that this song was originaly a Bob Dylan B-Side

    “Friday” by Bob Dylan

  33. 33
    Joel says:

    mainstream music is as it’s been since maybe the early 60s.

    fred durst, you’re off the hook!

  34. 34
    Sentient Puddle says:

    No desire to listen to it when there’s plenty of other good music in the world (let’s balance this out with…I’m going to say acoustic Pixies). Thanks.

    But I also don’t really feel the need of people to quantify bad. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this can’t be the worst song ever, and even if it was, all of us would proceed from now to spend exactly the same amount of time consciously listening to it as we would listening to other generic bad song X. So meh.

  35. 35
    vanya says:


    “Now, if you wanna talk the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night, I have encyclopedic knowledge of some of those people.”

    Bah, humbug. The whole concept of a “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” is ridiculous, corporate, and antithetical to the spirit of rock music, which means I’m getting old too.

  36. 36
    John PM says:

    but I have a hard time describing it as qualitatively worse than any crap that has spewed from Miley Cyrus or the likes

    Agreed. I have been subjected to the new Miranda Cosgrove song and video on Nickolodeon numerous times, and I don’t think this is any worse. There is also a girl from the show Victorious (?) who has a song a video out and you can tell from the video that she does not know how to sing (or lip-synch) or dance. If you had told me this video was from Nick or Disney XD I would not have blinked.

  37. 37
    Morbo says:

    People send me links to “Auto-tune the News” stuff in AIM chats, and I just want to reach through the intertubes and punch them.

  38. 38
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    Word is “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding is no longer Japan’s national anthem.

  39. 39
    virag says:

    like the shaggs without the charm. or talent.

  40. 40
    dave says:

    Musically it’s awful, the singer either doesn’t have much talent or needs more music classes. Most of today’s music isn’t my style but many of the people making it are more talented or better trained than this girl. But I’m old and cranky!

  41. 41
    John Cole says:

    @Scott P.: You are right. I don’t mind that it exists. I just don’t see how it is worse than much of the other crap out there.

  42. 42
    theturtlemoves says:

    @Served: I will qualify my work of the devil comment by saying that it can be an interesting effect if judiciously applied to, say, a decent techno song. But as it is used to mask what would otherwise be the tone-deaf screechings of the latest pop starlet, it is an abomination. For example, Britney Spears actual voice is just god-awful. Even with auto-tune it is only tolerable for 10 second bursts…

  43. 43
    stuckinred says:

    don’t try to dig what we all say

  44. 44
    catclub says:

    I was just listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony, and except for the opening movement, I think it is overrated.

    How about some Gregorian Chant? And none of that post 11th century schlock.

  45. 45
    Montysano says:

    Insipid music: we haz always had it. Witness: Green Tambourine


    the merits of Lady Gaga over Britney.

    I’m an old fart as well, but I get Gaga. “Poker Face” is a fabulous bit of pop music. And as someone who works in the stage lighting biz, her visual sense is amazing.

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    This is awful. So was Loverboy’s “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend” , which came out in 1981, as I recall.

    Same as it ever was.

  47. 47
    sukabi says:

    what’s wrong, Sully couldn’t find anybody his own size to pile on?

    The song and production aren’t much worse than the crappy stuff being put out by the other Miley’s out there… not my cup of tea, but the teeny tweens seem to like that crap.

  48. 48
    JenJen says:

    @malraux: Scuzzy? Seriously? Can you tell me exactly what part of my post was scuzzy?

    And as far as picking on a pubescent kid, that awful, awful song is going to make her famous. 5.9 million hits over the weekend. She’s an instant internet sensation, and that wouldn’t have happened if the song was actually good.

    If you’re worried about kids being exposed to ridicule by releasing really bad music videos, I think maybe your ire should be aimed at the music factory that cranked it out in exchange for what I imagine to be a great deal of parental money. Read the Gawker article.

  49. 49
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @virag: Obscure reference burn!

  50. 50
    MattR says:

    While I generally share the dislike of Auto Tune, the double rainbow song makes perfect use of it.

  51. 51
    Nellcote says:

    This is what happens when you eliminate music classes from public schools.

  52. 52
    Dennis SGMM says:


    I own Right Said Fred’s second album. Don’t talk to me about bad music.

    I own Lothar and the Hand People’s first album, featuring the cataclysmically awful “Standing on the Moon.” Top that, anyone.

  53. 53
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    I prefer the legendary “Shine on Me” by Chris Dane Owens.

  54. 54
    Loneoak says:

    I shudder to think about how bad her real voice must be if the auto-tuners went to such lengths to flatten it into to that nasal monotone. I don’t like autotune 90% of the time, but this is like an algorithmic steamroller running over a rabid hippopotamus.

  55. 55
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Acoustic Pixies! Bless you.

  56. 56
    Martin says:

    @John PM: It’s like we’re living the same life, man.

  57. 57
    jwb says:

    @Alwhite: Pop music always sucks. Your elders will always tell you so. Then you grow up and find yourself strangely attracted to the music of your youth, thinking about how much better that music you listened to was is to the current crap. Has been that way since at least the 1920s.

    @Walker: Lady Gaga is leaps and bounds better than Brittany. Time will tell whether LG understands Madonna well enough to continue to be interesting over a long run.

  58. 58
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    I voluntarily bought every album ever done by Emerson, Lake and Palmer – don’t talk to me about youth and bad music, as my taste obviously was substandard.

  59. 59
    John PM says:


    this is how i feel about every second of Glee.

    Those are fighting words! I would challenge you to a duel, but I do not know how to duel over the internet.

    @Martin: #28

    @cleek: True, but Naya Rivera is smokin hot, so that totally makes the show watchable.

    I will second that. I have told my wife I have added Naya Rivera to my top 5.

  60. 60
    demz taters says:

    This is the kind of thing Auto Tune is really good for.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Loneoak says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    This is awful. So was Loverboy’s “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend” , which came out in 1981, as I recall.

    That’s why I prefer Motherboy.

  63. 63
    Comrade Mary says:

    @JenJen: I think the “scuzzy” comment was in reference to Ark, as linked by Gawker, not about anything you said.

  64. 64
    David in NY says:

    And here, I’ve always thought some song that was quite popular forty or so years ago called “Julie, Julie, Julie, Do You Love Me?,” was the worst song ever. (Those were just about all its words, varied by a couple of predictable rhymes.) Recorded by Bobby Somebody-or-other.

    But I’m not going to do any comparison listening to see if I was wrong.

  65. 65
    Shinobi says:


    I would still mind, the point of singing is to ACTUALLY SING, not to say some words and then have a computer make it sound like music. I am an actual singer, like I can fill an entire church with the sound of my voice without a mic. I can match pitch, and make beautiful sounds, and I have a bunch of friends who are way better at singing than me. At no point do we need to have someone adjust our pitch for us.

    But we will never make any money, because we’re not hot LA movers and shakers with the right image and a willingness to get a lot of plastic surgery.

    We are singers. This is not singing.

    There should be another word for this besides singing. Perhaps synthing? Because all they are really doing is providing their voice to be synthesized into musical tones.

    So yeah, I’m going to go watch an old autotune the news to erase this crap from my head.

  66. 66
    Joel says:

    @Loneoak: I know Cher did it first, but I blame Daft Punk, despite the fact that Discovery was a pretty great album.

  67. 67
    virag says:

    @John PM:

    i bought the miranda cosgrove for my 5yo daughter. she’s a huge icarly fan. not only is the mc album bad, with really bad singing and vomitrocious songs, it’s also really fucking short. which may be a good thing.

  68. 68
    Loneoak says:

    @John PM:

    Those are fighting words! I would challenge you to a duel, but I do not know how to duel over the internet.

    I’ll be cleek’s second.

  69. 69
    JenJen says:

    @Comrade Mary: I hope you’re right about that.

  70. 70
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I was that close to driving a pair of chopsticks into my ears until they touched.

  71. 71
    dave says:

    But if you put a dollar sign in your name even if you can sing you lose any respect I had for your voice Ke$ha!

  72. 72
    dslak says:

    This thread’s just about due for someone to chime in about how there are more important things we should be discussing.

  73. 73
    John PM says:

    @Martin: True, but I have three boys, so I am only forced to watch these videos during commercials. However, my 4 year-old can sing almost all of Ke$ha’s “Tick Tock,” so that is a problem.

  74. 74
    geg6 says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    Picking on this kind of bad music is a sport for people who really don’t like music that much anyway.

    Seriously? You really wanna go with that as your statement here? Pointing out and being offended by seriously shitty music is only done by people who hate music?

    No. It’s only done by people who hate seriously shitty music. I’ll be sure to tell all my musician friends that they really don’t like music much anyway. I’m sure it will come as a big surprise to them and they’ll want to thank you for pointing them toward another career path that I’m sure they’ll love enough to accept sub-par performance from those in their new chosen careers.

  75. 75
    Redshirt says:

    Did you somehow hurt yourself listening to it Cole? That would be the real sign of true old age.

  76. 76
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    Sullivan is, essentially, a teenage girl. So by that standard, Friday is basically on a par, quality-wise, with most of Sully’s output.

  77. 77
    virag says:

    that’s not gray hair on this girl, is it? looks like my head, sorta. how old is she, 40?

    it’s not really christine o’donnell is it?

    or possibly cole in drag? has anybody ever actually seen him?

  78. 78
    MattF says:

    The Zeitgeist, having farted, moves on.

  79. 79
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    Well certainly there’s nothing unseemly about a bunch of old dudes spending an inordinate amount of time dissing a teenage girl.

    Sully’s a market evangelist. If this shit moves, it’s good by market definition, right?

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @Shinobi: More power to you
    (although clearly, no amplification is necessary).

    I am amazed by how many really talented singers there are.

    On the other hand, ‘Don’t quit your day job’ still applies to 98% of them, no matter how good they are.

    Someone else mentioned Nicholas Taleb and lognormal distributions. A _really_ good singer now must compete with world class singers.

  81. 81
    geg6 says:


    Yeah, but I still get a thrill every time I hear “Be My Lover,” even though Alice is a GOPer.

  82. 82
    stuckinred says:

    @dslak: Yea, like this morning when there was a great dog thread and someone had to start with “rich people are greedy”!

  83. 83
    malraux says:

    @JenJen: Sorry, the scuzzy reference was toward the Ark publisher, and the related industries, not you.

    @Dennis SGMM: I listened to Christian Metal in high school.

  84. 84
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    @malraux: There was a SECOND Right Said Fred album?!

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:


    Time will tell whether LG understands Madonna well enough to continue to be interesting over a long run.

    Gaga worked as a writer before being picked up as a musician, and she cites Cindy Sherman as a significant influence. Absent some kind of chemically fueled flame out, I think she’s going to stick around for a good long while.

  86. 86
    p.a. says:

    I admit to watching the occasional 10 minutes of Hannah Montana for the car-wreck aspect. And I’m not talking about the music; preprogrammed teenybopper pop has a long proud history. It’s the, for lack of a better word, acting that had me sitting slack-jawed in disbelief. I’ve seen much, much better acting on high school stages. I think a community theater director could get better performances out of those kids.

  87. 87
    dslak says:

    @stuckinred: I feel like you’re not treating this with the seriousness it deserves.

  88. 88
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @theturtlemoves: The kid is just being a kid trying to do things and have fun. It’s not her fault she has stupid parents. Just as you don’t blame poor kids for their parents, you shouldn’t blame this kid (yet). Wait til you actually see signs of trust fund disease after the age of 21 to condemn her.

  89. 89
    justawriter says:

    It’s bubblegum pop (old timers can think of the Archies or at the best of the genre, the Monkees) which had at its defining character the need to attract tween girls and be inoffensive to parents. Critics have always hated this music far beyond its supposed artistic sins. I have always suspected that this is because bubblegum (and its art house version, disco) exposed rock’s artistic pretensions by affirming that its core audience was 12 year old girls and 14 year old boys and those who shared that mindset.

  90. 90
    stuckinred says:

    @dslak: I used to hope I died before I got old.

  91. 91
    Steve M. says:

    Stop smiling so goddamn much! Be sullen! You’re teenagers, for crissake!

    Kids today are just not miserable enough.

  92. 92
    The Moar You Know says:

    There should be another word for this besides singing. Perhaps synthing? Because all they are really doing is providing their voice to be synthesized into musical tones.

    @Shinobi: The ultimate end game of that has been realized in Vocaloids

  93. 93
    geg6 says:

    @David in NY:

    And here, I’ve always thought some song that was quite popular forty or so years ago called “Julie, Julie, Julie, Do You Love Me?,” was the worst song ever. (Those were just about all its words, varied by a couple of predictable rhymes.) Recorded by Bobby Somebody-or-other.

    Bobby Sherman. And I can’t believe I know that.


  94. 94
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    Well certainly there’s nothing unseemly about a bunch of old dudes spending an inordinate amount of time dissing a teenage girl.

    Note to self – never mention to Barb my secret hobby of lecturing 5th grade girls on how if they don’t lose weight and get prettier, they’ll never get a good boyfriend.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    tesslibrarian says:

    This is exactly the type of cranky affirmation that makes me feel at home here.

    Grouchy 40-year-old coots of the world, unite!

  97. 97
    JenJen says:

    @malraux: OK. Sorry I overreacted. And yeah, those Ark guys are totally scuzzy. I have a feeling one of them is the really, really bad rapper in Rebecca’s video.

    But enough about the kiddies. Hey! Here’s an adult we can make fun of!!

    Connecticut man arrested after calling cops to complain about his stingy cocaine dealer

  98. 98
    Shinobi says:

    @catclub: It’s true there are so many talented people. That is part of why it drives me crazy to hear people on Glee getting autotuned within an inch of their life. Are you seriously telling me they couldn’t find someone who could sing? Because I think they could have.

    It makes me sad that there aren’t a lot of opportunities for great singers who aren’t professionals to showcase their talent. I have a dayjob, the only time I do any singing these days is when one of my friends gets married. (And I think they are all married now…so… )

  99. 99
    stuckinred says:

    @justawriter: Steve Stills tried out for the Monkees and didn’t make it!

  100. 100
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Pixies? Would it interest you to know that Rebecca is Frank Black’s daughter?

  101. 101
    Gretchen says:

    I’m with you. She’s a cute kid, in a car with a bunch of other cute kids. It brings me happy memories of when my kids were teenagers going off for weekend fun. Lighten up, folks!

  102. 102
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    How is this any worse than any of the songs in High School Musical? (Yes, I’m a 38 y/o straight male who watched HS Musical with his girlfriend) Or any worse than Taylor Swift?

  103. 103
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    @Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods:

    There was a SECOND Right Said Fred album?!

    Count me as equally horrified.

  104. 104
    Tom65 says:

    This is the invisible hand of the free market giving everyone the finger.

  105. 105
    Martin says:

    @John PM: I was very thankful to hear my daughter say ‘Daddy, Kesha is crap.’ It’s far from victory, but it’s a battle won.

  106. 106
    Svensker says:


    but this is like an algorithmic steamroller running over a rabid hippopotamus.


    I’m so old I didn’t know what autotune was until the Super Bowl, when my son explained why those Black Eyed Pea people sounded so funny.

  107. 107
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I can’t believe that you omitted the Bay City Rollers from that pantheon.
    Edit: I thought that I would be dead before I got this old.

  108. 108
    pedobear says:

    I’d hit it.

  109. 109
    Pooh says:

    grunching, but this song is really REALLY bad, and I saw that as something of a connoisseur of crappy auto-tuned pop. If I had not been teed up, I would expect Andy Samberg to jump out from the background at any moment as this has to be a parody.

  110. 110
    geg6 says:


    Mike Nesmith had some real musical chops. I think he didn’t realize until too late what he’d gotten into. That said, if we have to pick the gold standard of bubble gum, the Monkees would be it, IMHO.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    stuckinred says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Joni

    Free Man in Paris

    You know I’d go back there tomorrow
    But for the work I’ve taken on
    Stoking the star maker machinery
    Behind the popular song

  113. 113
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Shinobi: It’s so quaint that you think there’s a meritocratic competition for the top spots in our society rather than connections and being the right kind of people.

  114. 114
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:


    Picking on this kind of bad music is a sport for people who really don’t like music that much anyway.


    1. My statement was qualified. Does this song have pretenses to be anything other than the lightest commercial piffle? Personally, I find hubristic striving in music to be more risible.

    2. I don’t know any good musicians who concern themselves overmuch with the shortcomings of the others. But I know plenty of mediocre musicians who do.

  115. 115
    stuckinred says:

    @geg6: Ever hear Cassandra Wilson do Last Train to Clarksville?

  116. 116
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Nesmith has some serious chops. His album “The Prison” remains one of my favorites. OTOH, his mom invented White-Out so I doubt that he’s worried about starving.

  117. 117
    justawriter says:

    @Dennis SGMM: So much bubblegum, so little time.

  118. 118
    Paul in KY says:

    She sounds like one of the Chipmunks singing bass.

    Cute girl, though.

  119. 119
    MikeTheZ says:

    I think I need to get some Cake now…

  120. 120
    kdaug says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign: Jesus christ, that’s hilarious.

  121. 121
    JenJen says:

    @geg6: This musician friend of yours agrees wholeheartedly with you. :-)

  122. 122

    this is bad, but really so were the beatles, especially before they had the money to steal from better influences.

    it will never cease to amaze me that pre-internet, so many american girls went so crazy about the beatles, before they sang a note, live on american soil, hell just getting off the plane, they had them swooning.

    compared to that, is this really any different? so she sucks, is she being exploited by everyone saying she sucks? or is it just clever marketing? she has reached a ton of people, and some percent of them will buy it, or follow her, only because it is so bad.

    its like the ultimate blend of commerc-ialism, and cynicism. and it will get her paid.

    no different than paying a bunch of teen girls to scream on queue.

  123. 123
    stuckinred says:

    Or, for that matter, Cassandra doing Harvest Moon


  124. 124
    Martin says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    Yes, I’m a 38 y/o straight male who watched HS Musical with his girlfriend

    Give up the charade, dude.

  125. 125
    David in NY says:

    @geg6: Yes, Sherman. True bubble gum (not in a class with the Monkees, mentioned in comment just above).

    Amazing you did know it. I only remember because of an overnight car trip with friends, during which radio stations kept playing it, and we kept mocking it.

  126. 126
    Dennis SGMM says:


    Mmmmmmmm, Joni. There was a time in my life when I was in love with her (Lamentably from a distance) almost continuously.

  127. 127
    Simon Taverner says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I have Captain Beefheart’s “Lick My Decals Off, Baby”. Which was abandoned by the apartment’s previous tenant.

  128. 128
    Shinobi says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex): What can I say, I’m adorably quaint. I actually expect people who are touted as “talented” to have some actual talent. I know, clearly unrealistic. I do the same thing with “smart” people at work all the time and it gets me in trouble.

  129. 129
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: Come on, you can do better than that!

  130. 130
    malraux says:

    @Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods: @Yevgraf (fka Michael):
    I dunno if it ever played in the US, but it was big in South Africa where I was living at the time. Cuz your my mate

  131. 131
    Voncey says:


    I loved that Bobby Sherman song! Mostly because Bobby had such pretty blue eyes.

  132. 132
    Lavocat says:

    When are we allowed to start calling you “Grandpa”?

  133. 133
    stuckinred says:

    @Dennis SGMM: you and everyone else!

  134. 134
    jibeaux says:

    I wonder if she recognizes any of the allusions that are in the, whatever you call it, lead-in to the song, since they’re all from before she was born. You know, the ’80s.

    Which reminds me, if you weren’t aware of it you can purchase this awesome T-shirt.

  135. 135
    Tuttle says:

    Man. I can take the syrupy sweetness. I can handle the gruesome over-production. I can even deal with the fact the songwriter apparently thinks ‘meter’ is only a weird unit of length. But the utter and total banality of the thing is just too much for me. Not fun but meaningless. Not full of nonsense fill words. Not even simply bad songwriting. It’s monumentally trite. It simply could not be any more hackneyed.

    I think I shall coin a word for it: sophomoronic.

  136. 136
    Valdivia says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:
    Not to defend this music but swift writes her one songs, plays musical instruments a dn can actually sing acapella. Embarrassed to know that but I do. So she is in a different league than this Black kid.

  137. 137
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Shinobi: Here, this Vocaloid link is far better.

    A future with no vocalists.

    The English version should be coming next year. Japanese is easier to synthesize.

  138. 138
    salacious crumb says:

    speaking of retardation, here is a future budding Ms Limbaugh


  139. 139
    David in NY says:

    @Voncey: “Bobby had such pretty blue eyes.” I knew there was a reason the stations kept playing that song.

  140. 140
    Valdivia says:

    And damn auto correct on my phone and my inability to edit this previous comment typos…

  141. 141
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods: Must admit I had the first one. Certainly never crossed my mind there might be a second one (after listening to first one).

  142. 142
    gnomedad says:

    I’ve somehow escaped being exposed to much of this, so what really scares me is that people keep saying “it’s no worse than the other crap out there” (shudder).

  143. 143
    dj spellchecka says:

    since i AM old, my first thought was that this is the “plan 9 from outer space” of music videos

    ps: after tuesday even the rest of the week says “wtf”

  144. 144
  145. 145


    popozao or, i wanna hold your hand. take your pick.

  146. 146
    Captain Haddock says:

    Apparently 11 year old girls are the only poeple who still buy CD’s. Hence these awful songs.

    The flipside of this are 11 year old boys who keep crap like Lil Wayne selling.

  147. 147
    PonB says:

    Not old, just a discerning music listener…fortunately for me and my 14-yr-old daughter, I’ve raised her on a steady diet of Rush, Dream Theater, and Porcupine Tree, so she can’t stand this stuff either :-D

    – PonB

  148. 148
    cleek says:

    Glee is essence of evil, boiled down to a thick syrup, poured over a pile of loose stool, sprinkled with tapeworms, then set on fire.

  149. 149
    Paul in KY says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Howard Cosell was convinced he’d found the new Beatles.

    Instead he found several future Scottish parking lot attendants.

  150. 150
    John PM says:

    @Martin: Definitely take any win you can get. I blame my wife for Ke$ha. She made a party mix (I almost said mix tape – there’s a tell) for her 40th Birthday and had three Ke$ha songs on it. I didn’t even know Ke$ha had three songs.

  151. 151
    Martin says:

    @cleek: Don’t care. Still hot, hot, hot.

  152. 152
    Amir_Khalid says:

    “Friday” is a really lousy song, and the video is really lousy too. Not horrible, not evil or exploitative, just badly made. Like Mattminus says, the only remarkable thing about it is that the kids look like real kids. And yes, we’ve heard songs just as lousy from the pros.

    I hope this kid Rebecca Black wasn’t making a serious bid for Justin Bieber style stardom, that she wasn’t led to believe this slapdash video could lead to such a thing. If she understood that she was doing a vanity song, then I guess the mockery from all over the planet will sting for a while and then blow over, and that will be that. Does anybody still remember the video for “Chocolate Rain”?

    And about that mockery: that’s a thing the Internet enables that I’m not so happy about. That it lets the whole world gang up on people and mock them. It’s one thing when you catch it for behaving badly (e.g. the cat bin lady). When it’s a kid whose only sin is a lack of talent, count me out of the piling-on.

    @stuckinred: So did Charles Manson, if I recall correctly, and Manson didn’t make it either.

  153. 153
    The Moar You Know says:

    Gotta say it’s not her song that’s so bad, but the video is atrocious. Even Chuggo’s was better.

  154. 154
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    @Paul in KY: look, as they say in Japan, joke are like women, there’s a new one floating by every minute.

  155. 155
    geg6 says:


    Yup. Great song, no matter who sings it.

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Love pretty much everything he did with the First National Band.

  156. 156
    jibeaux says:

    Yeah, okay, I’ve listened to the whole thing now. Okay, close to the whole thing, ok? I think it’s about Friday. And how it’s before Saturday but after Thursday.
    Is it because I’m Southern that her intonation of “Friday” sounds awful? I know we flatten our vowels but there is a LOT of “I” in there.
    Also too, last year at my kids’ elementary school variety show (they stopped referring to it as a talent show, with good cause) three different girls did Taylor Swift covers, whatever the song is about “I wear t-shirts, she wears short skirts” This is much, much worse. But she’s not much less of a kid than those girls are so, you know, best of luck and all that.

  157. 157
    David in NY says:

    This thread has many of the earmarks of a conversation among people in rocking chairs on the porch of the Old Folks Home … (except there aren’t any porches any more).

  158. 158
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Paul in KY:
    That made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed that.

  159. 159
    Mike in NC says:

    We’re long overdue for another masterpiece from the incomparable William Shatner.

  160. 160
    Original Lee says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I assume we’re excluding William Schatner’s and Leonard Nimoy’s covers of Beatles songs.

    Both of which albums I owned at one point in time. I played them to cheer myself up after a bad day at school and eventually a bad day at work, and eventually the grooves wore away.

  161. 161
    Valdivia says:

    Also too. I think the song is terrible. I’m with JenJen on her comment, this is pretty bad even by disney pop song standards.

  162. 162
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Everyone recognizes that what young people like is mostly crap but they like it because they don’t know any better and they’re at a time of their life when memories are forged around music that make beautiful associations that get stirred up when they hear the song again, decades later, regardless of the music’s quality.

    Except the Boomers, who know that their youth-music was objectively the best.

  163. 163
    geg6 says:

    Sorry folks.

    But this is STILL the worst pop song ever:


    /evil laugh

  164. 164
    jwb says:

    @Shinobi: “I would still mind, the point of singing is to ACTUALLY SING, not to say some words and then have a computer make it sound like music.”

    Well, it really depends on what you are trying to do, and Autotune has to be evaluated in those terms. Personally, I often find Autotune very effective, especially where the attempt is made to use the sound of Autotune for its affective resonance (precisely its forced, identity-destroying perfect intonation). Autotune offers an aural image of the (virtual) harmony proffered by the current social order, and I suspect that a lot of hostility toward it derives from anxieties stemming from real shifts in the underlying political economy that Autotune makes audible.

  165. 165
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: I knew you’d come through ;-)

  166. 166
    srv says:

    After years of just one vapid performance after another at the local joints, I’m starting to be surprised by some real performers who can manage to string more than 5 words together for their lyrics.

    The older you get, the more obvious the cycles. Perhaps it’s the times – economic, social and political – but I have hope we’ll at least get some good music out of all the unrest.

  167. 167

    @The Moar You Know:

    to be fair, chuggo is really good bad, good enough bad that whether or not it is bad on purpose is a question that stands the test of time, moreso than the music, but hey, it got the hannity loving tea partiers in buffalo excited enough to give him a gig at one of their rallies.

  168. 168
    AdamK says:

    Yesterday I turned on the radio and heard Montserrat Caballe singing Norma, from a Met Opera recording in the early 70s. It didn’t suck; not in the least.

  169. 169
    MTiffany says:

    Since when are there two ‘y’s and two ‘i’s in ‘Fri-yi-day.’ Oh wait, since about five minutes ago.

  170. 170
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Original Lee:
    For me, those albums occupied a unique place in can’t-listen-but-can’t-not-listen badness. I had one of them but I killed it with scratching during my “I’m gonna’ be a DJ and get rich,” phase.

  171. 171
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @geg6: Vevo has blocked it in my country. What’s the song, and who is the singer?

  172. 172
    MikeJ says:

    Judging the quality of music outside your preferred genre is a chump’s game.

    Imagine all the people alive today who have never heard either the Beatles or Herman’s Hermits. Let them listen to a few songs from each and ask them which one the baby boomers consider the pinnacle of musical achievement.

    That said, I’ll offer a critique of a teen pop song. I think that Victoria whatshername song they play as an interstitial on Nick where she’s mad at her boyfriend with ADD, while not rising to the level of Elvis Costello’s shoelace, shows an attempt at cleverness by the writer. So I’ve always been slightly less annoyed by that one.

  173. 173
    piratedan says:

    well despite the possible and potential exploitation angles for most kids who have a dream it kinda boils down to this:


    its just that the medium has changed so that some modestly well heeled folks can help their kids realize a dream (who’s dream is open for debate). Success is oftentimes a blend of serious hard work, opportunity and good fortune, obviously this young lady is blessed with the latter two at a minimum.

  174. 174
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:
    Fuck you. Frank Zappa once said that every generation has its own sound. That was good enough for me. I like some of my son’s music, I don’t like some of my gen’s music. You’re making a generalization that stinks on ice.

  175. 175
    Paul in KY says:

    @geg6: I’ve seen worse. I don’t want to link to them, because that would be like bringing back The Old Ones or something like that.

    On a site called ‘Future Rock Legends’ they have fixed it so all the spam goes to the Rick Astley page. It’s like being sent to Hell, only less people will read it.

  176. 176
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: Agreed. Chuggo is awesome.

  177. 177
    theturtlemoves says:

    @PonB: You and me both. My kids, 9 and 13, are both really excited that we’re all going to see Rush this summer as a family instead of dumping them off while the wife and I attend. My nine-year-old daughter loves Tom Sawyer and hates Britney Spears…

  178. 178
    Paul in KY says:

    @Amir_Khalid: Your country is smart ;-)

  179. 179
    Emma says:

    geg6: Christ on a cracker, Bobby Sherman. My sister, who is eight years younger than I am, used to love him. Imagine, if you will, a pre-teen sister singing at the top of her voice, OVER AND OVER AGAIN, all his songs… I hope never to come as close to hell as I did then.

  180. 180
    jwb says:

    @Roger Moore: I suspect you are right, though it remains to be seen if Lady Gaga can find interesting moves from the place she has established. She accomplished the first phase of taking over Madonna’s position quickly and relatively effortlessly, so that bodes well. It’s not yet clear, however, that Lady Gaga has that second and third degree awareness of her place in the cultural landscape and its potential that made Madonna so fascinating.

  181. 181
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ: Victoria Justice. I expect she’ll go reasonably far, not because she’s a good singer, but her kid cuteness is developing into decent adult hotness. That doesn’t happen that often. I expect to see her in some mid-budget zombie film before long.

  182. 182
    geg6 says:


    Well, thank your lucky stars you can’t be Rickrolled.

    (Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up)

  183. 183
    jwb says:

    @justawriter: Yes, bubblegum is rock’s Other. That and the fact that it makes a shitload of money are all you need to know about it to understand how bubblegum has figured in popular music criticism.

  184. 184
    twiffer says:

    john, i agree with you completely on this. except the getting old. cause i’m not old yet.

  185. 185
    MTiffany says:

    @srv: I’m sure this generation’s Patti Smith is out there somewhere. Hopefully FB and other social media might be of some use in bypassing the manufactured paedo-glam-pop clogging the arteries of American pop culture and getting real talent noticed direct and unfiltered.

    Because the night

  186. 186
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    And about that mockery: that’s a thing the Internet enables that I’m not so happy about. That it lets the whole world gang up on people and mock them. It’s one thing when you catch it for behaving badly (e.g. the cat bin lady). When it’s a kid whose only sin is a lack of talent, count me out of the piling-on.

    Marshall McLuhan was wrong: we are not a Global Village, we are a Global Middle School.

  187. 187
    Martin says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Yeah, that’s about where I am as well. I’ve held on to a bit of the stuff I listened to as a kid or in my 20s, but only the really good stuff (IMO). Most of what I listen to came out in the last few years. Rather than drag my kids back to the 80s, I’ll come forward and help them sort out what’s happening now and why I think the stuff I held onto is good. Most days, I’d rather listen to Green Day than anything from the 80s. I tell my kids the day they stop finding new music which is better than the stuff they already know is the day they get old.

  188. 188
    Bubblegum Tate says:


    fred durst, you’re off the hook!

    No. Fred Durst will never be off the hook. He should be pelted with rotten fruit every day of his life.

  189. 189
    MattR says:


  190. 190
    MTiffany says:


    Well, thank your lucky stars you can’t be Rickrolled.

    Don’t tempt fate, or teh H4XX0R5. On the upside, I can’t wait for the day some sexually frustrated pimple-encrusted 15 year old hacks all the cable companies and tv networks and Rickrolls a State of the Union address. Good times.

  191. 191
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Yep. These days I still listen to some of the old stuff although I find myself spending more time on Cheb Khaled, Midival Punditz, Tabla Beat Science and DJ Cheb Sabbah – not to mention John McLaughlin and John Martyn.

  192. 192
    MikeJ says:

    If you’d like some first rate dancing about architecture, Mr. Bangs can’t be beat.

  193. 193
    MikeJ says:


    hacks all the cable companies and tv networks and Rickrolls a State of the Union address. Good times.


  194. 194
    Shinobi says:

    @jwb: Then they are using autotune to make a specific sound, as a synthetic instrument (or a tortured metaphor?) They are still not actually singing.

  195. 195
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Did you know they had a concert in a field once? And that every three or four years they create some sort of commemorative documentary about it?

  196. 196
    Catsy says:

    I made it through about 20 seconds of that crap.

    That said, I don’t blame the kid. She’s a teenager; teenagers tend to create shallow, derivative tripe when they create at all. I know I did. That’s not a universal truth, but it’s not too far removed from one. It’s okay–they’re teenagers; it’s like getting annoyed at a kitten for not being careful with its claws.

    The part that bothers me is that the validation she gets from this is likely to lead her to create more shallow tripe rather than giving her a lesson about things not to do and what she needs to improve if she wants to make a career out of it.

  197. 197
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @theturtlemoves: Truly the vital spirit of rock can be found in the experience of liking the same 30-year-old music as your parents. :P

  198. 198
    badpoetry says:

    The lyrics are awful, the auto-tuning is annoying, and the song is terrible. Still… there are a few places where they aren’t auto-tuning her voice, like in the first handful of measures where she’s singing “Yeah” lightly in the background, and it seems like she might actually have a good voice. I even like the vocal note progression in those introductory moments of the song. So yeah, I think John’s right: this sucks, but so does most of the crap on the radio today.

  199. 199
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Catsy: Our media world _runs_ on shallow tripe and sudden, inexplicable fame.

  200. 200
    geg6 says:

    Speaking of youth and all that, a piece of mine apparently died the other day:


  201. 201
  202. 202


    I own Right Said Fred’s second album. Don’t talk to me about bad music.

    Ah, but it’s the classic single off of the third Right Said Fred album, I’m Not Sexy, that hooked me:

    I’m not sexy any more
    I’m sleeping on the floor
    Not sexy no more

    On the sidewalk
    Down on the sidewalk, yeah
    I’m begging for change on the sidewalk

  203. 203
    chopper says:

    jesus, that song is awful. it’s like an autotuned teenage version of tom’s diner. christ.

  204. 204
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:


    You have stumbled into my bailiwick, so, if I may expand:

    Since you are passionate about music you must realize that it is possible to listen and understand what you are hearing on separate and discrete levels. E.g., I don’t like Hot Country (that’s the R&B sounding country you hear on the radio, in case you don’t know). If I never heard it again, it wouldn’t bother me at all. However, I can hear the difference between good examples of the genre and bad examples. Further, I can hear that in aggregate Hot Country does its musical job (showcasing virtuosity, narrative lyrics that connect with the values its audience) better than any other genre does at the moment with the exception of rap. Hence its rise in popularity over the last decade and a half.

    Its possible to hear all that while not liking it one bit.

    But what to do about bad music?

    If you give the “bad music” problem a moment’s thought you will realize that there is nothing you can do about its production short of action that violates the law. The only affect you can make on Music (with a capital em) is to its ratio. Make good music. Make good musicians. Crowd out the bad with awesomeness.

    I’ve got nothing against hating on stuff. Why on earth would I be here otherwise? But hating on bad music smacks of dilettantism. It does nothing but flatter the hater for having “good taste.”

    (Btw, I am really high on vikes right now (dental surgery) so if that was rambling and incomprehensible, apologies.)

  205. 205
    jwb says:

    @Shinobi: Yes, but I’d say the same thing about the voice the moment it enters a microphone. Ain’t nothing natural about it nor the sound that comes out the amplifier, and the microphone and amplifier are as much instruments as is Autotune. I mean if you want to rage against the machine, by all means do so, but what technology does to the voice is simply an analogue of what other machines are doing to our labor and our body all day long. An Autotune that recognizes and reveals that is aesthetically productive; a voice recorded as though the sound of nature, by contrast, represents nothing but regressive nostalgia, far more saccharin than purest Autotune.

  206. 206
    Comrade Mary says:

    @geg6: No, this is the worst song ever. Nothing else compares.

  207. 207
    Nicole says:


    Sounds like a synthesized PG-version of Pink

    Except Pink can actually sing. And she’s awesome enough to do a duet with her dad:


  208. 208
  209. 209
    justawriter says:

    @geg6: I will see your astley and raise you a nimoy.

  210. 210


    Richard Thompson (the real Richard Thompson)

    Oops! I Did It Again

    In which Richard Thompson proves that, at its most basic level, the Brittany Spears smash doesn’t actually suck.

  211. 211
    piratedan says:

    @Comrade Mary: well I think I have a contender in this race as well….


    i heard this song enough that it led to underage drinking

  212. 212
    Shinobi says:

    @jwb: I agree about microphones. The amplifier has eliminated the need to project, or to have any sustaining power (thank you reverb.)

    However the microphone does not completely negate the need to match a pitch, or a rythm. So some element of the skill of singing still remains with miced singing. (As any witness to a karaoke evening can attest, pitch still matters.)

    Autotune eliminates even the need for that. Now the “singer” provides only some consonants and a vowel, they do not even need to match tempo or sustain as all of these things can be manipulated within the technology.

    If you aren’t matching pitch, or sustaining a note, what are you really doing? Is that singing? I say no, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t making music with your voice, it just involves a different skill set.

    With auto tune even my completely tone deaf friends could be the next Ke$ha and I just have a hard time calling something that shares none of the elements of singing, singing.

  213. 213
    geg6 says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    I get what you’re saying. For instance, I think all country music (with a very, very, very, very, very few exceptions, mostly by people who are now dead) sucks donkey balls. In fact, that might be insulting to suckers of donkey balls. However, I can tell that Rodney Crowell is an example of “good” country music and that Big and Rich are examples of “bad” country music.

    But they both suck, IMHO.

    As for bad music, I simply don’t expose myself to it, except to point and laugh. I know I can’t stop it (as if anyone could), but I minimize what I’m forced to hear. I won’t let my car radio get near a Top 40 station, for instance. I go into another room at my sister’s house rather than be subjected to the incessant caterwauling from her TV which is always tuned to the country music channel. I shut my staff assistant’s computer’s speakers off so I my ears aren’t burned off my head due to the hideousness that is Christian “rock.” I refuse to watch the American Music Awards. I have hearing that I have trained to go deaf at the slightest hint of a Rush song. It’s taken me at least 40 years to get to the point where I can ignore this crap. But I won’t give up making fun of the worst of it. I don’t give a damn how young the talentless are, if they insist on inflicting their lack of talent upon the rest of us, they can take heat. Otherwise, they should shut the hell up.

  214. 214
    freelancer says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    I see your sky rockets and raise you some cats, fast as lightning.

    Good Lord, I despise that stupid song.

  215. 215

    Time to cleanse the palate and head to work.

    Ornette Coleman

    Lonely Woman

  216. 216
    MikeJ says:

    @piratedan: I worked at an adult CHR when this came out was was scheduled twice a shift.

  217. 217
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    I hate to point this out, but Right Said Fred has had a long and nominally successful career in Britain and Europe, and have released many albums.

  218. 218
    TheStone says:

    Yet another example of Sullivan bumping into some atrocious example of prole entertainment that he is thoroughly insulated from the other 23.97 hours of the day, which is typically followed by his adoption of the position that he himself is at the cutting edge of realizing that it sucks. But he’s no more tardy in jumping on this bandwagon than the one regarding the insanity that is the modern GOP.

  219. 219
    John says:


    Surely Lea Michele can actually sing – she’s starred in Broadway shows, and such, which do not, so far as I’m aware, use autotune. Presumably that’s just not what the show’s producers want.

  220. 220
    Mr. Long Form says:

    This reminds me of the contest my siblings and I had (all born in the late 50s through mid 60s) to name the Lamest Song of the Seventies, which, for those of you who were yet unborn or in a narcotic haze, is a really wide-open field of possibilities. Final contenders included “Billy, Don’t be a Hero”, “Our Last Kiss,” and “Patches.” The winner was “Havin’ My Baby” by Paul Anka. I say this with some authority, as I was the owner of the 45 of “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies. May God forgive me.

  221. 221
    John says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    Seriously, you think “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and this piece of garbage are comparable?

  222. 222
    jake the snake says:


    Hope I die before I get old.

  223. 223
    master c says:

    Thats so RIGHT.

  224. 224
    master c says:

    uhh not.

  225. 225
    piratedan says:

    @MikeJ: you have my sympathy but he did do Summer of 69′ and Cuts Like a Knife, which were actually pretty decent for their time, imho.

  226. 226
    vtr says:

    Anyone who remembers the pre-Beatle era knows there’s nothing unusual about this era. You think Ke$ha is bad because you never heard Pat Boone sing rnr. You never had to hope the jock would play some Frankie Valle and the four Seasons. And that was the good stuff. At that point, nobody as good as the Beatles or the Stones could have possibly come along and not have been a sensation. Popular music sucks, period, but I like it. I played it on the air for years but it sucks, period. It’s the Snickers Bar of music. Like it if you want, but don’t think it’s good.
    Two weeks ago, I spent five hours in the car bringing mu son home from college. He played Cake on the car stereo for five hours straight. Worse than waterboarding.

  227. 227
    piratedan says:

    @Mr. Long Form: what? no Minnie Ripperton’s Lovin’ You? complete with the eardrum splitting screech of death after each refrain?

  228. 228
    geg6 says:

    @Mr. Long Form:

    Oh, man. “(You’re) Having My Baby” is Mozart compared to “Disco Duck.” And if “You Light Up My Life” isn’t on your worst of all time (let alone the 70s) list, nothing should be.

  229. 229
    geg6 says:


    Another one from my teen years that still makes me want to kill someone, anyone out of sheer disgust.

  230. 230
    vanya says:

    After 220+ posts I’m still confused. I thought the point was not whether “Friday” is good or bad, I think all reasonable people can agree that it is objectively bad. I thought the issue was why is this SO horrible that people who apparently tolerate Hannah Montana find this laughable? Like John, I can’t see much of a difference.

  231. 231
    Scott P. says:

    Listening to that drivel reminded me of the Randy Newman bit on Family Guy:


  232. 232
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:


    I’ll be John PM’s second. None shall besmirch the honor of Glee and not be virtually skewered. Plus, not only is Naya Rivera smoking hot, her character is playing on my team now! Hooray!

  233. 233
    vanya says:


    As a 40+ year old who listened to the Beatles for hours on end in his youth, I don’t get your issue with Cake. They’re a rock band, they have a good guitarist and a strong rhythm section, they have a sense of humor. What’s so painful about Cake?

  234. 234
    Shinobi says:

    @John: I don’t remember her getting auto tuned very much, but I stopped watching a while back.

  235. 235
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @vtr: As it happens, I have the Pat Boone album where he covers AC/DC, Deep Purple, Guns’n’Roses and Led Zeppelin (among others). It’s good for a giggle, especially because Boone is well aware that he’s no rocker. He does the songs in a kind of swing arrangement that — well, takes some getting used to. The album is crazy enough in concept that I actually have a soft spot for it.

  236. 236
    master c says:

    John, you are correct that this isnt so far from what passes in general society as popular music. However,this girl is annoying. That is the problem.It doesnt matter if she can sing, or is cute. Mainstream pop culture has always been annoying. Glee, Miley, Idol, it’s all so terrible. Im a 46 year old parent and Ive vowed to stay on the scene
    [musically]. Kanye anyone? Arcade Fire? Adele, …there’s really good new stuff. And there is the old stuff I missed the first time around: Gram Parsons,Neville Brothers, George Harrison.

  237. 237
    gogol's wife says:


    Minnie Riperton was a goddess.

  238. 238
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @stuckinred: For narrative+virtuosity. Yes! S. Dan is like Hot Country for a certain kinda white guy. That’s groovy song that I’ve never listened to properly.

    @geg6: You have developed the exact same coping mechanism as me.

    Also, in my capacity as a music teacher, I have flogged enough disinterested 10yo through Ode to Joy and Greensleeves to have a different conception of what constitutes bad music.

  239. 239
    Al Swearengen says:

    Everybody that is piling on this poor kid needs to go see the underrated documentary “Heckler” by Jamie Kennedy. It’s a good take on our “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one” world.

    And then shut the fuck up for using a young girl as a critical punching bag. Don’t like it? Don’t listen to it.

  240. 240
    David in NY says:

    @piratedan: @vanya:

    Oh, God. Minnie Ripperton’s “Lovin’ You.” I am going to have to reconsider my evaluation of Bobby Sherman’s “Julie (Do Ya Love Me?)” (its actual name) as the absolute worst.

  241. 241
    piratedan says:

    @gogol’s wife: yes, I believe she was the goddess of aural pain…..

  242. 242
    AZERTY says:


    This song is composed entirely of random teen tweets, thus pointing out the monosyllabic wasteland of both twitter and the current music scene.

    Srsly, The Twitter is the final nail in our culture’s rapidly devolving intellectual coffin.

    Oops! Was that over 140 characters? So sorry….

  243. 243
    ChrisO says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign: ermmmm no. The “Bob Dylan” version is a spoof, and a damn good one too…

  244. 244
    jwb says:

    @Shinobi: “I just have a hard time calling something that shares none of the elements of singing, singing.”

    If you go back through the history of amplification, you will see this same complaint comes up over the microphone. Assuming Autotune becomes the norm (as singing with the microphone now is), “singing” will just become redefined in terms of the ability of the singer to make artistic use of the voice in conjunction with the instrument. I personally haven’t worked with Autotune, so I don’t know the extent of its potential, but I’ve heard enough of it to know that it already offers a fairly wide range of expressive possibilities; so it’s really a question of the extent to which a singer/producer can control those possibilities and, for those who care about live performance, the extent to which those possibilities can be controlled, manipulated, and realized in real time at the point of enunciation (through, say, an Autotune controller patched directly into a microphone).

  245. 245
    jwb says:

    @vtr: Not to mention that when the Beatles first appeared, they were the very definition of bubblegum.

  246. 246
    Catsy says:

    Since we’re sharing zomg werst songs evah, I would be remiss if I didn’t unbury this gem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQAKRw6mToA

  247. 247
    jwb says:

    @Amir_Khalid: Pat Boone is really not to my taste, but he gets a bad rap for not being what he never claimed to be.

  248. 248
    Cris says:

    @jwb: No they weren’t.

  249. 249
    freelancer says:


    Holy wow, that was awesome.

  250. 250
    different church-lady says:

    The physics of media pig-piles will never be adequately explained.

    @John PM:

    but I do not know how to duel over the internet.

    It’s quite simple, actually: no matter how stupid it gets, you just keep at it, and the first one to #300 wins.

    @everyone: the real problem with autotune is not that it’s cheating, it’s that it’s a gimmic that’s worn out it’s welcome. Five years ago over-using it was novel. Now it’s a tiresome cliche. Move on, people, it’s no fun anymore.

    Re: Pink. There’s a group strength class I take that’s got a segment of Britney, and then two songs later a segment of Pink. When placed in close proximity, the difference in their vocal skills and quality can seem like the difference between damp plasterboard and quartersawn oak paneling from the craftsman period.

    In the end, I can see John’s point: in that large pile of dung, what is it about this particular turd that makes people want to squish it between their fingers? (OK, even I’m a little grossed out by that, but I can’t think of an analogy more accurate.)

    More musings as they happen…

  251. 251

    @John: um, yeah, if you don’t have your youth invested in it.

  252. 252
    Chris Wolf says:

    @Dennis SGMM:
    Ha! I have three (count ’em, three!) Sparks albums.

  253. 253
    jwb says:

    @Cris: Yes, they were. You forget they were at first best known for the sound of the screams of their female fans.

  254. 254
    different church-lady says:


    I agree about microphones. The amplifier has eliminated the need to project, or to have any sustaining power (thank you reverb.)

    This has been true for years: Sinatra was made possible by the microphone, and I don’t think anyone would doubt his ability to sing.

  255. 255
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: Um…I was born after Lenon died and didn’t really discover The Beatles until my late teens, and I’m going with you being dead wrong.

  256. 256
    Catsy says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: I don’t even like the Beatles; most of their songs are like nails on a chalkboard to me–and I still wouldn’t insult them by comparing them to this auditory abortion.

  257. 257
    catclub says:

    @Catsy: I don’t post Youtube links, but has “The Legend of the Green Berets” come up yet?

    …Fighting soldiers, from the sky.

  258. 258
    Cris says:

    @jwb: No, you’re simply wrong and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Let me go ahead and be pedantic: the term “bubblegum” wasn’t even coined until 1967 or so, so no, the Beatles were not “the very definition” of it. The Archies were. The early Monkees arguably may have been. The 1910 Fruitgum Company were named after fucking bubblegum. Read the god damned wikipedia article and educate yourself a little.

    To your later suggestion, the overblown media phenomenon of Beatlemania came well after the Beatles had stormed the British charts. Yes, their popularity was out of proportion to their actual musical output (especially at the time). But their output was still the source of their popularity. They weren’t riding on the backs of a media juggernaut the way American Idol winners are. One more time: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    I’m not here to argue with every one of you hipsters who want to prove yourselves oh-so sophisticated and above the fray by pretending the Beatles were nothing special. (That’s what the Radio Paradise forums are for.) But seriously, just stop. You’re not garnering any respect by putting on an iconoclastic front. You’re just highlighting your ignorance.

  259. 259
    catclub says:

    @Amir_Khalid: “actually have a soft spot for it.”

    careful, that soft spot might be melanoma.

  260. 260
    different church-lady says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    On the surface “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is deceptively straightforward and regular in design. Its high-level form is a standard two-bridge model with only one verse (and no solo) intervening between the two bridges. Similarly, its phrase lengths appear for the most part to be symmetrically even, and its back-beat for long stretches sounds closer to conservative pop than rebelliously hard rock. (graph break) And yet, by the same token, just about everyone of the Beatles’ early trademark tricks of the trade is to be found within it: the abrupt syncopations, non-intuitive two-part vocal harmony, falsetto screaming, an occasionally novel chord progression, even some elided phrasing. And of course, don’t forget the overdubbed handclaps! (graph break) Perhaps it is just this paradoxical contrast between familiar and more daring elements that is at the heart of the song’s phenomenal success.


    Your move.

  261. 261
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @jwb: The Beatles were playing at striptease joints in Hamburg, way back when George was still too young to be patronizing such places. That doesn’t sound like a bubblegum act to me.

  262. 262
    jwb says:

    @different church-lady: “Sinatra was made possible by the microphone, and I don’t think anyone would doubt his ability to sing.”

    Or that he was a master of the microphone. That’s the thing: he figured out how to integrate microphone and voice to produce the sound he wanted. I can imagine a future where that might be the case with Autotune as well. Are we there yet? Probably not and people may, for whatever reason, lose interest in it. But I think Autotune has a wide enough range of expressive potential that I can see musicians thinking it worth their time to learn and master the possibilities of the technology.

  263. 263
    different church-lady says:


    The album is crazy enough in concept that I actually have a soft spot for it.

    It’s not how well the dancing bear dances…

  264. 264
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @catclub: The album actually cost Pat Boone some of his traditional fan base: some people who hadn’t heard it were outraged that he had gone all heavy metal. So I have some sympathy. And he wasn’t making fun of the songs, he did respect them as works of music.

  265. 265
    stuckinred says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel): Greensleeves, Beck, and not that dopey Beck.

  266. 266
    jwb says:

    @Cris: I bow to your superior knowledge. Shit, do you think the Archies and Monkees were just created out of whole cloth? Who the fuck do you think they were modeled on, asshat? And those screaming girls—that has everything to do with bubblegum. Screaming girls is what bubblegum was specifically designed to produce. The Beatles were the prototype. No, they did not come prepackaged. But they were nothing until they found their audience of screaming girls.

    @Amir_Khalid: Playing strip joints is not what made the Beatles famous. The screaming girls did. Just saying.

  267. 267
    Cris says:

    @jwb: Just saying.

    Just incorrect. Just back down already.

  268. 268
    different church-lady says:


    That’s the thing: he figured out how to integrate microphone and voice to produce the sound he wanted.

    DING! A wonderful happenstance of style meeting technology.

    I can imagine a future where that might be the case with Autotune as well. Are we there yet?

    Sadly, I think we’re actually past it. Any breakthru will not be due to new uses of it in it’s current form, but in the evolution of the tool itself — new features will lead to new sonic possibilities.

    Personally I hear deliberately over-used Autotune as an abstract technique as quite similar to the use of the Vocorder in the 70s. But autotune makes it easier for every tomdickandharry to trowel it on, so trowel it is.

  269. 269
    John says:

    I don’t really grasp the dominant sentiment on this blog more or less agreeing with Cole’s original post.

    What we have here are that people who actually pay attention to pop music think this song and video are particularly terrible, whereas cranky old people can’t tell how it’s any different from Taylor Swift.

    Bubblegum pop isn’t particularly my favorite musical genre, but if people who actually pay attention to it think it’s particularly bad, the right course of action isn’t to assume that your own ignorance is triumphant, but to try to at least understand what other people might be seeing. In this case, I think the extreme stupidity of the lyrics, the extreme weirdness of Black’s voice, and the general incompetence of the whole project distinguish it from what’s generally on the radio.

  270. 270
    different church-lady says:

    @jwb: Sinatra had screaming girls. Was he bubblegum?

  271. 271
    stuckinred says:


    She was common, flirty, she looked about thirty
    I would have run away but I was on my own
    She told me later, she’s a machine operator
    She said she liked the way I held the microphone
    I said “My, my” like the spider to a fly
    “Jump right ahead in my web”


  272. 272
    jwb says:

    @Cris: So you’re saying that the screaming girls were immaterial to the Beatles’ success? Or that the Monkees and Archies were not modeled on the Beatles?

  273. 273
    stuckinred says:

    @different church-lady: Screaming girls, you want screaming girls? The TAMI Show

  274. 274
    different church-lady says:

    @stuckinred: I do not want screaming girls, and I do not know where you got this misconception.

  275. 275
    stuckinred says:

    @different church-lady: loosen up

  276. 276
    Cris says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if Autotune settles into a less gimmicky usage, as jwb suggests it might, or if it fades away like the Moog. Regarding the conversation about Frank Sinatra and microphones, I’m reminded of Rudy Vallee, who most certainly could sing, and his faddish conceit of singing through a megaphone — a gimmick which happily did not live on.

  277. 277
    different church-lady says:

    @stuckinred: It’s too early for cocktails.

  278. 278
    Steeplejack says:

    Pop music was much better back in my day, when teenagers looked like they were 30 years old.

    No Auto-Tune, at least.

  279. 279
    piratedan says:

    @jwb: omg, in fact, yes they were created out of whole cloth, Don Kirschner’s whole cloth. They took the young rock band model (Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere and the Raiders) and vaudevilled it. They auditioned young actors and musicians for the parts. The group was supposed to be fictional, musical experience was considered a plus because it lent a veneer of reality. What broke up the Monkees was a struggle over artistic control (they learned how to play their own instruments and actually decided to make their own music and choose collectively to no longer live the musical lie) and as such, Kirschner later created the Archies, who were based on a cartoon and allowed him complete creative control. The Bubblegum genre is probably closer aligned with the teen idol/Frankie Avalon stuff more than the Beatles as the music morphed into several genres in the 60’s as rock became something more than teenage angst, R&B licks and rebellion.

  280. 280
    jwb says:

    @different church-lady: Crosby would be a better example, or Rudy Vallee inasmuch as their early success is attributable to appeal to adolescent girls (in these cases extended to young women, especially flappers and shop girls). Elvis is another. Cris is operating with a very narrow definition of bubblegum, whereas I’m applying the term conceptually to any music designed to primarily target a young female demographic, which then becomes the very definition of the commercial music against which “serious” rock is defined in opposition. In this sense, whatever their early history, the Beatles as a popular music phenomenon moved from bubblegum to rock as they shifted from live performance to the studio, which also had the benefit in these terms of eliminating the sound of the screaming girls.

  281. 281
    Steeplejack says:


    Haw! Win.

  282. 282
  283. 283
    mattski says:

    I got about 30 seconds into the song and wanted to grab the hotel hair dryer and jump in the bathtub. The electric cord turns out to be about 6 inches to short from making it to the tub. Well played Wyndamm suites bathroom designer.

  284. 284
    MikeJ says:

    @Chris Wolf: That’s why all you ever think about is sex.

  285. 285
    different church-lady says:

    @Steeplejack: Lollipops, eh?


    Ah yes, innocent times…

  286. 286
    Steeplejack says:


    Dude, that was cold. Should have come with a warning label.

  287. 287
    jwb says:

    @Cris: The megaphone disappeared when the microphone and public address system reach a level of ubiquity that they could be counted on for musical performance. Vallee used the megaphone in an attempt to create his radio and phonograph voice in a public performance venue. The dividing line between megaphone and microphone falls roughly between Vallee and Crosby.

  288. 288
    Steeplejack says:


    I listened to Christian Metal in high school.


    This thread is great.

  289. 289
    different church-lady says:

    @jwb: As is usual in most pie fights, the rub here would seem more linguistic than conceptual.

    Let us try to reconcile this mess by comparing the following two statements:

    Not to mention that when the Beatles first appeared, they were the very definition of bubblegum.


    Cris is operating with a very narrow definition of bubblegum, whereas I’m applying the term conceptually to any music designed to primarily target a young female demographic…

    Perhaps concurrence is possible once inconsistency is removed.

  290. 290
    different church-lady says:

    @ everyone: I don’t need Amazon to tell me that if you’ve made it this far down the page you will this book fascinating:


  291. 291
    ronin122 says:

    Meh, heard worse. I am young enough (24) to be exposed periodically to this kind of crap (Miley Cyrus was big in university…) so I guess I’m desensitized. Crap’s dime a dozen and this isn’t “so bad it’s awesome(ly bad)” material.

  292. 292
    Cris says:

    @jwb: What I’m saying is that you are making multiple errors in your statements. Your first one, that the Beatles were a bubblegum act, is wrong in nearly every meaningful sense. As other commenters have pointed out, “Bubblegum pop is written to appeal to teenagers, therefore all music that appeals to teenagers is bubblegum” is a simple categorical fallacy. So is “Bubblegum was engineered to duplicate Beatlemania, therefore Beatlemania was a bubblegum phenomenon.”

    Second, your statements to the effect that “The Beatles were nothing until the girls went crazy” are at best an oversimplification and at worst a complete reversal. This was a real band that paid its dues, learned how to play to a crowd, and wrote a string of successful original songs. They wouldn’t have been “nothing” even without the admittedly overblown mass hysteria of Beatlemania. But also, the phenomenon was an effect, not a cause, of their early success.

  293. 293
    Safety Third says:

    Love how the kids in the car aren’t wearing seat belts.

    Example fail!

  294. 294
    jwb says:

    @piratedan: My point is that they were modeled on the early Beatles. I mean, the joke in the Monkees name is that it is a misspelled animal using a musical term, but in the case of the Monkees they misspell the musical term (beat=beet; kees=keys). Ha, ha. If you want to restrict bubblegum specifically to a band that is created to a particular image, ok, I’ll accept that. But that’s not the issue I’m interested in. I want to address music aimed at the demographic target of young females, not a specific, limited technique for addressing it.

  295. 295
    Cris says:

    @jwb: whereas I’m applying the term conceptually to any music designed to primarily target a young female demographic, which then becomes the very definition of the commercial music against which “serious” rock is defined in opposition

    Now we’re getting closer to agreement, though I still am inclined to disagree with the broad application. Vallee, Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, the Go-Gos, all appealed to a young female demographic, but I draw a (fuzzy) line between that spontaneous appeal and the deliberately engineered appeal characteristic of the “bubblegum” movement, and its heirs.

  296. 296
    piratedan says:

    @jwb: well I guess that I simply have an issue with the terms then… I associate the term “bubblegum” to mid 60’s (post ’65) music that is marketed to young white teens. While examples of that kind of music can be found prior to that era, it’s associated with a different genre, teen idols, death ballads etc…

    but as always, ymmv

  297. 297
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @jwb: Sam Philips was looking for a white singer with a black sound when he found Elvis. Not a singer who would appeal to girls and young women. In those Hamburg strip clubs, the Beatles were playing not to teenyboppers but to sailors (Hamburg is a port city like Liverpool). Sinatra and Crosby got screaming girls, true. But screaming girls were far from being the extent of their following, just as they were far from being the extent of Elvis’s or the Beatles’ following. Your claim that these artists’ work was designed to appeal particularly to girls still awaits supporting evidence.

  298. 298
    different church-lady says:

    @Cris: IMO, he’s not “wrong” so much as he’s just overstating the case. And maybe getting the cause-and-effect relationship reversed.

    What might gall some people about this is that Bubblegum was a step backward from the Beatles — so comparing the two directly is going to stick in some craws.

  299. 299
    Cris says:

    @different church-lady: The Beatles are the Godwin of music threads.

  300. 300
    different church-lady says:

    @Cris: Are you comparing Lennon to Stalin now?

  301. 301
    piratedan says:

    @different church-lady: does that mean that Ringo is the broccoli mandate?

  302. 302
    jwb says:

    @Cris: What sort of historiographic shit is this: the Beatles are real because they paid their dues? Beatlemania is precisely what made the Beatles into what they became. I think that fact is undeniable. Otherwise, they are just another good, tight band in a group of good British bands that are somewhat popular in the 1960s. Moreover, it’s arguable that Beatlemania is what forced them into the studio so that they could emerge as the reformed Beatles of rock.

    I also don’t get why you are so damned interested in discounting the massive, massive influence of those screaming girls. As I mentioned, my interest is in the demographic target, not the definition of bubblegum, and so I appear to use the term more loosely than most. I did state that the Beatles were the very definition of bubblegum because I see the early Beatles as the model for and Beatlemania as the impetus for the bubblegum acts. But I also see the phenomenon of targeting a young female demographic, what bubblegum, narrowly defined, is a particular technique for doing, as stretching back into the 1920s at least. And the line of commercial/art is often drawn based on that targeting.

  303. 303
    justawriter says:

    Forget autotune, here is the future of music …

  304. 304
    4jkb4ia says:

    Dumber than usual. Ke$ha would do this kind of material with a very broad wink. And it doesn’t appeal to anyone other than kids. The stuff from High School Musical is very G-rated but you could see the craft of writing a pop song in it.

  305. 305
    stuckinred says:

    Ya’ll mothefuckers are overthinking the room. It’s only rock and roll. . . and I like it like it yes I do!

  306. 306
    Cris says:

    @jwb: As I mentioned, my interest is in the demographic target

    So please address Amir_Khalid‘s point. Demographic appeal is not identical to demographic target.

  307. 307
    jwb says:

    @piratedan: And I see these groups as having been consciously modeled on the Beatles of the Beatlemania phase. I mentioned Elvis only because he also was known for his screaming female fans.

    @Amir_Khalid: Have you seen the Big Broadcast of 1932? On Vallee and other crooners, see the work of Allison McCracken

  308. 308
    4jkb4ia says:



  309. 309
    Corley says:

    Official 23 year old here, attempting to explain why people might be so quick to hate on this.

    It’s true that the basic sound of the song is no different from any of a thousand other artists attempting to appeal to a similar demographic. What got to me was the lack of any effort to do anything interesting at all within that sound.

    For me it comes down to the lyrics of he chorus, especially at the end: “partyin, partyin, fun fun fun”. Really? That’s as far as your imagination could take you? To say the name of an activity and the reason you enjoy that activity? No explanation of why ‘partying’ is so much ‘fun?’

    There are already many entries into the ‘partyin=fun’ genre. And it’s a rich enough topic that there’s probably room for many more. But I think we ask for art, even vanity art, to at least attempt to say something interesting about the world it’s commenting on. Gaga, Tswift–even Miley–all attempt to give us more than a basic value judgment.

    On a more poignant note: I’d bet she really did come up herself with the citations at the beginning. I’d bet she’s a talented and likely music-obsessed girl who, surveying the market, came to the conclusion that this was the song she wanted to make. Which is a sad comment on the environment our young artists are growing up in.

  310. 310
    Don says:

    @Scott P.: What’s why I said “I’m with you, John” – that c’mon was directed at the haters.

  311. 311
    Steeplejack says:


    But Bryan Adams did give us “Run to You” and thus paid his karmic debt.

  312. 312
    Comrade Mary says:

    @vanya: I LOVE Cake, and that’s no lie (even when they engage in a little vocal processing to create a riff).

  313. 313
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason (formerly frosty) says:

    @Yevgraf (fka Michael): So … does Ultimate Spinach (Behold and See) top Lothar and the Hand People or Emerson Lake and Palmer? Cause I lurved that album when it came out.

  314. 314
    jwb says:

    @Cris: Do you really believe that Beatlemania, once identified in nascent form, was not targeted? Do you really believe that Elvis was not targeted at the female demographic once it was understood that the female demographic was a large component of his appeal? The feedback loop is part and parcel of how these acts are sold.

  315. 315
    sherifffruitfly says:

    It’s not that you’re old (though I’m sure you are) – it really is extra terrible – even by today’s low low low standards.

    I think it’s XTRATERRIBAD because it’s basically like a literal version video, EXCEPT THAT IT’S NOT INTENDED TO BE A SPOOF. Imagine if Spinal Tap were made, and intended to be serious.

    I realize you have no idea what a literal version video is (because you’re so old). This, pretty much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA

  316. 316
    BruinKid says:

    @Comrade Mary: Yeah…… so, as an Asian that goes to UCLA, boy oh boy, was this thing ridiculous. And now the girl’s getting death threats?? Geez.

    I said this last night on Facebook: Would that 1/10th the anger shown towards Alexandra Wallace would be shown towards Rush Limbaugh when he did something MUCH more racist, and never apologized for it. All you people complaining about her video, where were you when Rush said all this about Chinese people?

  317. 317
    John says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    I’m 30, so I doubt I have my youth invested in the greatness of the Beatles. The early Beatles aren’t my favorite music of all time, but they were obviously talented musicians and song-writers, and their success was a function of that.


    Otherwise, they are just another good, tight band in a group of good British bands that are somewhat popular in the 1960s.

    I’m pretty sure this is quite utterly backwards, though. The Dave Clark Five and Gerry and the Pacemakers and Herman’s Hermits and the rest all had screaming girls. The Beatles are the Beatles not because they had more screaming girls, but because they were more talented than those other outfits.

    “Beatlemania” was a sociological phenomenon that ultimately didn’t have very much to do with the Beatles. It’s gone now, its former practitioners approaching retirement age. The Beatles’ music is still around, and not just among the 50+ year old boomers who are old enough to remember them when they were new.

    Certainly boomers can be obnoxious about how great their music supposedly was. And God knows there was some terrible music in the 60s, and much great music that has been made before and since. But I think that when you look at the pop music charters from, say, 1964 to 1969, and compare them with any other period in the existence of pop music charts, he big hits actually were, on the whole, much better than any other time in the history of those charts. Of course, the charts in the period from 1990-2005 or so are highly distorted by the collapse of single sales in the CD era, but even so, it’s pretty remarkable. What stands out is not so much that the music being made was better as that much of the best stuff that was being made was getting played on the radio. This seems to have been a function of the domination of singles over albums (the charts stayed better for longer in Britain, where singles remained commercially and artistically important for much longer) and a variety of other factors, but I do think that something actually remarkable was going on in pop music in the 60s, and it’s just wrong-headed curmudgeonliness to deny it.

  318. 318
    Peter says:

    This is pretty much the worst pop song I’ve heard in a long time, and I’ve heard some pretty bad ones. To those saying that this is no different from Miley Cyrus or other similar acts: I agree that those are just as vapid and are pretty much unbearable, but this is, musically, so much worse. This is Miley Cyrus but with the veneer of professionalism stripped away and with a metric ton of autotune piled on to try and compensate. This is what Miley Cyrus sounds like without a budget, and it is ugly.

    As for autotune, I consider it a tool in the musicians’s box. You can get great effects with it – Autotune The News, linked multiple times in the threads above, does fantastic work with it – but you can also misuse it. Autotune never sounds good when it’s just being used to prop up bad and off-key singing. Not only is it lazy, it immediately screams fake to even a relatively non-discerning ear and straight sounds bad. It is better reserved for odd effects a la T-Pain or for making music out of non-musical sound clips.

    (Although to be honest, I’ll always prefer this sort of edit work over autotune. It’s more difficult, but more satisfying)

  319. 319
    4jkb4ia says:

    The Beatles were different from all the bubblegum acts listed above, especially a fake act like the Archies, because the bubblegum acts made a pact with their audience that they were going to be completely inoffensive. The Beatles never made such a pact. Even when they were singing love songs that were not obviously profound, they were trying to emulate their rock and roll heroes and they were seen as a threat.

  320. 320
    tofubo says:

    i’m getting old too, don’t do that again, i’ll have to hit you w/the twins again


    not the safe for the work

  321. 321

    @different church-lady:

    so what your expert is saying is, that it is great, even though it sounds like shit, because its a beatles song…

    the rest of it, is like trying to find depth in the interactions with a stripper while she works….

    she doesn’t wear a wig, have fake boobs, tattoos larger than a half folded dollar, i think she is a real person who just likes to dance, and she really seems to like me, etc

  322. 322
    vtr says:

    I don’t know if anyone is still following this thread, but please listen to Champion doing “Ain’t No Heaven.” Most amazing thing I’ve heard in decades.

  323. 323
    Triassic Sands says:

    Why did I listen to that? Jeebus.

  324. 324
    different church-lady says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: No, what I’m saying is that when you can seriously evaluate the vid that kicked this thing off in the same way, then we can have a “comparison” between these two things.

    But also I get the feeling you and I are interested in having two very different conversations here…

  325. 325
    McJulie says:

    I thought it was hilariously bad in a Ke$ha sort of way for the first couple of minutes, then I got bored.

    That’s something I miss. The two and a half minute pop song. That’s a big part of why pop music is such crap nowadays — everything just goes on for too damn long. Even songs I like become tedious well before they’re over.

    So that’s my old man rant.

    Which is another thing. I’m female, but there’s not really an equivalent “old woman rant.” I could rant about that. That would be an angry feminist rant.

  326. 326
    Tim says:


    Hey! Rick Astley rocks! :D

    That’s a great, fun, 80s pop/dance tune!

  327. 327
    piratedan says:

    well I guess my core issue is that jwb kept using labels inappropriately in my mind. Most rock aficionados have a passion for their genres and have a pretty good idea regarding who belongs where. jwb is trying to label the Beatles as bubblegummers when “I think” the label he is looking for is teenyboppers. Neither applies sadly. Plus he seems to think that just because he saw a Hard Day’s Night and watching screaming girl fans trailing the Beatles at the height of their popularity indicates that they were unappealing to the lads as well. The Beatlemania came about because they had a sound that harkened back to the roots of rock and roll at the time and it struck a chord (sorry about the pun) with kids everywhere and they sold a shitpotfull of records that sold domestically and internationally, as well as dominated the single and album charts. They wrote their own stuff when the acts that did their own material were few and far between and generally not seen outside of solo artists.

  328. 328
    Tim says:

    The main problem with this Black chick song/video is that she has NO presence and NO charisma to get away with such horrible material. And there is no wink in her eye, letting the audience know that she knows how horrible this is, and that she is in on the joke.

    And she remains clothed throughout, which is totally against current pop video standards.

  329. 329
    Mike G says:

    @Mr. Long Form:

    “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies

    Which was the top-selling single of 1969, for anyone who still holds onto the nostalgic ideal that the 60s were a fount of pure musical genius.

  330. 330
    Mike says:

    OT, I guess, but this is my favorite “bad music” comedy thing from the internet:

  331. 331
    guachi says:

    Wow. This song wasn’t nearly as bad as reading the painful and embarrassing savaging it’s received from the internet critics. It’s not a bad, song. It’s just boring. No catchy hook and a clunky refrain.

    More boring than bad. Shame on those who have taken such great joy attacking a 13 year old.

  332. 332
    Petorado says:

    I remember a radio interview with an old time rocker who, when asked what rock ‘n roll was, responded, “It’s whatever music your parents don’t like.” So there goes the credibility of the “get off my lawn” crowd.

    Rebecca Black’s song is not art. But who knows, with some time, she may develop a taste for it. You can’t fault someone for the yearning to create something. And in this case, her 15 minutes of fame may have been thrust upon her. Good for her for trying. Pity for us for dwelling so much upon it.

  333. 333

    @different church-lady: there isn’t anything to evaluate in the video that started this thread, no one considers that to be great music.

    my point is that i don’t consider the beatles to be great music either. i consider them to be pop music. i like pop music, but the pop music i like, i don’t make pretensions about it…

    i am a big fan of courtney love’s work in hole, rip away all you want.

    i know it isn’t much, technically or most people’s cup of tea musically aesthetically or lyrically, but i enjoy it the way one might enjoy expressionist art.

  334. 334
    bjacques says:

    Damn. Looks like this thread finally petered out.

    You all fill me with inertia.

  335. 335
  336. 336
    Paul in KY says:

    @jwb: I don’t consider ‘Kansas City’ or ‘Twist & Shout’ to be bubblegum.

  337. 337
    Paul in KY says:

    @Steeplejack: Don’t particularily like this song, but Lesley Gore was uber-cute back in the day.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  338. 338
    Paul in KY says:

    @Safety Third: I saw that too when I watched it a second time. Was going to mention it, but then I thought I’d just sound like an old fart.

    Glad you stepped on that mine!

  339. 339
    Paul in KY says:

    @stuckinred: That was my cousin’s favorite Stones song. He was killed in a bike accident when he was 18. That was almost 25 years ago.

  340. 340
    beejeez says:

    Just to clear up a couple things for the young ‘uns:

    1. The Beatles were as punk as music got until Brian Epstein cleaned them up for their world takeover. I mean screaming, sweating, loud, fast and sexy as hell. Once in a while they would still tap into that energy as they got older, but their more omnivorous tastes led them not to get stuck in it. A valuable lesson.
    2. I set out to never become one of those people stuck in the music of their ’60s youth, and I’ve done better than most of my classic rock-hooked peers. I can still connect sometimes with a Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem or Jay-Z tune. But I have to admit that music from my youth or rooted in that music gets to me in ways that even the best new stuff simply can’t, and I think this condition is pretty much inevitable. It’s just the way humans are wired, and you’re going to find this out.

    And for the elders…

    1. No, pop music is not at an all-time low. How soon we forget that the chart-toppers of our youth were as likely to be Fabian as Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Goldsboro as Jimi Hendrix, Charlene Oliver as Stevie Wonder, Kajagoogoo as The Clash, etc.
    2. Yes, we know you don’t care if it’s uncool to stay in a Zep-Floyd-Clapton rut, all due respect. But you’re only cheating yourself.

  341. 341
    gaijinlaw says:

    I know that this song sucks* and that Nikki and the Corvettes’ “Summertime Fun” rocks, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why that should be so.

    (*The young lady is lovely and a very nice person I’m sure but it inarguably sucks donkey balls hard.)

  342. 342

    […] recently partook of an indulgence that I only allow myself rarely: I got involved in an internet pie-fight about the Beatles.  It was the kind of nitpicking, semantic, ahistorical, aesthitically-charged argument […]

  343. 343
    Davis says:

    I know I’m old because I checked to see if the kids in the back seat were wearing seat belts.

  344. 344
    master c says:

    @Cris: yes to radio paradise

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