it's friday

Analyzing the Lyrical Origins of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’

Are you sick of Rebecca Black’s viral smash “Friday” yet? Neither is Vulture! We’ve already provided the Dos and Don’ts to replicating her unique style, and — after a long partying-and-fun-and-more-partying-and-more-fun-filled weekend of “Friday” on repeat — we’re back with a closer look at the gem. This time (and with respect to Slate’s “Sheenglish”), we’re breaking down the lyrics.

The words to “Friday,” at first, come off as bizarrely, bewilderingly terrible in a truly mesmerizing way; that is, of course, much of the appeal. Tracing the origins, though, we see “Friday” in a new light — as a natural, if skewed, progression of certain pop-music traditions. Here we go:

1. “7 a.m., waking up in the morning / Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs / Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”

Here, Black is most likely channeling two acts: Mike Skinner, a.k.a. the Streets, and Jens Lekman. While the former is a rapper and the latter a twee indie-pop Swede, they both traffic in a similar vein of minutiae. Take Lekman’s “Your Arms Around Me”: “I was slicing up an avocado / when you came up behind me / with your quiet brand-new sneakers.” Skinner’s chatty style — which features detailed references to mundane activities like watching TV and laundering your pants — occupies a similar space. As does, occasionally, Rebecca Black’s.

2. “Kickin’ in the front seat / Sittin’ in the backseat / Gotta make my mind up / Which seat can I take?”

Houston’s hip-hop scene is heavily focused on the city’s famed car culture. Many aspects of one’s automobiles — from its booming sound system to its multicolored paint job to, of course, its large rims — are utilized as lyrical fodder. Were Rebecca Black and her producers (perhaps after a few spins of Paul Wall’s The People’s Champ), misguidedly inspired to call attention to another, less-heralded aspect of owning a car — that is, the decision as to where in it one should sit?

3. “Partyin’, partyin’ [Yeah] / Partyin’, partyin’ [Yeah] / Fun, fun, fun, fun”

Before he became a club-owning multi-hyphenate, Andrew W.K. was one thing: the world’s greatest party starter. Sample song titles: “It’s Time to Party,” “Party Hard,” “Party Til You Puke,” “Fun Night,” “We Want Fun.” Proudly, Rebecca Black picks up the torch W.K. laid down long ago.

4. “Fun, fun, think about fun / You know what it is”

This is just a straight shout-out to Wiz Khalifa’s “yeaaaah, you know what it is” from “Black and Yellow.” Wiz, hop on a remix!

5. “Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday / Today is Friday, Friday / We, we, we so excited … Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes afterwards”

Oh, God, this part. Honestly? We sort of forgot about this part when we started this post. Um, ok, let’s see — it’s kind of like … what’s that other song? That, uh … talks about, uh … you know. That other song? Ah, crap. Maybe her mom owns a calendar shop?

Analyzing the Lyrical Origins of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’