Vulture’s Dos and Don’ts for Making Your Own ‘Friday’-Style Hit
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Vulture’s Dos and Don’ts for Making Your Own ‘Friday’-Style Hit

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CJ Fam, ‘Ordinary Pop Star’

DON’T worry about lyric/video congruity. DON’T be alarmed by the two scuzzy grown-ups rocking fedoras off set — they're your producers! That one on the right might rap in your video later, if you ask nicely, and then drive you home. DON’T wear pink. DO wear tulle mukluks. DO sign hand-drawn portraits of yourself.

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Ariana Dvornik, ‘Fly Away’

DO have a perfectly serviceable Europop beat. DON’T shy away from expressing complicated, ambivalent feelings. Does Ariana want to fly away with her man, or does she want to fly away from him? Friends, young love is complicated. DO that thing where you stretch your arms out like you’re pretending to be a plane. It looks cool when Jason Terry does it, and it looks cool when Ariana Dvornik does it. Also, DO be up in the club. Always be up in the club.
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Alana Lee, ‘Butterflies—

DO play the cute card, if you have it. DO cast a Mean Girl who resembles Jamie Lynn Spears. DO include school supplies that look like Trapper Keepers, even if they aren't actually Trapper Keepers, because viewers will get excited anyway. Trapper Keepers! DO resolve the plot with a dramatic note-reading in front of the whole class. DO encourage the adult teacher to nod along.
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Kaya, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Mind’

DO rip off Kylie Minogue; all pop is cyclical anyway. Plus, if you steal stuff from musicians who aren’t that famous in America, less people will realize it. DON’T gussy up the natural teen vernacular. “You keep on trying / texting me, texting me, with those smiley faces / everywhere / I don’t even love you back, boy”? That’s how kids talk! DO have a climactic, impromptu pas de deux. When that unrequited love interest starts doing Step Up 2 … the Streets moves? Did not see that coming.
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Abby Victor, ‘Crush on You’

DO relatable teen things in your video. You know: shopping, singing, hanging out on couches, pillow fighting in dark, ominous kitchens. DON’T forget to mention the day of the week! In this case, “It’s a Saturday, Saturday night." DO use “party” as a verb, over and over.
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Danika, ‘Let You Go’

DO be pre- or currently pubescent. Ark Music Factory likes 'em young! Again, DON’T stick to the simple either/or “love/hate” pop-lyric template. Here, Danika charts out a tale in which a young man, secretly smitten, first acts out via mockery, then commits to the relationship, and then, eventually, gets his ass dumped for his insolence. Does “I gotta let you go / let you know / never never wanna let you go” make sense? Well, neither does life.
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Jolie Adamson, ‘Armour’

DO get ambitious with your wordplay, but DON’T bother to actually make sense with it. DO choose a beach with craggy rocks that mirror your inner turmoil. DO cast a guy who looks like Brody Jenner. DON’T actually make out with that guy in bed — just stare at him soulfully, so the Twihards will respect you. DON’T let the camera cut away from your carefully rehearsed "romantically confused while on a beach and/or four-poster bed" stare. This is your song; these are your feelings.
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Ashley Rose, ‘Untitled’

DO use CGI fire! DO burn teddy bears, records, and potted plants with that fire. DON’T obey highway parking laws (related: DON’T obey age laws, as far as driving goes. No one in these videos is old enough to get behind the wheel, and yet, there they are! Cops don't exist in Ark Music World; it's cool.) DO let that producer/driver rap again, and DON’T worry if he doesn't actually make the words rhyme. You have CGI fire, nothing else matters.
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Sabrina, ‘My Reflection’

DON’T shy away from hot-button teen issues, like body dysmorphia. DO create subconscious connections to Melissa Joan Hart. DON’T worry about it if you look dead-eyed and empty inside. No one will notice, because the chorus is so catchy!
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Sarah Maugaotega, ‘Take It Easy’

DON'T be afraid to apply Auto-Tune to unexpected genres (we'll call this reggae tween pop?). DO let orthodontic patients play the romantic lead in your video, and DO encourage bold color choices with respect to those plastic brackets. Swag comes in many forms. DO invite a bunch of your friends to sit awkwardly in a circle while you deal with complicated romantic issues. Again, DON'T let the boy get too frisky.
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Britt Rutter, ‘Without Your Love’

DO make the most of the technologies available to you in 2011. DO place stuffed animals strategically in the background to make yourself more relatable to tweens. DON’T let a cheating Internet boyfriend get in the way of your pool party. DO let Rapper/Driver/Producer Guy perform in a force field! DO segue to a field for a delightful girl-power dance break.
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Rebecca Black, ‘Friday’

DO obsess over every last detail and decision, as if you were making a joyful, buoyant argument for the validity of predeterminism. DON’T veer off message. Partying, partying, partying, fun, fun, fun, fun, etc. — really pound your point home. DO have a rock-solid understanding of the order of the days of the week. DON’T get bogged down by explaining elemental concepts like “fun.” They know what it is. And, most important, DO sing like a foreign exchange student whose knowledge of pop culture consists in totality of recently napping your way through a few lackluster American Studies 101 lectures.

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