"Weren't you the one who said that I would be nothing?" sings Rebecca Black at the beginning of her new single. "Well, I'm about to prove you wrong." Big words for 'Becca, who the entire
world internet has been waiting to hear back from since "Friday" crept its way into all but the shadiest corners of the pop consciousness. And finally, we have it: "My Moment," the song and video that re-introduces a world-wearier, less naive Black to the world, one who hopes that you'll remember who she is, but not well enough that you remember the reasons why you found out about her in the first place.
To say that people hope that Rebecca's attempts to follow up "Friday" would be misleading—none but the most vile of trolls actually bear her any ill will for her viral success by this point—but it's not unfair to say that most people expect her to fail. After all, this isn't like it was when future megastars like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga tried to follow-up their gigantic debut singles—the key to "Friday"s success was its entirely unintended hilarity, and the total lack of self-consciousness displayed by anyone involved. Rebecca may want us to forget about "Friday" (which is good, because if she consciously tried to make another "Friday," it'd be a guaranteed failure), but we're still hoping for its spiritual successor. It's hard enough to catch lightning in a bottle twice when you're actually trying to do it. How in the hell do you pull it off by accident?
It's especially tough because despite her occasional cluelessness, it's really hard not to like Rebecca. She handled the "Friday" fallout so well, and seems like such a genuine, sweet, personable girl (with an absolute whopper of a smile) that it's hard to know whether to root for her to fall on her face again (thus extending her 15 minutes of fame) or to hope her music actually comes off as competent (thus ensuring we will never hear from her again). Of course, there is a third possibility—that Rebecca could come up with a single so undeniable and radio-ready that we'd stop grouping her with Antoine Dodson and Tay Zonday and start thinking of her as a legit peer of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. But in our heart of hearts, we know that's not really possible—Rebecca's a talented girl, but she's not a star, and as long as she's got the Ark Music Factory pulling the strings, she's not going to be able to convince anybody to the contrary.
So, we have "My Moment," Rebecca's declaration of victory over the haters and Kelly Clarkson-like affirmation of Her Time having arrived ("This is my moment / It's my time, flying high, my my / Feels like my moment"). Said haters of varying degrees could very easily find aspects of both song and film to be worthy of scorn—the chintzy production, the cheesy "Blow up" / "blow up" lyrical echo in the song's bridge, the general over-eagerness of everyone in the video (including Rebecca's friend wailing on the guitar, during sections of the song with no apparent guitar presence). And throughout it all, Rebecca just keeps on flashing those pearly whites—in the studio, on the red carpet, even in the makeup chair—refusing to act even the slightest bit jaded or defensive, almost begging the internet to give her their absolute best shot.
But make no mistake—"Friday, Pt. II" this is not. That song and video had a one-of-a-kind surrealness to it, a fundamental lack of understanding about how pop music and music television were supposed to operate, a brainlessness and deadness of spirit that revealed itself only gradually over dozens and dozens of listens. By contrast, the worst thing you can accuse "My Moment" of is excessive goofiness, and even then, no more or less so than anything you might catch in between shows on the Disney Channel these days. Only the truest of internet cynics will find much joy in taking Rebecca's statement of triumph to task for these faults, the rest of us will say "eh, whatever, good for her" and move on with our lives.
Whether this was conscious or not, and we're guessing not, the title of "My Moment" ends up being a fairly ironic one, since it's all but sure to represent the final tick of the second-hand towards Rebecca Black's 15 minutes of fame having officially expired. But then again, maybe Rebecca's fine with having had her moment. Maybe proving her competence and taking the fun away from the death-threateners in the process is good enough for her. Maybe she's ready to go back to being a regular Orange County teenager. And maybe ten years from now, some pop star who grew up watching "Friday" will feature her on the chorus to their new single, sparking a career revival in the process.
Whatever Rebecca's fate, we wish her the best and thank her for the endless hours of amusement that "Friday" gave us in the first half of 2011. But her place is no longer in the spotlight, and that just might be the best thing for all involved.
For lots more pics, videos and up-to-the-second dish on Rebecca, be sure to check out her Popdust Artist Page.