The latest in the stream of YouTube-created teen phenoms, Rebecca Black has, according to an interview on Good Morning America last Friday, inspired more ire than admiration for her single "Friday."
The vast array of these remixes is fascinating to me, so I sought to mix multiple remixes together. The aural qualities created when they are contrasted with each other — 2x fast vs. 2x slow, for example - add interest to the song where there wasn't before. Individually, each remix improves upon the original track. The sped up version of the song actually has an appropriately upbeat tempo for a song about partying on the weekend, whereas the super-slow "car crash death mix" draws attention to the comically dour nature of Black's repeated "fun, fun, fun" tagline. By stringing a selection of remixes together, I find the track serves as a more compelling caricature of music videos and pre-teen pop songs than it does on its own.
Hearing about Black being victimized online while watching these remixes - whose authors' individual aims are not known to me - brings a new perspective to the practice of remixing popular YouTube videos created by ostensibly normal people like Black. Although textual comments can be hurtful, are they more easily brushed aside than videos that use the performer themselves in a mean-spirited remix/critique of the original video? I cannot help but imagine that Rebecca Black and her mother (also interviewed on GMA) would consider videos that make Black look ridiculous or that imply harm to be a much more personal attack.
Also, many of the remixed videos rely on very simple video editing techniques. With the proliferation of open-source, online and free video-editing software, any YouTube user can become a remix artist, ridiculing or improving on artists like Rebecca Black. Due to the simplistic nature of many of the remixes, it seems as though many of the remix artists are actually close in age to Rebecca Black. They are entering into dialogue with the artist and using the remix as a way to critique her work. By mashing these remixes up, a dialogue amongst the remix artists is created.
Each remix, despite not being authored by Rebecca Black, features her name in the subject line, and barely ever that of the remix artist, in order to capitalize on YouTube users searching for her real video. This internet/YouTube practice is interesting in relation to the idea we've discussed at length about the role of the author and their proper name in the creation and proliferation of art. Despite being such a democratic, accessible platform, YouTube reinforces this more rigid idea of authorship in this way.
The remixes I cut together are: Rebecca Black - Friday (Sped Up) Chipmunk Version, Rebecca Blackstep, Rebecca Black- FRIDAY SLOWED DOWN CRASH DEATH, and Rebecca Black - Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun.
Here is the GMA interview.