If we’re after evidence that the end times are near, it’s not earthquakes, economic downturns and rising global sea levels that we should be looking to. It’s a world where 45 million people – pretty much the population of Spain – actively choose to watch the video for Rebecca Black’s Friday.
This isn’t a song. It’s a Guantanamo Bay torture method, decried by Amnesty International and outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. There’s a lot of people saying that Satan must have had a hand in this somewhere: Satan would have drawn the line at this. Satan would have wept.
Sadly, not everyone shares Satan’s moral scruples, and particularly not in LA. There the sinisterly-titled ARK Music Factory pass their days extracting thousands of dollars from terrible parents to turn their talentless children into ‘stars’, which would be fine if they weren’t then inflicted upon the rest of us, like cholera. Their website resembles the kind of day-glo trap that the FBI might use to lure paedophiles, awash with over-lit studio shots of tweenagers smiling as though their lives are worth something.
There we’re warned that Alana Lee will be ‘your next viral star’, and that ‘Tae is on the brink of greatness’, in the same blank prose that announces a hurricane gathering force offshore. But the real chills accompany the user comments: ‘So cute! Can’t wait for the music video to be on iTunes. Until then, I’ll keep sharing this song with everyone I know.’
And so here we are, 45 million views later of a song essentially focused around the dilemma of choosing a seat in a car. Sure, all pop is insipid, but this is a new low: a paean to vapidity of such staggering force that you can actually feel bits of your brain curdling around the one-minute mark.
I don’t blame Black herself. I’m sure she’s very nice. And although I’d probably not slow down if they were crossing the road in front of me, I don’t fully blame the parents either. It’s the limp-wristed policy makers in Washington and London that I hold responsible, for permitting a society where under-16s are allowed to release music at all.
That’s not to say they shouldn’t make music – although, let’s be honest, they can’t – but we need tighter regulation to prevent its spread into the public domain. Better soundproofing of teens’ bedrooms. Ruthless policing of YouTube. Bus drivers authorized to carry guns, just to deter any roaming bands of young who might feel tempted to let loose a few bars on the back seats.
But most of all we need an end to music videos populated by the petri-dish scrapings of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and all the rest of the identikit offerings churning out a ceaseless sugar-rush of primary colours and pearly smiles, inscrutable gestures and orgiastic materialism. Because whilst the record labels might think they’re just exporting the American Dream, I can’t be the only one considering joining Al-Qaeda and charting a plane to LA.