Everyone on the globe had the exact same introduction to Rebecca Black 10 years ago. If you were at all familiar with internet culture (or heck, maybe just Western culture) between the years of 2011 and 2013 , you heard “Friday” at some point, were confused at how a professional could ever produce it, and wanted to immediately wipe it from your memory. But thanks to the ever-revolving cycle of internet humor and an admittedly-effective earworm, that was inevitably impossible, and the memory haunts you to this day. Or maybe I’m just projecting…
In case you weren’t aware…
Either way, in 2021, Rebecca Black’s career is a much different story. After a decade of releasing bunches of singles a year, the artist seems to finally be on solid, and quality ground. Relationships with artists like Dorian Electra (with her feature on “Edgelord”) have placed her alongside the rest of the hyperpop revolution, and her most recent remix of “Friday” marked a decade-long journey the best way it could: with an amazing but just-as-trashy remix of what started it all.
Black’s consistency continues with January’s “Girlfriend”: a traditional pop song that doesn’t necessarily fall into the “hyperpop” category of her more recent feature or remix, but holds onto a lot of trendy and quite honestly, good pieces of other genre artists. Clearly grounded in the early-2010s dance pop that she grew up with, the pounding beat and smooth synths are fun and bright, and the groove hits harder than anything disco could ever claim. And April’s “Personal” takes a look at a moodier, Dorian Electra-aided Rebecca Black, in a hypertrap jam about relationship struggles. Though I wouldn’t say she’s at the forefront of inventive music, Black’s recent releases have all been unique and fun in their own right.
This is, admittedly, perhaps, my favorite single of 2021 so far.
At the very least, favorite music video.
Rebecca Black’s most recent single, “Worth It For The Feeling” (released earlier today (May 21st, 2021)), is still a continuation of her professional, respectable career, but is an unfortunate detour through the usual. The bass groove is still great and brings up comparisons to Jessie Ware (responsible for theneedledrop’s AOTY in 2020), but the surrounding parts fill in like the world’s most boring mad-lib. The Ariana Grande-trademarked, ethereal, pulsating aura of vocal samples and various echoes fills the air of the track, Black’s vocal style is closer to Ariana Grande’s than her own, and even the lyrics themselves (though thematically similar to those on “Girlfriend” and “Personal”) could be from an Ariana Grande track. Traditionally, I don’t like to use “this sounds like this” comparisons, but in this case, it’s both valid and necessary.
“Worth It For The Feeling” by Rebecca Black was released on May 21st, 2021.
Unsurprisingly, no hyperpop peers (that I’m aware of) worked on the track, and perhaps that’s as far as you need to look for the reasoning behind the direction shift. “Worth It For The Feeling” isn’t dissimilar to many of Black’s singles between 2017 and 2019, taking aesthetics from similar but more successful artists, and making a quality track that lacks memorability. But for all it’s lacking in unique aspects, it does make up for in production quality. Unlike her career four years earlier, Black is clearly surrounded by a team of high-level producers, which is why the masquerade works so effectively. It’s hard to recreate Ariana Grande if you don’t have the technology to do so.
My immediate reaction to my first listening of “Worth It For The Feeling” was disappointment, but in a lot of ways, that’s a great thing. The past 12-months of Rebecca Black’s career have redefined her sound, her potential, and her legacy. And if this is the only boring sample we’ve gotten in recent memory, that’s certainly progress. Rebecca Black did something DC never could: she gave me high expectations. And even though they were let down this time, I don’t see another miss coming soon.
If you liked this, please follow my socials linked at the bottom of every blog page! Stay tuned for more coming soon!