"Friday" by 13-year-old Rebecca Black has become the most unlikely hit record
in quite some time. Originally conceived as a vanity project financed by Ms.
Black's parents, it's been viewed 50 million times on YouTube (Ed. note: Now it's up to 60 million. Won't you people ever stop?) and has been the
subject of much derision by music critics and the public alike.
Last week, I
received a call from an old friend in the music business in Los Angeles. My
friend has, in addition to producing hit songs for a variety of artists, also
served for many years as an analyst in the U.S. Department of State,
specializing in communist studies.
He said that
critics of the song had missed the point entirely. He said that instead of a
cute, tween-pop ditty, "Friday" is the most cleverly
produced and most blatantly pro-Marxist piece of music since The Clash released
the rabble-rousing album Sandinista! 30 years ago.
there's no way to prove my friend's theory, he believes the song was originally
written back in the 1980s by the propaganda division of the Soviet Union's
government. "This song is poisonous," he said. "It's basically The Communist
Manifesto set to music."
An exposition of the song's lyrics seem to bolster this theory. Only by
analyzing the song line by line, he said, is its true meaning revealed.
begins, Seven a.m., waking up in the morning/Gotta
be fresh, gotta go
downstairs. This line is an homage to the Clash's proletariat anthem "The
Magnificent Seven," whose first line is about a worker arising at 7 a.m. to
please his capitalist bosses.
lines: Gotta have
my bowl, gotta have cereal. This refers to the
grain shortages in pre-World War II Soviet Russia, in which nearly 5 million
people starved due to a lack of wheat.
continues: Seein' everything, the time is goin'/Tickin' on and on, everybody's rushin'.
The last section refers to the impatience of the Bolsheviks after the 1917
Revolution and the provisional government's urgency in equating Russian
nationalism with the Communist Party's aims. "Everybody's Russian," urged
pro-Communist posters of the era.
lines are, Gotta
get down to the bus stop/Gotta catch my bus, I see my
friends. This references the lack of transportation infrastructure in the
Khrushchev era and touts the benefits of communal life.
Then we hit
the plaintive lines, Kickin' in the front
seat/Sittin' in the back seat/Gotta
make my mind up/Which seat can I take? This is a direct reference to the
indecision facing the Soviet Union after it scrambled to reassemble its
government following the death of dictator Joseph Stalin.
Soviets try to lead a worldwide revolution of workers in forcing an end to
capitalism, or take the "back seat" with a more indirect approach?
In this, Ms.
Black echoes the questions that preoccupied Khrushchev, Malenkov and Beria in
1953, and, for that matter, Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
song's chorus alludes to the desire of the proletariat to be freed from the
shackles of capitalism and its joy at even a short respite from its cruel
overlords: It's Friday, Friday/Gotta get down on
Friday/Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend,
teenaged Ms. Black sings, Partyin', partyin', yeah, she's referring to the historic 20th
Congress of the Communist Party in 1956, which, after years of denial, began
the process of de-Stalinizing Russia and ending the cult of personality
bridge, possibly the most criticized section of the song, is in fact an
expression of confusion and despair faced by Cold War Soviet leaders, albeit
was Thursday, Thursday/Today it is Friday, Friday. This shows the importance of
emphasizing the fruits of Soviet Communism relative to the era of the Tsar. But
in anticipation of an uncertain future, the song reminds us that Tomorrow is
Saturday/And Sunday comes afterwards.
Union continually issued optimistic forecasts of better days to come once the
Revolution had been fully realized.
There are so
many other Russian references in the song — the Cuban Missile Crisis, the
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Gorbachev — that my music
business friend is convinced there is no possibility of coincidence.
can't figure out," he told me, "is why it's out now. It has all the hallmarks
of a psyops (psychological operations) campaign from the KGB circa 1985. Was
the song stolen from Soviet archives? Had there been a sleeper cell sitting on
this song awaiting orders that only now came? I can't figure it out."
that hardline Russians loyal to Vladimir Putin issued
the song in an effort to reassert the power of the Russian state and its
possible return to totalitarianism.
just my best guess," he said. "This is the kind of thing that makes me want to
build a bomb shelter. Who knows what the Russians have up their sleeves next?
Justin Bieber singing coded messages from Castro? The
mind boggles at the possibilities."