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‘Friday’ singer Rebecca Black is all grown up

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 6, 2022

Rebecca Black is kicking off her first headlining tour Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C.  (Carianne Older)
Rebecca Black is kicking off her first headlining tour Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C. (Carianne Older)
By Chris Kelly Special to the Washington Post

In her new music video for “Read My Mind,” Rebecca Black and collaborator Slayyyter portray bored convenience store employees with bad dye jobs and worse attitudes who serve a parade of juggalos and rednecks before a chance encounter with a motocross star leaves them “yassified” – a 2021 trend that turned regular objects into extremely beautiful and queer-coded ones – into cartoonish dolls with big blonde wigs and too-big, muppetlike breasts.

The video’s grotesque-but-make-it-cute vibe matches the song, an irresistible pop jam that does the opposite of Coco Chanel’s most quoted wisdom and keeps adding one more thing: saccharine synths on top of pop-punk riffs on top of double-time breakbeats on top of an undeniable pop melody.

Black’s Auto-Tuned vocals and lyrics about riding into the night play like a knowing nod to the song that accidentally made her famous more than a decade ago: “Friday,” the one-off project that went viral, was widely derided as one of the worst songs ever and eventually proved traumatic for the then 13-year-old.

“I was really trying so hard to run away from that part of my life for so long, and I was so afraid of anybody even bringing up that (“Friday”) existed because to me it represented a part of myself that was a character and not real,” Black says.

Processing the reaction to the song and the viral infamy it caused took time, but Black eventually figured out how to reclaim something that was never intended to be seen millions of times on YouTube. Since then, she’s spoofed “Friday” for a Dunkin’ ad and – in a move more indicative of her musical tastes – remixed it into a frazzled, hyperpop confection alongside Big Freedia and Dylan Brady of 100 Gecs.

That remix, the “Read My Mind” video and the club-ready pop of her latest album “Rebecca Black Was Here” might be surprising if seen as Point B to the Point A of the original “Friday,” but to Black, it’s the natural progression of an artist who grew up and started answering familiar questions: Who am I? What do I want to say? What do I have to give?

“Enough time has passed and I’ve had enough time to really understand what that (experience) really was like and finally feel comfortable,” she says. “I learned how to step away from all of that because if I never did, I would probably be miserable forever.”

Instead of being miserable, Black is ready to kick off her first headlining tour Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C., while still concerned about how to safely perform live as the pandemic rages. But if all goes according to plan, she’s hoping to bring the outsize visual style of her recent output to life.

“We’ve built diamond chain saws, and I have the big boobs (from the “Read My Mind” video) sitting in my closet,” she notes. “I don’t want to leave them in my home while I’m on tour.”

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