Reinventing Rebecca Black
March 8, 2023
Over ten years after the release of “Friday,” Rebecca Black reentered the music scene with the announcement of her debut album Let Her Burn in January 2023. The debut single, “Crumbs” set the tone of the album and the songs that followed worked together to solidify Black’s spot as a new voice in pop music. Leaning into hyperpop and electronic production, Let Her Burn is reminiscent of Charli XCX and Caroline Polachek’s recent work, culminating in an album that’s production leaves room to highlight Black’s impressive vocals and lyrics while also having fun with itself and making listeners want to dance.
Known to most as the singer of “Friday,” a song released in 2011 when Black was only thirteen, she has taken her time reinventing her image. One of the most widely hated songs at the time, “Friday” made Black the target of intense online criticism and bullying. Black found the entire experience extremely overwhelming, stating in an interview with DIY Magazine that she “was literally a kid being a kid, and not ready to pursue a career”. Understandably, over the course of the next few years, Black laid low as she grew up. The years after the release of “Friday” were monumental for Black personally as she began to understand her creative vision and grow into the person she is now. Breaking back onto the music scene in 2021, Black released a hyperpop remix of “Friday” produced by Dylan Brady of 100 gecs and featuring 3OH!3 and Dorian Electra to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the original release. This remix set the stage for Black’s future work and showed her embrace of the song that gained her so much hate.
The title of Let Her Burn suggests rebirth and new beginnings, two themes consistent throughout the album. Black is burning her old self as she enters a new phase in both her life and music career. Reflecting on her relationship with the spotlight on the second track, “Destroy Me,” Black sings, “My identity, so easy to destroy… watch me while I crash and burn again and again”. This song clearly references the hate that she received as a teenager, and the relentless bullying nature of the internet. Set over loud electronic synth and drums, “Destroy Me” is one of the louder songs on the album and Black’s frustration and emotions clearly shine through. The following songs touch on lighter themes, focusing on love and relationships. Black’s lyricism paired with the techno-pop production create songs that are easy to listen to at a surface level, but when the meaning of the lyrics is added, the song takes on a new and deeper meaning.
The last three songs on the album are arguably the most emotional, discussing heartbreak, jealousy, and pressure that comes with being in the spotlight. The last track on the album, “Performer,” encapsulates the message of the album and the meaning of Let Her Burn. She sings, “I’m a performer / Got myself cornered / Put on my armor… / Multiple versions / of the same person”. Black explains the pressure that comes with being in the public eye, especially from a young age. The words “cornered” and “armor” invoke a sense of fear for Black in the listener, she feels trapped but all she can do is put on her armor to protect herself, she has no means of escape. Additionally, Black feels as though she constantly has to reinvent and create “multiple versions” of herself in order to stay relevant, but none of these versions are who she actually is. Through “Performer,” Black shares her struggles with the listener, relaying a situation that few can relate to through experience but still understand the meaning.
Throughout Let Her Burn, Rebecca Black sheds her old skin to take on a new form. Black leaves behind the public’s previous notions of her and her former public image, in order to embark on a new journey, this time on her terms. This album is full of unique production and complex lyrics which, when paired together, combine to create the perfect album to dance or cry to. Chances are you’ve heard “Friday” at least once in your life, and if you’ve ever wondered “I wonder what she’s doing now?” listen to Let Her Burn by Rebecca Black and experience the birth of a new name in pop.