Greatest Un-Hits: Bad Lip Reading’s “Gang Fight”

Written by Greatest Un-Hits, Music

“Friday” is the Song of the Year for 2011. Over the course of about two weeks, this thing went from pseudo-professional amateur project to hipster YouTube sensation to cultural phenomenon to moderately hit single to subject of ironic covers (Stephen Colbert with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) to non-ironic covers (Glee‘s pretty good version) to a passé, life-ruining embarrassment for the awkward teenage girl, Rebecca Black, at the center of it. “Friday” itself was released as a single and went to #58 on the singles chart, an impressive showing for a 13-year-old girl that came out of nowhere on a tiny, ridiculous vanity label called Ark Music Factory, which was designed to charge stage parents to make their children into stars. And a completely Internet-based success, too, which in spite of the changes in the mainstream music world over the past decade, is still a rarity.

Anything “Friday”-related got its moment, mostly, people on Twitter making jokes about the song’s idiotic lyrics (“yesterday was Thursday / today is Friday / Saturday comes after that,” or something). But all of the humor, the covers, the T-shirts, the Tumblr images, all were as disposable and slight as “Friday” itself. Except for “Gang Fight,” by Bad Lip Reading. Holy shit, this song is awesome. It’s ostensibly a parody/cover of “Friday,” albeit an extremely indirect parody/cover. Bad Lip Reading drops the audio out of videos, then creates a new audio track built around what the anonymous guy behind BLR, the son of a deaf mother who’s an admitted terrible lip reader, thinks the people in the video are singing. BLR did it with Friday” and the result is a super-crazy song that is almost always about a teenager deeply anticipating not the weekend, but a brutal gang fight. There are a handful of non sequiturs, of course, because of the bad lip reading, involving uneaten chicken, vaccinations, and party hats. And then they put it to some pretty damn good beats.

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Like “Friday,” “Gang Fight” became a pretty big YouTube hit, with more than four million hits to date. And like “Friday,” “Gang Fight”  was made available on iTunes and other music outlets and yet failed to sell as well as “Friday.” Or chart at all. Oh well.