Scheduling her biggest headline show ever on a Friday – and specifically one that comes a day after the release of her debut album ‘Let Her Burn’, which also happened to drop exactly twelve years after her debut single, the widely mocked and memed ‘Friday’ – isn’t a coincidence. If anything, it’s a pop redemption arc for the ages.
The mainstream-flop-to-gay-icon pipeline is a strong one, though those who paved the way did not suffer the way Rebecca did. It wasn’t until she remixed the viral track that made her a global laughing stock at age 13, that she was able to truly reclaim her narrative, going full hyperpop with a Dylan Brady-aided rebrand. Except this time, a whole decade later, the virality wouldn’t die.
So tonight, at London’s Heaven – a fitting venue choice considering the community that have wholeheartedly embraced Rebecca – she absolutely packs it out. The album she’s about to perform in full has only been out for a day, but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a sense from Rebecca’s various speeches between songs that she never thought this day would come, but from the way she performs, it also feels like she’s been preparing for it the entire time.
Kicking off with ‘What Am I Gonna Do With You?’, she unleashes a stage presence that’s rarely been given the chance to see the light of day. Effortlessly weaving between the Eilish-lite whisper of ‘Crumbs’, the belting pre-chorus of ‘Misery Loves Company’, and the high notes of ballad ‘Sick To My Stomach’, she shows she’s actually got vocal chops as well.
Rebecca Black has spent much of her career trying to prove she’s a serious pop star. Consistently releasing music throughout the years between being a meme and being a hyperpop icon, she proclaims that her sold out show tonight of over 1,600 is “not bad for a girl who couldn’t sell eight tickets to a show six years ago”. And she’s right, very few would’ve expected this trajectory, but her perseverance is admirable.
The set also pulls heavily from 2021’s ‘Rebecca Black Was Here’, the EP that doubled down on the success of the ‘Friday’ remix, creating highlights like the crowd-led ‘NGL’ and scathing breakup bop ‘Personal’. A cover of Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ comes mid-way through (covering a song that has also long been thought of as a guilty pleasure feels quite deliberate), and before dipping into ‘Worth It For The Feeling’, Rebecca thanks those who’d listened to her music and taken her seriously before anyone else ever did.
After a couple of ballads, she returns to the stage for an encore, which is of course the famed ‘Friday’ remix. Screaming the lyrics into a warbling autotuned mic, flinging her sunglasses off and making her way into the pit, it’s a nostalgic banger that’ll live on long past the hyperpop craze. She’s not even done yet. Finishing on an amped-up version of the euphoric ‘Girlfriend’, Rebecca Black has never been more celebrated, and it’s a joy to see. Rebecca Black was here and she was incredible. Let her burn, she’s already on fire.