The enormous success of ‘Freaky Friday’ is a surprise. It’s a comedy song, for one. It’s a terribly unfunny comedy song, for two.
For the uninitiated, the song is the breakout hit of comedy-rapper Lil Dicky. The premise: Dicky and the disgraced (or apparently formerly disgraced) R&B singer Chris Brown switch bodies, akin to the Lindsey Lohan / Jamie Lee-Curtis 2003 comedy.
Dicky lays it out plain in the opening of the video: “And on that day, me and Chris Brown would change bodies.” Chris Brown and I would have been the correct syntax, FYI.
‘Freaky Friday’ isn’t funny at all. The joke – a socially stunted white guy supplanting a wealthy attractive black man and vice versa – falls completely flat. Glorifying Chris Brown of all people (regardless of the nearly decade-old Rihanna assault charge) feels sleazy. If I were to wake up in Chris Brown’s body I’d probably just stay inside and try to avoid interaction with fellow rappers, lest I punch them in the face as Brown has been known to do from time to time.
What’s worse is that Dicky characterises this as ; “Ain’t no one judging cos I’m black /Or my controversial past.” I don’t think ‘controversy’ is the right term for ‘documented history of violence’ Besides that, Dicky’s only real interest in being a black guy is to say the N-word and have a larger penis.
The success of ‘Freaky Friday’ is actually attributable to one man – the man professionally known as Mustard…
…formerly DJ Mustard, who composed the backing track. Several co-writers are named of course, but this has his finger prints all over it, and it carries the hallmarks of FL Studio, the software used to create the emphasised, minimalist and icy bass synth on ‘Freak of the Week’, ‘Show Me’ & ‘Don’t Tell ‘Em’. This is his most earwormy hook yet.
Mustard supplies a bomb ass beat and down-tempo club riddim that makes for an instant radio hit. Anyone could have sung this song. It could have been about anything. ‘Freaky Friday’ is a reminder that sometimes a great demo is all you need.