One of the casualties of this weekend’s National Finals was this gem of a performance by veteran musician Byron Williams Junior, who teamed up with Eurovision alumni and bemasked DJ JOWST. And I am so sad to see this go.
There has been a lot of pooh-poohing of this song in the fandom, and they are wrong. Freaky for the Weekend deserves more respect.
The vocals are clean.
The beats are impeccable.
The staging is fantastic.
And this guy is having the time of his life:
So why isn’t it resonating? One reason might be the lyrics. They seem to hearken back to a simpler time, when people weren’t juggling multiple jobs and clubs weren’t possible vectors of COVID and a weekend was less an opportunity to catch up on sleep than to have a full on, three-day rager. And while Byron Williams Jr can sell the hell out of a song, the nostalgia isn’t coming through. Heck, even JOWST is too old to have weekends like this anymore.
But the other reason might be the gender of those performing.
There is a long tradition of middle-aged women getting up and shaking their asses in songs about letting go on the weekend. Party Voice is one. This Estonian banger is another one.
We, as a culture, applaud middle-aged women putting on the sequins and grabbing Aperol Spritzes and getting their groove on. But when middle-aged men do it, it just feels…creepy? It’s divorced dad energy vs. wine aunt energy.
The extremely touching VT prior to this song featured Bryon with his family. In the voiceover, he talked about how he had a career with The Drifters, but gave it all up to move to Norway with his now-wife. As he put it, he chose family. And that’s what is missing from this song. If the lyrics were all about going clubbing with the woman he’s adored for years, like they did when they first met, it would be different. I would really enjoy that freaky for the weekend – basically, the song version of this.
Given that so many things are correct about this song, I hope that Bryon and JOWST go back to the drawing board and come back with something that feels more authentic, but still celebrates the fact that people of all ages can enjoy an evening letting loose at the club.