Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In Defense of Miley Cyrus...

It's been quite awhile since I last blogged here, it's been a crazy couple of months. But today I was inspired to write a blog. No it wasn't the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" and the ensuing events in DC. Nor is it about very real possibility that Obama is going to lead us into War in Syria. It's about Miley Cyrus.

Now I know at this point many of you have probably heard enough about Ms. Cyrus in the last few days to last you a life time. Both the left and right agree:  Miley Cyrus's VMA performance was horrifying. Could peace in the middle east be next?

Here's the thing, Miley Cyrus is a marketing machine. She's made millions upon millions of dollars through her persona of "Hanna Montana". A young perfectly poised pop star that in many ways reflected what fans thought of Miley Cyrus. In fact I'd be willing to bet many saw them as one in the same, She (they?) did do a "tour" after all.

But what Miley Cyrus reminded all of us on Sunday night was that She is not "Hannah Montana". Nor is she a Tween pop star anymore.  She's a grown woman. And whether we like it or not She has changed.  From a purely business standpoint it was simply something that had to be done.

What's truly amazing is that Miley has been able to keep this song and her name in the press for months.  First there was the insane haircut. Then she dropped the single "We Can't Stop" in which there is "controversial" line, "Dancing with Miley". Or so Cyrus claimed, for about a month until she decided to admit what was fairly clear from the start, the real line was "Dancing with Molly". A reference to a fairly popular, yet still illegal drug, Ecstasy.

"We Can't Stop" plays like a theme song for her generation, with lines like "It's my mouth I can say what I want to" and "Forget the Haters cause somebody loves you".   Probably not what you took away after the other night, but still She is now in her early twenties. She isn't 16 anymore. It's about partying, rebelling and new found freedom. Basically the same theme as every other rock or pop song ever written, only with a softer beat.

Still critics came out screeching like Tipper Gore at a rap concert to condemn Miley for "glorification of drug use.".  You know because hit songs are never about Drug use.....Need I remind you of  a little tune called "Cocaine", or maybe you remember "Last Dance with Mary Jane", how about "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds". No drug references there. Not everyone was as overt as to include it in the song titles but let's face it half the songs from the 90's were about Heroin.  Drugs have been a part of popular music since it was invented.

But because Miley Cyrus, a/k/a Hannah Montana sang was literally national news.

I don't claim to know if Miley is using drugs or living a drug fueled party life style or not. What I do know is that videos don't always represent "real life". Often singers are playing a character, just like an actor in a movie. So I don't think it's fair to assume that simply because it's in a video, it's a documentary of her life.

And while "Twerk" was a word used by someone prior to Miley Cyrus, I don't think it had ever appeared in cereal before her video and never on CNN before Sunday night's performance. It's even been added to the Urban Dictionary. So there's that.

Now as for the actual performance on Sunday night at the VMAs.  I was not a fan of it. In full disclosure I had heard the song before and I actually kind of like it. I had not however seen the video, until after the VMAs.  Which if MTV actually played videos anymore, would have probably given the general public more warning.   Miley gyrates around licking things and people and yes even Teddy Bears in the video. So again if MTV played videos perhaps more people would have already known about

To me the whole things was just strange and awkward. Mock worthy no doubt. But at no time in the performance nor in the video does Miley show her "naughty bits". She's entirely covered. Sure the outfits are far from modest, but it's not like she had on pasties or a thong. She basically had on a horrendously ugly swim suit. It didn't come across as sexual to me, it was just really freaking strange.

To the parents who were quick to post to facebook and twitter  that the performance was "embarrassing" or "uncomfortable"  because their children were watching...That is totally on you. The VMAs are known for controversial performances.

Almost 30 years ago, Madonna gave the now infamous performance of "Like a Virgin". It was ten years ago, this week that Britney kissed Madonna on that very same show. You should know better. If you don't want your kids to see the latest version of "Controversial", don't let them watch the VMAs. Seriously. Like Justin Timberlake said "It's not the Grammys".

Now I get that people expect standards of decency, I'm just not sure why You think you'd find it on MTV, home of "Teen Moms".

Whatever you think about Miley's now infamous performance, there were more tweets per minute during her portion of the show than there were during the Super Bowl. People who hadn't thought of Miley Cyrus in years, suddenly have her name on their lips. She is back in business. And as a capitalist I can't hate on her for any of it.

Maybe it was too much...but I don't think we'll be confusing Miley Cyrus with "Hannah Montana" again anytime soon. 


Anonymous said...

This is the best take I have seen on this. Thank you.

Richard Thornton said...

It's interesting that musicians with real chops - jazz & classically trained, rarely , if ever resort to outlandish outfits, or hyper-sexuality as part of their performance. Jarret packs the Blue Note because he can play; he keeps his clothes on and we are mesmerized.

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