Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball got quite a lot of tongues going and mine, fussy as it is, felt that it must add to the polemic. It is a tradition in Hollywood, Disney and other such Wonder lands to start people acting and singing when they are quite little. In fact, if you believe the parents of these early stars, their offsprings have been doing most of these things right from their mum’s womb (the next generation can still win this competition by going earlier in time indeed, and I would suggest, anywhere from their conception (since a lot of them are already being named after the city where IT happened), to somewhere around when their parents met the surrogates). Sorry the fussy tongue is getting dirty, nothing against the practice, just annoyed about it being turned in certain quarters into a trend, but what do I know.
So where were we? Oh yes. So the little angels, stronger for bearing such premature gifts, are thrown in an arena where scripts and pressure precociously sow the seeds of maturity. The truth, here again, comes from the children’s mouths, directly fed and taught through the adults’ scripts. As they grow, well they have to find a more mature side of themselves and I am afraid once booze, drugs and parties are done, all that is left is getting your kit off. It’s modern art people, says the voice of fashion.
Cyrus’ video starts in the manner of Sinead O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s Nothing compares to you with a close-up on her face with the remain of a tear that is surely more of a quick splash of water dripping down her right eye than it ever was the expression of a recent pain coinciding with the filming, unlike the more classic track it at first mimics. One thing is certain, it does not prepare anyone for what comes next. The nth second brought quite a distraction and introduced the beginning of the polemic. Miley, who was the icon of many kids, had grown, or so she seemed to try and revendicate, wearing next to nothing on a seemingly child’s body (although these days, fashion might call it the perfect adult body, a visual statement that is a bit confusing for growing minds).
I actually liked the song: I wouldn’t have bothered just adding into the polemic otherwise. The melodies are mature and her voice hits the sound as well as any modern technology can tune it up to. Seriously though, the song is nice and she sings it well. I also actually was not even shocked at such bearings. I was born in Paris where we see more of these on everyday French TV. I think that she or the writers must have felt that too since at some point she went up a gear and… started licking, all tongue out… This is where I had to go: WHAT?! What the…
Until then, I thought the video was actually beautiful and so nicely directed. However, it was like they had watched it and felt the same as me and thought: no, no one is really that shocked over nudity any more, plus we are covering it with skin or cloth, so we need to make a real statement, even if it does not really fit the original atmosphere, as long as it shocks the viewer out of their contentment.
Simon Cowell, the voice of (music) (t?)reason, had confirmed a few months earlier that bad publicity was only a sign of jealousy from artists who could not arouse controversy enough. Even if Lady Gaga’s new single turned out to be terrible, the uncommon and imposing way that it will shout at your face every day on Spotify, Youtube and all platforms coming to us apparently for free against the privilege of receiving advertising means that you ARE GOING TO CLICK and listen. Hate it after hearing or watching it? Maybe, but she just got her royalties whatever your feelings and if you have a strong feeling about it, positive or negative, you are also going to want to talk about it, and become one of the channels for propagating it. He is right in terms of money. I tried to explain this to my daughter when she came home wanting to share her disgust at a new video they had watched at school (yes, the home of education 😉 ). I simply said I believed her and I could not possibly help bump up the numbers for the video by watching it too. I have always disliked chain letters (or whatever they are called) where one message comes to you and you have to take part for fear of the subliminal emotional blackmail that not participating might mean losing out. Growing up, there have been so many faces of that trick and this just looked like another one.
Maybe my colleague, who should never be an A&R btw, was right: maybe I should take my clothes off in my next video. Yes, but what do I do after that? Sticking my tongue out? What do I do for my next 300 songs and 30 albums? He is not the only one who thinks this way. I’ve had boyfriends (automatically making themselves exes) suggesting that my skirt should be shorter. Somehow, I have always known my limits: why start a competition that you cannot end? Today, the same girls I would have fought by shortening my skirt wear what I call belts so much the skirt has lost its length and I know I would have lost that battle a long time before reaching that level.
In the end, has Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball succeeded in completely destroying her child image? Well, for me, not really. It IS a beautiful video, in my opinion, for a really nice song with vocals that hold well the challenging journey of mature melodics. The out-of-place or misunderstood licking certainly woke me up from the comfortable seat I had sunk into and it is always good for the circulation. If she had wanted to shock the world, the world will easily get over it. There is far more art in this endeavour than shock, and maybe after all that was the point. Maybe she realised that and that’s why she stepped it up on the live show. That bit though is entertainment and far from my ambitions. Therefore best of luck with the rest, Miley. I might never buy your albums (I tend to specialise in singer-songwriters) but I won’t skip the song when it is on air.