Pop

Let’s Talk About What Miley Cyrus Gets Right For A Second

The genuinely talented singer keeps getting in her own way.

-By Michael Arceneaux

As frustrating as I find her to be, I almost feel sorry for Miley Cyrus. Almost— because after all, she has been a famous millionaire for the majority of her life. With that comes all the perks of fame and fortune: being the center of attention, having people be at your beck and call, and getting to do practically whatever you want. Though as we’ve seen time and time again, none of that proves to be enough for a child star. They always have something to prove, notably when they see their star fading as they inch closer towards adulthood. They typically do whatever it takes to earn additional shine in an effort to safely stay in the only space they’ve known.

No one needs a reminder on how desperate Cyrus has shown herself to be in convincing you that she’s no longer Hannah Montana. It’s downright embarrassing to see her make so many weed jokes or reference sex in some campy fashion, damn near begging us to call her bad ass. That said, I don’t agree with the running theory that her career is over. For starters, her last album, Bangerz, did go platinum. We needn’t forget she’s only 22, by the way.

Oh, and for all her theatrics, she’s actually talented. That’s probably what’s most grating about Miley Cyrus: she doesn’t have to do half the nonsense she engages in. It’s one thing you notice from her new free album, Miley Cyrus & her Dead Petz. And yes, it is nonsense. We’re not being prudish. Quite the contrary. It’s that those of us over a certain age – say, above 25 – have seen it all and seen it done far more salaciously and with purpose (not to mention better).

In a New York Times report about the making of Miley Cyrus & her Dead Petz, producer Mike WiLL claims of Cyrus, “Why would she drop another Bangerz? Miley is the new Madonna.” Oh hell no. Cyrus may think she’s like Madonna. There may even be people she pays to lie to her about being like Madonna. Still, making endless weed jokes or standing around butt ass naked constantly a Madonna not make.

Madonna was provocateur, but she was tackling real issues that resulted in genuine backlash. She spoke about gay rights and AIDS awareness, was an advocate for expressions of female sexuality in its rawest forms, among other issues. She drew the ire of the Catholic Church, uptight politicians, and if you remember the reactions to her SEX book, even some consumers. Cyrus is like a teenager with a fake ID, drunk at a college party living out all of the scenarios she’s only seen in crappy movies.

Madonna is also, above all, a masterful pop music maker. Sure, she’s adapted sounds and aesthetics through the years, but at her peak – and that lasted for a very long time – she always played to her strengths.

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