By Gibson Johns, Online Arts Editor
Published September 2, 2013
It’s no secret that Miley Cyrus is the most talked about celebrity of the past few months. From her bizarre, overtly sexual music video for “We Can’t Stop” to her frenzied performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards that shocked the world, the Miley discussion has been rampant. She’s perhaps the most divisive public figure there is right now and, if I had to guess, that’s exactly what she wants.
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It’s not like this is a new development — between that controversial Vanity Fair photo shoot at 15, her incorporation of a stripper pole into a performance of “Party In The U.S.A.” at the Teen Choice Awards and the salvia incident, Miley has always shown a penchant for controversy. The difference now, though, is that this new image of hers doesn’t feel natural: Whereas her previous moments of notoriety were simply ill-advised, most of what Miley does these days borders on desperate.
What’s frustrating about the way Miley’s acting is that her music is better than it has ever been. When I listened to her premiere “We Can’t Stop” on “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” in early June, I could tell she had put some genuinely hard work into her new material. She may seem lost when it comes to her image, but there’s no denying the passion she has for the music she’s making.
“We Can’t Stop” brought a fresh sound to Top-40 radio and became a bona fide hit. “Wrecking Ball,” the second single off of the upcoming BANGERZ, is a soaring power ballad fit for the likes of Katy Perry. For the first time ever, Miley has a chance to become a pop star with actual hit records and — coming from someone that wasn’t exactly dragged to the Best of Both Worlds Tour back when she was Hannah Montana — it’s exciting. I just hope she doesn’t screw it up.
Miley 2.0 may be turning many people off with her endless twerking and lewd behavior on stage, but isn’t there something to be said for the fact that, unlike many Disney stars before her, the spotlight isn’t on her personal life? If she’s doing drugs or partying too much, there’s not much evidence of it in the tabloids. She hasn’t been to rehab or gotten a DUI. Nobody knows (or really cares) if her engagement to Liam Hemsworth is on or off. The attention lately has been on what she’s been doing professionally and that’s not a bad place for her to be.
The new Miley Cyrus isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, nor does she want to be. It’s her party and she can do what she wants to — we should all just be happy to get an invitation.