I had a brush with my own mortality earlier this week, and one of the first thoughts I had whilst machines beeped ominously around me was “what if don’t live long enough to hear “Bangerz”?” Proof, if it were needed, that the planet now revolves around the burning star that is Miley Cyrus.
Miley, as you may have noticed, has taken a lot of flak in the last couple of weeks for her provocative and artless cavorting with Robin Thicke at the VMAs. Miley is a slut! Miley is porn! Miley is setting a bad example to young women everywhere!
Tosh. Miley is doing precisely what young pop stars are supposed to do, which is outrage everyone who is not a fan of that sort of thing. In my experience, people can be divided into roughly two camps: those who are likely to twerk in a flesh coloured bikini and those who are not. I doubt Miley’s performance will provoke a mass changing of camps, although it may lead to a rise in sales of oversized sponge fingers.
Personally – and I am biased because I believe “Party in the USA” is the greatest single moment in recorded music history – I thought Miley was ace. She is 20 and she fucks now, and sometimes a former child star needs to send that message very clearly so we let them move the hell on. Was it classy? No? Did I watch through my fingers? Yes. Will I download “Bangerz” on its release? You betcha.
Camille Paglia argues that Miley lacks the artist’s flair of someone like Madonna – that’s almost certainly true, but where was the art when Madonna was rimming a bloke in the pages of her “Sex” book, eh? It’s interesting that Miley wearing at least some form of garment provokes more outrage in 2013 than Madonna did parading about in the nuddy with oiled men on leashes in 1993. The difference is that Madonna trained us to expect shocks right from the get-go. It’s a lot harder for the former Hannah Montana. She’s had her face on so many lunchboxes it’s no wonder she wants to stick her ass on one for a change.
Madonna, I suspect, would be the first to defend Miley’s right to do whatever the hell she likes, and if that involves grinding into Robin Thicke while he’s dressed as a mint humbug then good for her. As the old saying goes: if it makes Taylor Swift’s jaw drop, do it.