Critics sound-off: Is Miley turning into just another sex-marketed teen pop tart?

and 10.01.09 8 years ago

Miley Cyrus has been slowly making her way into the mainstream, and not just mainstream pre-teen programming like with “Hannah Montana.”

Her newest single “Party in the U.S.A.” is one of the most largely downloaded songs this season, and has been showing up on top 40 stations around the country. The music video for the track was released last week.

Watch it here.

HitFix music critics Melinda Newman and Katie Hasty jumped on instant messenger recently to watch the clip together, and determine just exactly what is going on with the evolution of Miley Cyrus.

Coke, Wiz Khalifa and Dick Cheney

Katie: Doesn’t this immediately remind you of a Coke commercial?
Katie: Like, there should be roller skates and a cute boy with an afro?
Melinda: No, it reminds me of a Dukes of Hazard episode.
Katie: Haha. Buckle up!
Katie: So is everybody in L.A. famous?
Melinda: Yes, everyone in L.A. is famous… or wants to be.
Melinda: “Moving my hips, like yeah…” I will defend stupid lyrics until my death, but please. I move my hips like “boom, boom pow,” not like “yeah.”
Katie: Her face is like, “Yeah.”
Katie: not to be confused with Wiz Khalifa’s “Say Yeah.”
Melinda: There is no one in the world who is going to confuse it with Wiz Khalifa… who?
Melinda: Okay, now she’s standing in front of a big flag, just to reinforce that this is a Party in the U.S.A., she’s not “Back in the USSR.” And she’s ripping off Springsteen, not that any of her fans will know that.
Katie: But it’s a party in L.A., I thought?
Katie: The flag is supposed to be parents’ security blanket. Miley is pro-Homeland Security.
I thought I saw Dick Cheney in the background!
Katie: I just put my hand over my heart and was, like, “Yeah.”
Melinda: She’s indoctrinated you into her cult.

Looks can kill, excite

Melinda: How do you feel about her outfit?
Katie: Gonna be honest: a li’l, um, “yeah.”
Katie: Cowboy boots with Daisy Dukes. Been done, and by a woman who’s almost twice her age.
Katie: but then again, this is far from the first time the music industry has been trying to market underage sex
Katie: Or has tolerated underage sex (too soon?)
Melinda: I asked a friend of mine who has a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old (both girls) what she thought. She thought the video was fine, other than the cages, but wishes the shorts had been a little less short…
Melinda: The obvious knee jerk reaction to complaining about her outfit is that there are girls her age wearing much less at the beach every day…
Katie: Her weave is UNBELIEVABLE, though. Hottest part of her.
Melinda: Yes, her hair in this is AWESOME!!!!
Katie: The shorts: I’ve seen worse. I think we’ll see less and less clothes on Miley as she becomes more mainstream. More Britney, more Jay-Z, as it were.
Katie: This is her crossover.
Melinda: Well,I think “The Climb” was her crossover, but this continues it. The question is, despite the fact that she’s still shooting another year of “Hannah Montana,” is she officially declaring herself emancipated as a creation of the Mouse House.. ie: Disney
Katie: So is the mic stand the new stripper pole?
Katie: …or was the mic stand the ORIGINAL stripper pole?
The whole thing makes me a little queasy because, let’s just put the cards on the table, there are going to be 45-55-year old men getting off to Miley writhing around and that just makes me nauseated.
Katie: I’m prolly not alone in thinking of the oversized swing is like a burlesque club swing, the jungle gym like a cage.
Katie: This is more explicit than what she’s done before.

Countdown? More like letdown

Melinda: I agree that we’ll see more of Miley and less clothing as she becomes more mainstream and edges closer to 18 (cue Stevie Nicks’ “The Edge of 17”)
Katie: Ha. There’s a Miley “legal” countdown clock somewhere on the internet I’m sure
Katie: But there’s so many kid elements meeting adult elements in the video
Katie: There’s a lot of elements, period: parking lot party, unfurling flags, break dancers, dance breakdown, jungle gyms
Melinda: Oh, it’s a complete stripper set, they just intentionally left out the pole because she’s already done that and she caught flack. I don’t think it’s bad at all, but I’m watching the videos that follow this one on ABC Lounge (nice Disney synergy there… she may not be Disney Channel anymore, but ABC/Disney still owns her firm, taut ass). It’s “She-Wolf” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”– they’re wearing much less than Miley. I guess part of this is also just my general frustration that to be a female pop singer in America means you have to be a complete pin-up. Not new, of course, just more obvious than ever. You better look like you’ve just come from a porn movie set or are headed there.
Melinda: The only one who bucks the trend is Pink and she still shows a ton of skin…
Katie: Yeah. That’s a hard cycle to break (from 16 and singing about parties in the USA to being a crawling, snarling she-wolf in a cage).

Girls will be girls

Katie: I like that this Miley video presents a girl with good girl friends.
Katie: They look like they’re having fun instead of trying to compete.
Melinda: Oh, they’d impale one of their own on one of those cages if a guy came into the picture

Katie: It’s a fun loving song that’s in my head, regardless of some really lazy lyrics
Katie: but this video is putting her on the fast track.
Melinda: I remember the A&R guy who signed Britney said when he first saw her picture, he thought “Here’s a girl who looked like she was ready to be defiled.”  That’s clearly the look that Miley is going for. A “Good Girl Gone Bad”…
Katie: It’s not catholic school skirts, granted
Melinda: You would really listen to this on your own volition?  I’m so much more the pop girl than you and this song drives me crazy with it’s lazy Jay-Z and Britney name dropping…
Katie: Oh, those of certainly stupid and pandering, yes.
Katie: The melody is catchy.

45, 6: What’s the difference?

Melinda: If you had a 6-year-old daughter, how would you feel about her watching it?
Katie: Man, I don’t like me watching it. It’s like going to a car show of cars about to be destroyed by monster trucks.
Melinda: LOL!
Katie: It bums me out in concept
Katie: In delivery, it’s stimulus overload.
Melinda: I guess it’s a different kind of stimulus package
Katie: Tehe. For 45-year-olds.

Getting down

Katie: Now I’m getting depressed thinking about Miley Cyrus. “Party In The U.S.A.” is supposed to make me feel good. 
My final thought on this is I think it’s fine. I don’t think it’s inappropriate at all, I just wish it was a little more playful and less sensual… only because of the skeevy guys out there and because every 12-year-old is going to feel like a failure if she doesn’t look as cute in short shorts and cowboy boots… not that I can blame that on Miley! See, i’m depressed now too. Thanks Miley…

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