Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Controversy of Miley

Image source: Cagel Cartoons

The Guardian has been actively discussing this Miley Cyrus thing for a while now and...

Yeah ok, I'll weigh into the debate. Previously I hadn't wanted to, however...

All this controversy over Miley Cyrus twerking, or twonking or whatever the hell it's called, is all a bunch of hot air. And there's too bloody much of it (cue the irony).

It's almost as if society, collectively, is shocked by all this gyrating and sexual innuendo. But here's the thing: it's not like it's a new phenomenon. From the outset, rock and roll has thrived on the relationship (either real or imagined) between music and sex. It's in the music's DNA.

Don't believe me? You can't tell me "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" is a song about the act of making and serving drinks in a milk bar.

In her younger years, Miley was a star custom made for television. Now, at the age of 20, she's far from burnt out, but is desperate to shake off her past as a squeaky clean, Disney-branded pop-idol. I totally understand why should would want to do that. If you're a creative artist you don't want any future work defined by what you did previously or, in her case, the character she was previously.


Image source: Cagel Cartoons

It's not as though she was the first young star to wantonly break free from the powers that defined her career until now. The Monkees (if you can remember back that far), The Sweet, Tiffany, Christina Aguilera and many others have branched out and had many arguments with the powers that be and/or done outrageous things in order to express themselves as they see fit. It's pretty much the nature of the creative beast.

Eventually, most musicians want to try something different because that's where the muse takes them. Sometimes it can be great, and quite successful (compare the 1960s Status Quo with the post-1969 Quo), sometimes it can be atrocious (Metallica's "Load" anyone?)

Her behaviour is somewhat unbecoming, and probably not something everybody wants to see, granted. Is it out of character for someone her age and in her position? No way. She's not the first woman to get all nekkid as a way to get attention to sell product and to draw a line in the sand between their past and the present: Kylie Minogue, Nikki Webster, Tiffany, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and heaps more have all done it before her, and Miley won't be the last, either. Does that make it ok? Not really. But, would her latest record be sitting on top of the charts without this kind of (no pun intended) exposure? Personally, I doubt it.

Any publicity is good publicity. This twerking thing took place a few weeks ago. And look: we're still talking about it. The papers are still debating it. So, who wins out of this? Easy: Miley, and those who make money off her image and her music are the winners. Keep the name in the eye of the public because, as we all know, out of sight means out of mind.

It's sad, in my view, that it has come to this. It's always been said that "Sex sells", but it's depressing that the image is what sells the record, and not the music. The music should be doing the talking, not the associated controversy and all the other crap surrounding it. Have you noticed how the media are all in a fit about what Miley does in the video for her latest single, and not actually what the music sounds like?

And it seems to be only women who need to do that.

For some reason muso blokes don't need to get their gear off when they want to be controversial - not that I want them to any more than I want Miley to. But, men just seem to scream and swear a lot louder than before (see Eminem and Kanye West for example).

A lot of people seem to be worried about the impression our children are making of this. Well, where are their parents? The parents are the ones who should be guiding their kids, talking about these issues and explaining the right ways to behave and how to approach their self worth and image. When they see this kind of stuff, they cannot "un-see" it, so parental guidance is a must in this scenario.

Miley can do whatever the hell she wants, and probably will continue to. She doesn't give a crap what I think. Either way, none of this is going to make me want to buy her records...

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