From Disney star to dancing half naked on stage, Miley Cyrus seems desperate to show us she's grown up - but at what cost, asks Anna Hunter
Come back Hannah Montana, all is forgiven.
I think it’s fair to say that Miley has “turned a corner” since her Disney days. While back then she was hardly shy and out of the spotlight, she courted publicity for all the right reasons. She had a great voice (still does actually but unfortunately it’s been eclipsed by… other things), wasn’t a bad actress and caused a playground furore owing to her popularity among the under 10s. Now these former fans are likely fairly flabbergasted by the Cyrus U-turn.
It’s nothing new that a former child star wishes to distance themselves from their wholesome, butter wouldn’t melt image, but Miley’s overtly sexual and crude displays of late are more telling of her vulnerability and desperation. She’s reducing her talent to twerking and titillation in order to ‘make history’ (Miley’s description of her recent VMA performance), but while she’s certainly garnering media attention, she somehow fails to see that it’s all been done before. It’s certainly not her fault that records still sell thanks to borderline pornographic videos and misogynistic lyrics, but buying into this reductive culture means that her attempts to appear adult and in control fall flat on the cutting room floor.
As well as her near-naked form, she’s taken to exposing her tongue at almost every available moment. Like a tongue tic, she has licked and lapped her way through many a performance and press shoot. Even Miley’s mates objected to her incessant mouthing off, as indicated by Kelly Osbourne’s Project Runway comments:
“I love her, and I have her back no matter what, but, as a friend, I’m going to tell her- “Put your f*****g tongue in your mouth! I love you, but just put your tongue in your mouth.”
Just when we came to thinking that said tongue could probably do with a clean, she admitted in a recent interview with French talk show Le Grand Journal that she has in fact taken heed of Osbourne’s advice:
“That’s getting a little old. I’m going to retire it and come up with something else.”
That a tongue is considered a marketable commodity says a lot about the current pop culture zeitgeist. That she has to come up with ‘something else’ concerns us even more. And the fact that she hasn’t actually done so is a bit tragic. You can see the tongue back in action, licking a sledgehammer, in the video for her new single “Wrecking Ball”. The video has of course smashed Vevo’s ‘most viewed’ records with 19m views in 24 hours. She’s beaten One Direction. She should be on top of the world. Instead she’s crying, pleasuring a hammer and swinging naked on a demolition device. The kids are asking why, and so are we.