Since apparently a few milliseconds after it ended, Miley Cyrus’ eight-seconds-past-live performance on MTV’s VMAs last night has set the Internet ablaze with news coverage — from legitimate news sites and a veritable social media contagion, largely comprised of hate spew, outrage and general disgust that has spilled well into this morning and is expected to last all day. In fact, some experts project Twitter gripes won’t plateau until well into the week. If that weren’t enough, a cavalcade of celebrities has come forward with their own horrific reactions, preempting their own pop-star brands from being contaminated by proxy.
As you well know, much like our pride and joy (and frequent inspiration of face-palming, “WTF?” head-scratching and accusations of trying just harder than what is socially acceptable), sleazy glitter-pop sensation and reality-TV star Ke$ha, Cyrus is a Nashville native and by the Cream’s wavering standards, perfectly acceptable blog fodder.
If K$ was a cautionary tale of what happens when we send a Tennessee temptress to the Hollywood Hills, Miley Cyrus is simply a statistic.
Cyrus already had my heart in vice grips four years ago with the harmless-but-flawless Dr. Luke-produced pop nugget “Party in the USA.” Just a few short months ago, the former child star did that thing that all former child stars do by flaunting her ripped, grown-ass body for the world to see — in this case with a Mike Will-helmed (Juicy J, 2 Chainz) “We Can’t Stop,” an infectiously woozy summer jam to rival all summer jams. Its scintillating, surreal, and eyeball-tickling music video was met a great deal of shock and awe itself, and was also nominated for three separate Moon Men this year, and of course, in keeping with the preface of this column, she played the song live a little over 12 hours ago.
If you haven’t seen it, you’ve read a mention. You may have even seen an animated GIF. If you’re not up to speed, watch it above. Feel free to become enraged. Seems like a pretty cozy bandwagon with plenty of seats. Granted, there are some bumps in the road:
Remember that time Madonna suctioned the nation’s panties into a collective bunch by simply rolling around onstage whilst performing then-provocative mega-hit “Like a Virgin”? Miley Cyrus just turned you into your parents. Seriously, is that all it took to turn Facebook into a 35-year-old mother of three clutching her pearls in horror at this great nation’s plummeting morality? Yes, Madge’s stunt is rather mild (and incredibly low-rent by comparison) considering Miley practically (literally?) gave fellow second-gen celebrity Robin Thicke a lap dance in her underwear during a song so bad I admittedly could not sit through it. It’s not Miley’s fault the bar for shock value has spiked so high. I’m not sure whose fault that song is. Let’s chalk it up to pop music’s infamously infinite faux pas track record.
Good, bad, loved or hated, this isn’t Janet Jackson’s boob, nor is it Budd Dwyer’s real-time television suicide. This is a healthy, happy and gifted 21-year-old having a blast onstage. I don’t think I’ve seen a band get this jiggy with it since Kris Noveselic cracked his skull with his own bass when Nirvana played “Lithium” in 1992 — a stunt wherein Kurt Cobain started the set with the opening bars of In Utero’s “Rape Me,” the song he originally asked to play and was specifically forbidden to. Granted, I probably haven’t watched the VMAs since 1992 (the year Cyrus was born, as it so happens), so my research is shoddy at best.
Miley Cyrus is the future of pop music. You’ll enjoy it more if you stop struggling to keep it in your pants. Let loose, America. It’s called youth culture, and youth culture is serving its purpose. Pop a molly or two and call me in the morning.