Make us your home page
Instagram

'We Can't Stop' listening to Miley Cyrus' new song

This isn't the coolest stance for a critic to boast, but I gave up on being slick decades ago, so have at it: I like Miley Cyrus.

I like that wavering, unabashed tone in her overeager voice. I like how she once did an earnest cover of Bob Dylan's You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. I like how, for better or hide-your-eyes-kiddies, the former Disney star is growing up, and screwing up, and endlessly breaking up (poor ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth) in the spotlight.

Yes, Miley is good at being bad: smoking weed, posing with a phallic B-day cake, twerking on YouTube, recording the smutty cut Decisions with Israeli DJ Borgore. But she's also savvy at making music; Party in the U.S.A. is a REALLY GOOD SONG, and you know it!

Both sides of Miley are on display in new track We Can't Stop, released Monday and already No. 2 on the iTunes singles charts. Produced by Atlanta knob-twiddler Mike WiLL Made It (yes, that's his whole name), the grindy cut, co-written by Cyrus, is pretty much the 20-year-old in a nutshell: sly musical instincts vs. dumb lifestyle choices. I like the song as a critic; as a parent, it makes me cringe.

First the good-girl news. We Can't Stop is swirly and technotic, a distorted hype man introduces her with swagger; a sweet keyboard line undercuts the hedonism. Musically, it's catchy and smart. I love how Miley prefers a midtempo zone, resisting the urge to go upbeat and obvious.

Plus her vocal — she's an all-out singer who retains a hint of Tennessee holler — makes sure things never get too synthetic. In a way, Cyrus, a la Party in the U.S.A., is still that Nashville gal navigating the Hollywood Hills. Cyrus believes in her music, in her talent, which is one of the reasons the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana retained a ton of her fans from her Mouse House days; it's also why she's adding new ones.

Okay, now for the bad news.

Twenty-year-olds long to provoke, see how much they can get away with. Especially ones who have no desire to be a role model and just want to be themselves. Thus, in We Can't Stop, Miley sings about strip clubs, big booties, red cups and kissing whomever she wants. There might even be a blurred reference to "Molly," the street name for ecstasy. Sigh. Whatever. Boring, but no real scandal there.

What truly bothers me, however, is this verse: "Everyone in line in the bathroom / Trying to get a line in the bathroom / We all so turned up here / Getting turned up yeah, yeah, yeah."

Snorting drugs? No.

That's not good for all sorts of reason, one of which is that I don't want Miley Cyrus to die.

I think she'll regret that "line" someday. She'll no doubt chalk it up to being young, to wanting to be an adult, to wanting to shed any lasting remnants of Disney princess sparkle. It's a dumb, lazy line that mars an otherwise smart, infectious song.

Cyrus is getting ripped pretty hard for We Can't Stop, by old and young alike. She's forever a target, and the drug lyrics aren't helping. But the truth is that she's not Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes or Kim Kardashian. She's not a train wreck; she's not a creep like Justin Bieber, either.

Yes, she's a hard-partying, barely dressed paparazzi magnet, but she's also a vital artist. So we take the good with the bad. As far as I'm concerned, Miley Cyrus is worth the trouble.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

'We Can't Stop' listening to Miley Cyrus' new song 06/05/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando Events for June 30-July 6

    Events

    30 Friday

    Free Zika training: Presented by the Hernando Computer Club, the training is for those who wish to assist in the effort to find a cure for the Zika virus. Club members are volunteers for World Community Grid and are donating their devices' spare computing power to help scientists find a …

  2. Boy Scouts to head up Temple Terrace's 4th of July parade

    Events

    TEMPLE TERRACE — Volunteering is a major priority in scouting and prepping teens to become leaders is the primary purpose of the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout program.

  3. Lutz lends old-fashioned feel to 4th of July events

    Events

    LUTZ — Attendees of the Lutz 4th of July celebration will take a step back in time with a parade, games, races, music and the election of the Guv'na of Lutz.

  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 28

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T-Rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    This artwork called "Swimmer" by artist Nathan Sawaya is part of The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free.
  5. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records