I read about Miley Cyrus’ new song, “We Can’t Stop,” via various emotional blog posts and Tweets before actually listening to it. From what I read, I was expecting perhaps the 2013 version of Stravinsky’s riot-inducing “Rite of Spring.” ( Yeah, that orchestral staple was mind-bogglingly avant garde when it debuted almost exactly 100 years ago, in May 1913.) “Song of Summer or Sign of Trouble?” a Fox blog post asked. It went on to quote Twitter reactions ranging from “awful” to “obscene” to headache-inducing. The trouble really seems to come from the lyrics, which mention the drug “Molly,” doing lines in the bathroom, and getting generally inebriated.
Every time a former child star does anything besides child-star-like things — which would be what? playing with tinker toys? singing songs from the hit musical “Annie”? — everyone flips out and acts like they’ve never seen a child star grow up before. Miley is fine, you guys. Okay, I have no idea if she’s “fine,” since I don’t know her, but I can tell you as someone who has documented her share of transitions from child fame to adult fame that she’s right on track.
She’s 20, gorgeous, stylish, and massively wealthy. She’s talented and comes off as pretty level-headed in interviews. She has the coolest haircut on the planet right now. And yeah, she’s experimenting with substances and partying, because of, well, all of the above. The fact that she’s singing about it only makes her a little more rebellious, lyrically, than, say, Britney Spears at 20. Miley is experiencing the super-famous-person version of any standard privileged American kid’s life at 20. She’s having fun, making mistakes, and figuring stuff out. She’ll be fine.
Oh, and the actual song? Once you listen to it, you’ll most likely have the same reaction: It’s fine. It’s no “Call Me Maybe” as a summer song with nation-sweeping potential, it’s not terribly experimental, and it’s not terrible. I kinda like her recent collaborations with will.i.am and Snoop Lion, as we call him now, better.