by Matt Meade
I have good news for Bobby Gillespie. The Primal Scream frontman is the latest aging rock and roller in a long line of aging rock and rollers to declare that rock is dead. Speaking with BBC Arts & Culture he said, “Where’s the anger and rage and confrontation in pop music? It’s not there.”
He may not be able to find it, but I have. He claims that pop music is too conservative, so I have turned to the mainstream rock press (the most conservative group out there) to find out who they are afraid of. Who keeps them up at night? Who do they want to keep their children from? It’s not Odd Future and it’s not Pussy Riot. The most confrontational rock and roller making music today, happens to be Miley Cyrus.
Just ask Ann Powers of NPR, who recently griped that the latest Disney film, Frozen, is filling a void left by Miley Cyrus. Powers claims that the children who are begging their parents to take them to see this film and who are listening to “Let it Go,” the film’s hit single, “are girls that have been heartbroken by Miley Cyrus and her transformation. They need these kind of pure emotional songs.”
Let’s not even deal with the fact that Hannah Montana has been off the air for three years now and the young girls who asked for Miley Cyrus CDs in their Christmas stocking are picking their majors right now, while Frozen is being marketed to kindergarteners.
Let’s not even get into the irony of a song about “becoming yourself,” being used as a weapon against Miley Cyrus as she emerges from childhood into the sexuality of young womanhood, or with how silly is the claim that she broke the hearts of a generation of kids.
Let’s not ask why her overtly sexual transformation been read as bad or wrong, or heartbreaking. Let’s not ask when “pure emotion” and sexuality became mutually exclusive. I sort of already know the answers to these questions which is that it is easier to shame Miley Cyrus for acting “overly sexual or sexy,” than to actually critique her music.
The real question has to do with whether or not Cyrus’ vagina (great name for a punk band by the way) is more disgusting than the way Disney creeps its way into kids’ minds, and onto their underwear (literally) and into their stomachs through happy meals and toothpaste displaying cross-eyed snowmen. The real question is why Ann Powers and NPR aren’t writing more about whether or not Miley’s appropriation of black culture is at all gross, or terrible, the way Wilbert Cooper of Vice is.
I am not sure if Miley’s sexuality is breaking the hearts of a generation of kids, or if her twerking is racist, but I do have good news for Bobby Gillespie. Right now, in addition to being compared to some of the biggest selling acts in recent memory, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Madonna, Miley Cyrus is also being compared to some of the most confrontational and transitional music in history, like Elvis, and Eminem.
I can’t wait until she actually writes a good song.