Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I still think Miley Cyrus's 'We Can't Stop' is a sad song

It's the end of 2013. Well, it's close to the end, anyway. And naturally, this is the time when we all reflect on the past 12 months of our lives — where did it go wrong? where did it go right? what were the big events of the year? And I don't know why I woke up this morning thinking about this, but one of the biggest events of 2013 is Miley Cyrus. I know she's a person and not an event, but throughout the year it seemed that Miley Cyrus wasn't just a person, or a pop star, or a Disney actress going through a "transition." She was a spectacle, a topic to be discussed (also, disgust), a chance for talking heads to get on their soap box. As she said in her MTV "documentary:" This was a strategic hot mess. She even states that now no one can put her face on something and just sell it like they used to in the heyday of Hannah Montana. Miley traveled so far to the other side of the spectrum so that people would stop associating her with her Hannah Montana alter ego, so that they couldn't stop talking about her.

We can't stop stalking about her. We can't stop. Just like her summer anthem. When I first heard "We Can't Stop" right before summer was set to begin, I thought it sounded almost lifeless. I turned to my sister and said how it was slow and kind of depressing, without paying much attention to the lyrics. Now, I have no problem with a sad song, I just didn't think it would climb the charts with how melancholy it sounded. It took several repeated listenings, but eventually "We Can't Stop" was engrained into my brain in its pop predictability.

I have no arguments for this: "We Can't Stop" is a good, solid pop record. But it didn't sound like all other pop records I've heard. I'm sure if you despise pop music, it all sounds like the same dreck. In fact, people say that every day about "We Can't Stop." We've made an entire year of statements like that. Listening to "We Can't Stop," however, was different than listening to the other (number one, according to charts but not my personal iTunes history) summer anthem "Blurred Lines" or even "California Gurls" a couple of years ago. I don't think anyone listening was able to articulate it; we all thought it was different yet still catchy. Then the video came out, which looked like a hodgepodge of non sequitur eye candy. By the end of the summer, all I could think of was how disconnected its anthem status was to how I felt listening to Miley almost whine on the record. Apparently, I wasn't alone; a perhaps over-analytical Business Insider article mentioned the same (met with some perhaps deserved guffaws), as did Philly Mag, and other bloggers.