And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #172: The World v Miley Cyrus

By | Published on Friday 30 August 2013

Miley Cyrus

There have been approximately 72,868 articles written about Miley Cyrus’s performance at last weekend’s MTV Video Music Awards over the course of this week. 87% of them negative towards the former teen star. And so, while you might be thinking that the world really doesn’t need another person manufacturing outrage about all this to a deadline for money, I think you’ll find it difficult to find another ‘beef’ that could be described as being ‘of the week’. Well, in music anyway, and that’s my brief.

Ahead of the ceremony, last week Cyrus told MTV News that she was planning something that would be “even crazier than [Madonna and Britney’s] kiss” back at the 2003 VMAs for this year’s show. Which, if nothing else, is a reminder that the Video Music Awards do tend to be more a parade of really weird, pretty much inexplicable attempts to shock than a celebration of the art of video making.

But a) they give the awards to the artists, rather than the people who made the videos, and b) it’s on MTV, and c) look, just read those two things back again and ask yourself why you ever thought this event was about music videos.

Cyrus is currently on a promotional offensive to relaunch herself as an artist detached from the shiny Disney-affiliated child star version of herself we’ve known for so long. Possibly quite shrewdly, she’s acting out some of the core traits of one of those ever-popular former-child-star-style-breakdowns, while not actually having one. On the one hand, she looks a bit silly doing it. But on the other, the first single from her new album went to number one.

As part of this, Miley has been trying to make ‘twerking’ her ‘thing’ for a while now. She’s even recorded a song all about it with Justin Bieber. Why she’s doing this is anybody’s guess. I imagine she’d say, “I’m just that girl who twerks, it’s what I do”. Thing is, it’s not as easy as it looks, and she’s not very good at it, though somehow she kind of has made it her thing anyway.

All it took to do this was two seconds of pushing her arse up against Robin Thicke’s unfeasibly tight trousers and waggling her tongue. Plus those 72,868 (now 72,869) articles about it. Those were partly assured by ensuring that, while doing the arse pushing and tongue waggling, Thicke sang (offensively out of key) about trying to get a woman who’s really not keen on the idea to have sex with him. Oh, those ‘blurred lines’.

That whole tongue thing was a bit weird, though. To some people it made the overt sexual tones of the performance even more so. To others, it just looked really fucking weird. But those people are just old and don’t understand.

The Creative Director of the performance, Diane Martel (who is in her 40s, it’s probably worth noting), explained to MTV News: “For the geriatric crew, the tongue out is not sexual. It’s selfie code. It’s mocking ‘pretty’. It’s not for your gaze. It’s for a young audience’s gaze. There seems to be an enormous generation gap”.

Oh, you guys. It’s all about selfies. And so what if she’s always doing it in photos taken by other people? It’s like in the video for ‘Blurred Lines’, where everyone thought having naked women dancing around fully clothed smug-looking men was in some way misogynistic, but then the director explained that it wasn’t and we all looked rather silly. The director of that video was Diane Martel, incidentally.

She continued: “I am shocked by their shock. I think there is other news we should be focusing on… Syria? Egypt? Not a 20 year old girl wilding out in a campy rendition of her number one song and Robin’s number one song”.

Yes, apologies to everyone disappointed that I didn’t use this column to make light of the situation in the Middle East. I blame the brief.