There has been a slight lull in my writing over the last few weeks unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, but I have been trying to keep my finger on the musical pulse as best I can.
One re-occurring topic keeps popping up. It was triggered by the Video Music Awards, in typical MTV fashion, where they left the viewing public agog; mothers of teenage girls everywhere in panic that their daughters were going to become teddy-hugging, pixie-haired, booty-grinding embarrassments as they watched Miley Cyrus twerk her way through, what can only be described as an awkward encounter with a man, the name escapes me, who was dressed as...Beetlejuice?
Anyhoo, as much as I bang on about being a liberal mother to my 11-year-old daughter, I unashamedly hold my hands up to the instances that trigger my ‘inner mother’, the one that bares striking resemblances to my grandmother, the one that involves hands on hips, frowning, huffing and eye-rolling as you sharply turn your head away from the TV in disgust muttering “I bet Billy Ray is MORTIFIED” under your breath.
And this was one of those times.
Now, Hannah Montana was a big deal in our house some years back, it filled the Sky+ box, she adorned walls, she was a staple on birthday and Christmas lists, but just like Miley Cyrus, my daughter aged.
So I then found myself revisiting the video on YouTube and I remember saying to a friend, ‘I cant decide if I think she’s a bit of an idiot or actually really, really cool?’
Take Hannah Montana away and she’s what, 20-years-old? When I was 20, I saw sights a lot worse than a woman in hot pants hugging a teddy bear!
She’s already got enough money in the bank to buy a small bunch of islands, she’s just doing what Lady Gaga did with the meat dress, and what Madonna and Britney did with the snog, surely?
But unlike the latter, Miley has the stigma of Hannah Montana around her neck like the proverbial albatross which has caused people to deem her vile and an embarrassment.
Sinead O’Connor has come out in a war of words on Twitter claiming she is a poor example to females. As far as I can remember, Lady Gaga’s stunt didn’t prompt a hike in pork sales as Little Monsters all over the world tried to emulate their idol in a chop frock, and I’m pretty sure Madonna and Britney’s little stunt didn’t lead to hoards of females swapping sexualities just because they had a cheeky kiss.
So what is the harm, really?
It irks me slightly that artists like Taylor Swift get labelled a teen icon just because she dresses like a waitress. Whereas, if you’re going to split hairs, her list of male conquests goes on and on, and Miley has been engaged to the same fella for years (as an example).
I have digressed slightly from the topic that I wished to address which was the fact that Miley Cyrus has had an album out this week and it hasn’t gained anywhere near the column inches that her teddy bear twerking did, and as of yet I haven’t seen one review, whereas her twerk was viral within minutes.
Which brings me to the question: since when did people’s style dominate over what they are actually doing? As a music writer I would be more focussed on the fact that she has put out an absolute shocker of an album. Not my bag by any stretch of the imagination, but with tracks like Wrecking Ball you cant deny she can write to an extent and sing if that’s what you like in a record, but any glimmers of talent are outnumbered by bad tracks on this album.
But this is another column altogether. I just find it quite astonishing that what she wears, or doesn’t wear, actually gets written about more than what she has worked for years to produce. It does reach a point where you wonder if it was all worth it (the twerking I mean) or, has it even been detrimental?
Another example is the Arctic Monkeys. For every article I’ve read on new album AM, I’ve read another on Alex’s hair, or some lame Elvis comparison, or the fact that they’re dressed as Teddy Boys. Let us not forget that several years have passed since the band exploded, they were kids, and they are now men.
To hear a band berated because people don’t appreciate how they dress or because they think Elvis did it better, it’s just ignorant, and somewhat annoying.
Let’s strip it back to what the issue here really is and that’s that they’ve released an album. Love it or hate it, that’s what they’ve done. Style and looks is all part of the marketing machine, granted, but it has no bearing on whether or not a band can sing, write or perform.
And the same goes for Miley, I wont be buying her album, I’ve made the informed decision by taking the time to listen to her stuff, that I think her music is just a bit of pap, nothing to do with her hair or her clothes or the fact that she had a rather awkward cuddle with Beetlejuice!
Story by the Mail’s online music writer Annie Lees (pictured, inset), of Fleckney.
Follow Annie on Twitter, @Annie_beth.