I refer, of course, to the new Miley Cyrus song that is being released to sg. I caught on the local top 40 station on the way home from work the other day. And the short answer is that there’s nothing about the song to shake my initial reaction that it will go exactly nowhere on gospel radio (but then again, this assumes there was a point to releasing it to sg radio other than nestfeathering on the radio promoter’s part).
Lyrically it’s one of those sentimental-struggler songs so common among winsome young female pop stars, and Josh Groban. The singer is facing some indistinct but momentous challenge – growing up, setting off, launching forth, whatever – and doesn’t know if how she’s gonna be able to do it, but with perseverance, faith, hard work, believing, and commitment, she’ll get to the top of the mountain, soar like a bird, sail the high seas, or reach the stars.
But there’s struggling, and then there’s struggling. Kelly Clarkson proved how to break through by singing about breaking free in “Break Away.” Say what you will about pop music, that song really is lyrically brilliant when you think about it as a piece of meta-commentary on her attempt to break free from her AI image as the popular girls’ best friend in high school. Plus it’s a solid piece of pop music composition to boot.
Cyrus is obviously trying to accomplish something similar. But in addition to the problem that she can’t seem to decide if she wants to sex up her post-Hannah image with “accidentally” leaked soft-porn pics of herself, or capitalize on her tweeniness and become a wholesome teen role model, “The Climb” is a pretty ineffective vehicle for much more than a middle-school talent contest. It’s not so much bad as just forgettable. Thus the chorus:
There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I’m gonna to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb. Yeah!
Insert your own swelling strings and vertiginous intervals. “Yeah!”
I guess someone might mistake the vague striving imagery for metaphors about Christian living (if those people aren’t off listening to CCM), but I doubt it will spark a run on religion.
Email this Post I’ve actually found Cyrus’s voice
I’ve actually found Cyrus’s voicerather appealing on several of her radio cuts. But all I could think about listening to “The Climb” was how emotionally unconvincing it is to hear a 15-year-old sing about not caring how fast she gets where she’s going so long as she savors each moment of life to its fullest. Who knows if she means any of it, or has any clue what it means. Maybe in addition to being able to sing a lot and act a little, she’s existentially prescient (or maybe not … if I was her age and a worldwide star, I’d probably sing the menu from the local Chinese takeout place if that’s what I thought would keep the ride going). But in any case, hearing Cyrus sing “The Climb” creates the same effect as when grade-school children recite the Gettysburg Address con mucho gusto. Yeah!