Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sing a song of ironic innocence with Miley Cyrus

Some fuss and feathers were raised over the latest video by Miley Cyrus from her new album Can't Be Tamed,which is meant to launch a more mature direction for her musical career. The plot of the clip for "Who Owns my Heart" has Miley as a party girl going thru the typical night owl routine of waking up,preparing to party,then hitting the dance floor and starting all over again.

It's really not as shocking as it seems,folks. While some may be startled to see Hannah Montana wearing short shorts,most of her outfits and antics are comparatively mild,when put up against the likes of Kei$ha or Katie Perry. Miley does have a decent singing voice but this style of song doesn't suit her very well. You have to give her credit for spreading her artistic wings,so to speak,yet the real shocker is how much the older folks are so upset about this:

Don't get me wrong,I am not in favor of rushing young women into those unsteady waters of adult sexuality,particularly in pop culture. However,it's hard to ignore the double edged irony that wants to push and pull these female entertainers into being people pleasers for more than one audience.

This is a struggle that only girls seem to go though,even in these "enlightened" times-nobody raises an eyebrow about the massive swooning over Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers(by some gals way too old for them,I might add) but heaven forbid that Miley or Taylor Swift should get a little sassy in their wardrobe choices there.

Enough of the ranting;let's look at a few songs that feature the whole "good girl/bad girl" dilemma and see what side of the innocence vs. experience coin they truly wind up on.

First up is "Little Lamb" from Gypsy,a sweet tune sung by Louise as she sadly playacts with her toys. It's a mournful tribute to her childhood,which was mostly spent being dragged around by her mother and sister from one theater to another in order to become a star. Louise does achieve fame and fortune as renowned burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee,at the cost of whatever innocence she had left in her:

Next up is a moment from Gigi,where our leading lady asks the fates to "Say A Prayer For Me" as she gets ready to present herself to her beloved Gaston as a sophisticated woman of the world rather than the sweet and sassy little miss he has always known and adored.

The transformation is quite the turnabout,to say the least,and while Gigi does play her new part to perfection,it's her natural charms that ultimately win Gaston's heart and inspire him to take Gigi as his respectable wife. It's rather an interesting sideways view of the story,to see it as a parable against deliberate calculations in affairs of the heart:

One of the best known characters in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma is Ado Annie,the local gal who "Cain't Say No" to any man looking for some sweet smoothing behind the barn.

Gloria Grahame played her in the movie version(she always seemed to be cast as the babe in most of her films)and while her singing may not be as sweet as Shirley Jones' was,she does bring a sweet naivete to her rendition.

Ado Annie does eventually make a commitment to just one man and while her future mate will probably suffer from bouts of jealousy for the rest of their relationship,at least it'll be less stressful that the one embarked on by the more virtuous leading lady of the piece:

Last but not at all least, Rizzo,the brassy leader of the Pink Ladies in Grease takes center stage to mock the preferred pop culture image of nice girls in the fifties with "Sandra Dee." Under that tough as her leather jacket exterior is a more sensitive soul who has her own set of social morals that she keeps true to:

So while Miley's first awkward steps into music video sirenhood may be alarming,they are perhaps inevitable and hopefully will not plateau any potential she does have for a long term career. Even little Disney divas have the right to grow up and blossom into full fledged women in their own right. Let her have the chance to do so without being hassled unnecessarily for stepping out of one box into another:

No comments: