If you are not a fan of Miley Cyrus, then this video will be everything you love to hate. If you are a fan, then this video will be everything you love, period. It’s as if they took every preconceived notion of the Miley Cyrus experience and compiled it into three and a half minutes. It could be that this video was made without any thought to the depth of the meaning behind the imagery, but I highly doubt it. This video is pure genius.
The reason I say that this video is genius is because if you love or hate it, you want to watch it, and probably more than once. Its as if Cyrus is playing a parody of herself. She is dressed as a sexed up cowgirl, albeit a 16-year-old one, that directly plays to the idea that sex sells. Now I personally have a bit of a problem with marketing a girl of this age as a sex symbol, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t effective. Another strange aspect of this video is the setting. It’s a run down drive-in that looks like its set in the Midwest, but is supposed to convey southern United States imagery. It imparts a glorified white trash appeal with the notable absence of unattractive people. And every car is a dusty muscle car. This setting almost seems to scream buy America first. What makes this blatant use of Americana even more overwhelming is the giant American flag that unfurls over the drive-ins screen. Cyrus sings while confetti rains down. It’s a ticker tape parade,generally reserved for national heroes or important national events like the end of a war, taking place for Miley Cyrus at a drive in. Has Cyrus become a national treasure worthy of such an honor?
Throughout the video Cyrus is the center of attention. The lyrics of this song chronicle her journey from her Nashville home to Los Angeles. While the video loosely relates to the lyrics, it definitely does not follow them closely. Even the lyrics themselves are a bit suspect. In the song Cyrus sings about going to a club, although clearly she is not old enough. Drinking age in the US is 21. Also a part of the chorus that goes, “Noddin’ my head like yeah / Movin, my hips like yeah” may seem vapid, but actually seems to be a clever disguise for sex. These lyrics also translate very well into the actual music video, since body language is then able to clarify the connotation of the words. Yeah is the new work for sex.
This video seems to send the message that Miley Cyrus is America. I think you would be hard pressed to find something in this video that doesn’t echo that. Even in the final scenes of the video, Cyrus is singing in front of a giant electronic American flag that has stripes that change color. All of these things combine to produce a video that is both ridiculous, and powerful, and genius. It is hard not to watch Miley Cyrus. There is something in it for everyone. It reflects exactly what some people love to hate, while at the same time giving genuine fans everything they could want. It finds a place for nostalgia and sexiness that could keep most people interested. Through all of these methods of delivery this music video achieves everything a music video could. It makes those who love Cyrus, love her more. It makes those people who love to hate her…love her for that. It also does one thing that overshadows both of those things: it makes people talk.
Since the video release on September 23rd,2009 there have been over 24 million views on Youtube. The fact that I am currently even writing this, is a testament to the brilliance of this video. All in all, this video does exactly what a music video should, and more. It sells Cyrus and her song to us, and it does it in a way that goes beyond the traditional music video. It creates an interest among a diverse group of people, spurs conversation, and after all of that fake dust settles, it will make Cyrus a lot of money.