The V staff gathered around a computer to watch Miley’s “We Can’t Stop,” premiere like it was Christmas morning today. We’ve obviously been anticipating the launch of Miley’s new album/image/lifestyle for a while now (see our current issue), and were still majorly impressed with the results, as seen here.
All teens go through a rebellious phase, and child-stars may have it the worst, with hardly a compass to turn from. And maybe out of the bird-flipping paparazzi-followed kids who have so much fun being bad, those with famous parents have the most to worry about, since they have the weakest connection to the average experience of their not-so-famous audience. And out of everyone, famous or not, few teens and twenty-somethings have the nerve and awareness to comment of the nature of their own rebellious phase with conviction.
In the past couple years, former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus has been recorded allegedly smoking salvia and wearing clothing depicting marijuana… In her words, "I did a song with Snoop Dogg called 'Ashtrays and Heartbreaks,' so people can put it together for themselves” (Rolling Stone). Everyone experiments with sex, drugs, music, and other associations, making friends with the ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ crowds, getting positive or negative attention—both styles of which are still, in the end, what every growing girl wants: attention. Not everyone, though, reaches 12 million followers on Twitter by the time they are twenty years old. When every move you make makes major waves, you better take small steps, some would say.
But to Miley, growing up means growing out of a role that was so much an exaggeration of the pre-teen experience it became an iconic portrayal of it—Hannah Montana was her social-media-obsessed generation’s ultimate dilemma: she had to hide her true self from her real-life friends, since she was actually a fabulous superstar. Now the real Miley Cyrus, who is a star more famous than any version of Hannah, is giving us and all her fans the ultimate teen dilemma: she has to defend her habits because the adult world just won’t let her continue to have them.
In this video, Cyrus and all of her friends party like they can’t stop; they do bad things just because they can, in someone’s parents’ basement. She boils down all the classic no-parents-no-rules behaviors and editorializes them in a medley of exaggerated attitude, much in the same way her younger self would have created a montage of pre-teen drama for Disney. In some ways, she hasn’t strayed from her former ideals at all, and is making the smartest, boldest move anyone her position can make: growing with her fanbase, and solidifying that connection she has, amazingly, with a huge portion of the not-so-famous public. In her words again, "Remember only God can judge us / Forget the haters cause somebody loves ya" ("We Can't Stop")
Read "The Emancipation of Miley," an interview with Pharrell William from V83