Good Golly Miss Miley: Miley Cyrus and Rock and Roll and Art

Good Golly Miss Miley

Miley Cyrus Sex Machine

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

By Kurt von Behrmann

 

Miley Cyrus

Is it Miley or is it Hannah Montana growed up?

 

Every since Rock and Roll ignited, sex was omnipresent.  From the flamboyant gender bending expressiveness of Little Richard to the “Pelvis of Elvis,” sexuality was the propelling force.  What had been the deep dark secret, teen age sexuality, found spokesmen, and spokeswoman who were ready to abandon convention and find release, and to some degree sanctuary, by coming up with music that gave a voice to the voiceless.  Whatever you want to make of it, the early cries of rock and roll were rebels with clues and a pretty good idea of what they wanted, and what they did not.

The screams, the inescapable beat, rock and roll was freedom and it found in music lyrics that expressed something deep felt.

Move ahead and the sex is with us.  What is not with us is the sincerity that made the music compelling.

Miley Cyrus and her much talked about performance at the V.M.A.s joins a long line of shock for impact sexuality that is mean to be daring, cutting edge, risky and all those great things about rebels that everyone loves and embraces. What is often missing from the embrace of the rebellious spirit is that it can be unpopular.    To be unpopular is a cardinal sin in the sex sweepstakes that is now the currency of contemporary music.

When America’s much loved teen, Hannah Montana grew up and became Milley Cyrus, the jolt was surprising.  Then again, scant talent has to do what it must to be popular.   Her roots as a childhood idol are blasted to bits.  The new Miley is grown up and ready to screw.  Not make love, but screw.

What makes stunts memorable is that they are linked to something.  Whatever you may say about some music, the most memorable had more to say than sex is fun.  There was a revolutionary feel to free love that hinted at something better. Even if 60’s ideals failed to outlive the early 70’s, at least it was sincere. Misguided and jejune, but fueled by earnest attempts to make life better not worst.

One reason given for the sex pot sexuality of is that is so new so hot.  Well sex sells, so that is nothing new.  What is new is that sex has become  harsher, scarier and less a place for pleasure than a s show down.  The truly erotic are gone.  They have been replaced by a power force sexuality that takes on a life of its own.  Minus any emotion or genuine feeling, the new sexuality exists to exist. It means no more than what it is.

It is the harsh, almost assault that sexuality has become that makes songs like “will you still love me tomorrow” seem old fashioned.  Today it is all about the flesh.  It is more like “what will you do for me” is the new mantra of sex.

What makes sex sell in music so tragic now is that it seems so unemotional. It is not about connecting it is about power sex meant to do little more than scream to be heard.

I suppose what makes Miley Cyrus “ sexcapades “ so insincere is that it is all programmed.  It was a calculated move to keep lips wagging.  On that level, Cyrus succeeded brilliantly.   Her plan paid off.

When Madonna and Brittany Spears shared a faux lesbian kiss, can anyone remember what they were singing.  All I remember is the kiss.  Somehow the music was left behind.

The same thing is true of Cyrus. No one talks about the music.  Everyone talks about the sexual antics.   Instead of music that talks about sex,  now we  have pure unemotional sex with music as an unobtrusive backdrop to music no one may remember.

This essay is not to say the past was better.  It wasn’t in some respects.  There are plenty of  acts that use sex.  Taylor Swift uses sex as her primary theme.  She uses it to make music. She is not a sex object. In the man woman dance that is  heterosexuality, she uses her music to depict the loss of someone looking for love but ultimately ending up with jerks and sex hounds.

At the very least, people listen to Swift’s music.  She sells in the millions. I doubt if you will ever see her sitting naked on a wrecking ball.  It is highly unlikely.

Someone I keep thinking if someone wants to really talk about sex, something tells me it would not sell. If someone really told it like it is with powerful music to match, I doubt if itunes would be jumping.  There are numerous strong musical acts.  The sad reality is a lot of true talent either sells poorly or is eclipsed by the new sex as a mean playground sexuality.

Never before in music has sex seemed so vulgar and so unappealing.  They get the bump and grind of sex but miss the real fire that turns sex into something more than bodies bumping in the night.

In a world where everything is sexualized from revealing outfits to little girls learning to walk in heels, the entire U.S. finds no outrage at toddlers and tiaras.

The big defense that musical acts like Cyrus use is that this is all part of their artistic expression.   When your expression is connected with the most cynical side of the music making machine, taking on the mantel of art is a real insult to art and those that practice the profession.  If sex did not sell so well, I doubt is Cyrus would be using it at all.
Art is ultimately about expression, making statements and creating that which is new. It is not about sex for the sake of sex.  Sex for shock has been done. All that is left is to become more silly, more empty and more devoid of real human emotion.  Sex for sex sake is not a message. It is a desperate bid for attention when you have nothing to say.

 

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