A recent survey identified the chief interests of MamaPop contributors as: #1. pop culture; #2. guffawing at teenybopper junk (because we are aging and it frightens us); and #3. sitting around in front of our computers like the active citizens we are. This week’s video roundtable combines everything that we know and do best. Behold: Miley Cyrus’ Party In The USA, reinterpreted by MamaPop. With commentary by Anthony Hopkins.
If you have a hankering, you can watch the original video from Cyrus, which boasts slightly higher production values and a whole lot more confusingly slutty moments from a singer presumably tailored to the teen market. Do teens dry hump microphone stands and swing around in metal contraptions designed to resemble playground equipment repurposed for strip clubs? I just don’t know what the kids are into these days.
What interests me about Party In The USA is that, as a music-video product, it’s so calculated to reposition Cyrus as a pop star breaking out of her mold as a countrified tween. Call it meta-music. The song’s narrative places her as a newcomer from Nashville in unfashionable clothing, but the pervasive presence of pop music (in Nashville as it is in Los Angeles, amen) erases regional difference and opens a tunnel into a private ecstasy, where footwear concerns vanish and everyone can participate in the wireless web of 21st century culture.
I mean, just listen to the lyrics (which I cruelly forced MamaPop to read out loud). The only characters wandering this curiously narrow landscape of fame and clubs are The Singer, a “taxi man,” a DJ and “everyone”. The Singer is a Cyrus analogue, a nervous youngster with “a dream and a cardigan”. It can’t possibly be the genuine Cyrus she’s singing about, or the line would read “a dream and a meal ticket as a manufactured tween idol whose hideously pitchy voice is in perpetual repair by an Autotune 5000″. The “everyone” is restricted to people who “seem so famous,” wear stilettos and possibly entertain malicious thoughts about the boot-wearing singer. As for the the DJ and “the taxi man,” they are purely instrumental, angels of heavenly pop whose mission is to bring Jay-Z and “the Britney song” to nervous girls everywhere.
In contrast to the LA amusement park world of the song, the video for Party In The USA is the epitome of the “Nashville party” – an open-air hootenanny with pick-up trucks and parking lot dust and American flags a-flying. I think we’re being set up to have Cyrus both ways: as a teenybopper pop entertainer and a country warbler at the same time. Eventually the two personae will draw together and become completely indistinguishable, which is pretty much the message of the song: individual reverie masking a machined, pitch-controlled sameness.
The ubiquity of pop music – its ability to leap through the air and materialize in the back seat of a taxi or the balconies of a club – is the subject of the song, but the ubiquity of Cyrus herself is the subtext. In essence, the story of the song is homiletic; Cyrus wants you to respond to Party In The USA in the same way that the singer responds to the Britney song. MILEY CYRUS IS ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN’S MINDS. But you probably knew that already. Like yeah.
Every other week the writers of MamaPop get together to answer various questions about pop culture, parenting or whatever occurs to them. Do you have a question that you think deserves a video roundtable response? Let us know in the comments, or email email@example.com directly.TOP POSTS