What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the commercials are funnier than the program?
One in which Miley Cyrus radiates such intelligence that she blows away the rest of the show.
I’m loath to write about Ms. Cyrus one more time, I don’t want to be one of those bandwagoneers who use her for momentary fame, like Sinead O’Connor, who is truly the poster girl for mental illness, did you see her face tattoos? Ink has been crawling up the neck for about a decade, but once it migrates to your punim you’ve completely lost the plot, you’ve shown that you’ve got no desire to be part of society, or you’re shrieking for help.
I feel sorry for Ms. O’Connor, who spoke the truth to Ms. Cyrus, saying that the music industry is a sausage factory, but why was she so surprised that Miley tweeted back, Sinead’s got kids of her own, and one thing we know for sure is at twenty you believe you know everything and radiate a force field reflecting all constructive input.
But it’s the same parents who are up in arms over the last six weeks of Mileymania. Whether they be perturbed by her twerking or her ability to dominate the conversation with what boomers declare is not music.
I’ve got something to tell those oldsters, we’re living in a pop world. You can spin your Wilco CDs in your Biemers, but your progeny are streaming the hits of the day and reveling in being members of the group.
It would be easier if Miley Cyrus was a deer in the headlights like Katy Perry. Or an old incomprehensible stoner like Ozzy Osbourne. Then we could write her off as a tool of the system. But watching her on SNL you were wowed not by her body but her brain. She read the cue cards better than any cast member. Which is testimony to years on the Disney Channel, but so many TV stars are wooden on SNL and Miley was not. Because she’s smart and she’s talented. And unlike her forbear, Madonna, she comes down off the pedestal and is truly likable.
That’s what oldsters hate about Miley. That she just won’t shut up, recede into the firmament and respect her elders. But that’s what stars do, throw off chains and chart their own path. And their fans follow them.
Miley’s no Justin Timberlake, letting Janet Jackson take the heat for the nip-slip. Justin’s testing no limits, he’s truly safe, he’s an entertainer, there’s no train-wreck, and great rock stars have had a little bit of train-wreck all the way from Little Richard to John Lennon to Boy George to Eminem. It goes with the territory. If you’re not making people uptight, you’re not doing it right.
And SNL had a bit of an edge. It criticized Boehner and the Republicans without a concomitant equal swipe at the Democrats, a taboo in the “fair” media. And Jay Pharoah had a star turn as Shannon Sharpe, it wasn’t so much laugh out loud funny as whoa, watch this guy in action, but it’s been so long since we’ve had a breakout star on SNL that it was thrilling to watch his performance.
But I feel sorry for the telecast. Because in a splintered world there’s very little commonality the show can play off of. Even the hippest youngster is gonna be unfamiliar with so much, there are few frames of reference except for the show itself. Yes, SNL is an institution, but the core is rotten. It’s just a stepping stone to something else, whereas John Belushi and Danny Aykroyd did their best work on the telecast, they were owned by us, not the man.
And it’s hard to tell if Miley Cyrus is working for the man or us because it’s all so calculated and without her musical handlers there would be nothing there. None of these products of song factories can write without their team, and what comes out of the speakers is more akin to cheerleading than inner reflection. Yes, this manufactured music has no soul. Then again, despite having a black President America’s got no soul, it’s a hollow enterprise focused on cash so why criticize Miley Cyrus for being its greatest exponent?
Yes, you’ve seen the immediate future and this is it. A tsunami of press that forces everybody to pay attention for…as long as the “star” can hold their eyeballs. No one takes a break anymore, if they do they’re forgotten. You’ve got to be in the public eye 24/7.
Not that Miley Cyrus can’t sing. But did she really need so many effects and so much on hard drive during her first number?
But that’s today’s music. Despite all the money being in the live performance, it’s all about the record. You can’t take any risk, there can be no mistakes, and that’s why the aforementioned soul is gone. But we’re not looking for perfection, we’re looking for soul. It’s a conundrum that Miley’s life can have jagged edges but her music is slick and polished.
And this won’t be forever.
But until the country revolts against income inequality, expect pop stars to reign. Pop never leads, it follows. It takes the best and the brightest to lead and those people left the building long ago, because music’s not where the money is.
And it’s all about money. Otherwise SNL would do skits about the bleeding edge and force its audience to pay attention and investigate. But the program can’t afford a dip in ratings, no risk is involved in a show that hasn’t changed in nearly forty years.
But it was great once, just like the music that inspired it and was featured on it.
But that was a long time ago.
To the point where tonight the biggest star was the guest host, she blew everybody off the stage, if they were smart they’d beg her to be regular cast member.
P.S. The Ron Burgundy Chrysler spot and State Farm airplane/BBQ grill commercial were more innovative than anything on SNL. Sure, it’s harder to do it live, but the way out is by taking chances, which people do online every day but SNL refuses to do.
P.P.S. Sinead O’Connor face tattoos