Heard any good similes lately?
single: “Wrecking Ball”
artist: Miley Cyrus
It’s almost unbearable. The levels on which we can take the central simile (strictly speaking, not a metaphor, because she uses the word “like”) of our nation’s new number one single are more numerous than any record I can recall.
Of course, there’s the literal level of the song’s narrator, apologizing to her lover for coming on too strong. Then there’s the real-life level, since the song appears to be parallel to Miley’s romance with Liam Hemsworth. Hot on the heels of her VMA twerkfest, it could be seen as a self-reflection on the outrageousness of that performance. (One would have to presume she had planned that performance well in advance for that to be a purposeful meaning.)
Finally, and most striking to me, is the idea that Miley (as she looks directly into the camera and cries in the music video) is talking to us, the public, saying (and I paraphrase): “I didn’t want to have to cause such a stir, but by being known as Hannah Montana for my entire public life, I had to shatter any preconceived idea that you had about me in order to show you who I am beyond that Disney character.”
All conjecture aside, this second single off her upcoming Bangerz is an abrupt U-turn from the languid R&B vibe of “We Can’t Stop.” Here, she is intense, intimate, and decidedly pop-rock–sonically, closer to the Miley we know, but still much more adult than she left off with her last project two years ago.
In what appears to be yet another homage to the 80s (please see just about every review I’ve written so far), “Wrecking Ball” leaves the listener scrambling for a lighter to wave; its arena-rock ambitions are as bare as Miley in the aforementioned music video.
Direct and well-executed and perfectly placed, “Wrecking Ball” accomplishes quite a bit in its four-minute span. Just when the Miley buzz is both deafening and about everything except music, she shows she has talent, not just scandalously-garnered attention.