Is Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” Art?

Two weeks after Miley’s Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video came out on Vevo, people are still talking about the former Disney star’s raunchy and sexual evolution. She is seen wearing white underwear (very typical of Miley, she wears plenty of white in “We Can’t Stop”), crying, swinging on a wrecking ball, oh and licking a hammer. As a fellow 20 year old soon-to-be-21-in-the-fall like-Miley, I cringe at her new found sexuality. I don’t cringe out of shame. I’m not going to shake my head and wag my index because heck, Miley is doing what she feels she needs to do for her artistry. But I cringe because I’m afraid that this image of a provocative 20 year old woman might become the stereotype of all young women in the subconscious of American Pop culture. What I’m saying is definitely pushing the envelope  but we have seen from history what one repetitive image can do the image of an entire group of people.

I don’t believe  nudity and sexuality are wrong, but when does it become art or just plain debauchery?

To set the record straight, I love the song.  I can definitely listen to it three or four times a day. I enjoy how it starts with a simple little electronic four chord progression and then Cyrus comes in with “We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain…” in very interesting vocals. The fluctuation from high to low is kinda quirky, (the music theory in me is naming all the intervals) if you pay attention to the notes itself and substitute the words with, heee haaww like a donkey, you’ll get what I mean. It’s quirky. By the time we get to “Don’t you ever say I just walked away…” her voice is lower and the notes are more linear and fluid…very Lana del Rey. Once the chorus starts and those drums kick in with Cyrus’  ‘rocker’ voice, one can’t help but want to wreck some things too. Favorite part is the bridge but I won’t meander any longer.

Now with the video…yea. I don’t believe some parts of the video fit the song. It’s not the nudity that’s a problem but the sexualization of nudity and the sex itself. Look, forgive me but as an English major, I’m going to make symbols out of everything. The wrecking ball is not just a symbol of her anger, as is expressed in the song, but it’s a ball. Miley is swinging or riding on a ball, testes. She then licks a hammer. A hammer is a man’s tool and what else is a man’s tool? Right, his penis. So she’s swinging on balls and licking hammers while naked. I don’t sense this at all when I’m just listening to a song about heartbreak and lost love. What bothers me most about the video are the conflicting messages. In one section she’s crying, the other she appears horny and in the other she’s angry. I wish the director would have made up his mind on what approach to take.

Just picture this, she’s nude in a museum. She’s covered in white paint (since she loves white) posing as a statue. In the first segment the camera is focused only on her face. Then as the song progresses the camera inches back slowly, her body still like stone. Then at the chorus a man comes in with a hammer and crushes her. They can use cool graphics for all of that. Man, I should be a video maker.

So as a fellow cringing 20 year old soon-to-be-21-in-the-fall-like-Miley, I ask, is “Wrecking Ball” art ? I’ll say the song is well executed. The video however needs some work.

p.s. Do not lick non edible things.

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