Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Miley Cyrus – When I Look at You

And Tuesday spills over into Wednesday…


David Moore: Miley goes back to the Adult Contemporary well, comes back with something just as lumbering and sweaty as anything Daughtry might try his hand at. And though I’m thankful that he didn’t beat her to it, that’s still damning with faint praise. If this is setting up two distinct modes in her solo career, then her “Party in the USA” sequel is going to be really weird.

Chuck Eddy: So you might think this song is about Jesus, but truth is, Miley and her apparently famous even though I never heard of him Aussie boyfriend What’s His Face have been studying Buddhism! It’s true; she told it to Parade! Also, country music makes her nervous and is contrived because you have to wear cowboy hats and act “sweet as pie.” And her new single would be too slow for it!

Alfred Soto: Other than listening to her appealing husk of a voice turn ragged during the chorus, this defines “formula.”

Briony Edwards: This song is good, because it serves as a useful reminder that nothing Miley Cyrus produces will ever be of any relevant artistic note. 4:11 minutes of white noise would have proven equally as effective.

Michaelangelo Matos: Clincher is the line “I see forgiveness”: so clearly and obviously processed into its weird speechlike affect, its sudden leap into clarity belying the mushmouth before it, signaling the confusion of this record’s makers. Miley Cyrus is such a total media creature that the records are completely secondary, made by people who don’t even care a little: just throw the Auto-Tune wherever, who’s gonna notice the diff?

Alex Macpherson: With the opening lines “Everybody needs inspiration, everybody needs a song/A beautiful melody when the nights are long,” Miley Cyrus aims squarely for the meta sweet-spot of a ballad secretly about itself. The lack of inspiration and the monolith of molasses that follow ensure failure. Still, Miley’s route-one vocal strategy – to give it some welly in the manner of the lead striker on a public school hockey team — ensures that your attention is held, at least.

Ian Mathers: I just can’t get over the way that Cyrus’ voice always seems slightly wrong for the songs she sings. It’s not a bad voice, really; it’s just always trying too hard. “The Climb” was pretty much unsalvageable, but this one might have been good in someone else’s hands.

Hillary Brown: I can’t tell whether it’s in spite or because of the way Cyrus’s voice often sounds attenuated and off-pitch in bits of the verse that I find myself compelled to listen to this song repeatedly. Add in that it’s a big, swelling ballad of the type that I usually can’t stand, and I may just keep putting it on repeat to try to figure out why I’m fascinated by it. Sometimes mystery fails and sometimes, as I think it does here, it succeeds beautifully.

Doug Robertson: It does all the swelly things that big ballads are supposed to do, allows for a bit of fist clenching emotional histrionics, and generally sounds like it came in kit form from the back pages of the Argos catalogue.

Edward Okulicz: Fragile, and ornately armoured with so much glazing and marzipan… in fact, that’s what this is, it’s like you put chocolate frosting on a ham and baked it.

Martin Skidmore: After two top five US hits in a row, there is something wrong when the next single doesn’t break the top 50. I suspect the reason for the relative flop is that it’s a total bore.

Additional Scores

Anthony Easton: [3]
Alex Ostroff: [4]
John Seroff: [3]

12 Responses to “Miley Cyrus – When I Look at You”

  1. nothing Miley Cyrus produces will ever be of any relevant artistic note

    Agreed that Miley’s batting average is very low overall, but I’ll just point to “See You Again” and “Fly on the Wall” to suggest that with the right material — which she rarely gets — she can be quite good. She needs more Antonina Armato and Tim James. I have a weird feeling that she’ll be a better singer when she’s older and has been smoking for a decade or two.

  2. Miley’s “Start All Over” is really great too – she’s probably most suited to these bratty mallpunk numbers.

  3. Yeah, didn’t mention some of the other ones — “East Northumberland High,” “Start All Over,” even some of her earlier Hannah Montana stuff — “Sk8er Boi” rip “I’ve Got Nerve,” “If We Were a Movie”…solid bubblegum. A few others. Her two solo albums have for the most part been a disaster, though.

  4. Apparently I want a chocolate-frosted baked ham. I actually think that’s quite a good description.

  5. Chocolate-covered bacon is the best, y’all.

  6. “After two top five US hits in a row, there is something wrong when the next single doesn’t break the top 50. I suspect the reason for the relative flop is that it’s a total bore.”

    That didn’t stop “The Climb.”

    I listened to some Hannah Montana songs recently and was shocked to discover that nearly all of them were better than anything she’s released under the name “Miley Cyrus.” Hell, she’s never released anything as obnoxiously for-preteens-only under the Hannah Montana name as the unforgiveable “See You Again.”

  7. “See You Again” was technically Miley Cyrus, but the album was a Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus double album. It’s also her BEST SONG EVA, fwiw. Consistently surprised at what people think is “preteens only,” though — “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” melody plus bosh plus rockabilly guitar = preteens-only just ‘cuz she’s got a puppy crush on some guy? (Is “School’s Out” pre-teens only?)

  8. It’s also her BEST SONG EVA

    Not to mention the best single anybody released in 2008. (At least I thought so at the time, and off-hand can’t think of anything I’ve heard since that’d change my mind.) And I haven’t been a preteen for a very long time.

  9. PS I still like “The Climb” in the country-ish mix.

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  11. “And I haven’t been a preteen for a very long time.”

    Right, I know this song has some older fans, and that’s just one of the mysteries of the universe I’ll have to wrestle with. I hate “The Climb” and I hate “Party in the U.S.A.,” but I at least understand that they might offer something to an adult. “See You Again” is on a shortlist of worst songs ever, for me, and I don’t know how someone who’s outgrown Kidz Bop can listen to “She just being Miley” without wanting to kill people.

  12. “My best friend Lesley said, ‘Oh, she’s just being Miley'” is the best line in the song. I especially love the way it’s unclear whether Lesley’s sticking up for her or twisting the knife a little further.