Our internet muffed up a bit yesterday, so it’s Five-Song Wednesday…
Jonathan Bogart: Oh, so that’s what this is. I’ve been catching the back end of it on the radio for weeks now. Good to know that I was correct in hearing one of those flanged lines in the chorus as “can’t be saved,” which just dances on the edge of driving her Wholesome Family Entertainment fans nuts, but then I don’t think I’m any readier than they are for a fully sexualized Hannah Montana. Luckily, the plastic, cartoon sexuality on offer here isn’t a problem.
Katherine St Asaph: Miley Cyrus once again reveals herself to be an adolescent female with a sex drive. The next few months will go like this: there’ll be hand-waving freakoutery about the “loss” of her “wholesomeness,” as if this image wasn’t built like a house of cards to eventually topple. The peanut gallery will crow about the “sluttiness” they obviously never display, ogle or consume. Parents will complain about Miley doing things their kids would never otherwise contemplate. Bottom-feeders like Perez Hilton will scrape up more titillation for shocked, SHOCKED news outlets, which in turn will get all giddy about the prospect of putting “child porn” in their heds. And where is Miley in all this? She’s just a kid, and surely she’s realized that Disney-starlet frames aren’t built for real teens. But she’s also a fairly savvy celebrity with very savvy handlers, who know that her natural teenage rebellion fits perfectly into their good-girl-gone-bad storyboard. There’s also a song. It sounds fine. I cannot condone its existence.
Hillary Brown: So you’re saying the whole commando thing wasn’t an accident but part of a strategy to rebrand yourself? Couldn’t you have picked a better song?
Michaelangelo Matos: “I can get a bit crazy”: I bet! And someday we’re going to want to hear all about it. But not on this late-model robo-ho-hum, which doesn’t make you sound any edgier than you did admitting you’d never heard a Jay-Z song.
David Moore: Told ya the “Party in the USA” follow-up would be weird. And yeah, this is pretty much the yang to the mediocre yin of “When I Look at You.” My advice for Miley, since she really wants to break out of her Disney constraints anyway, is to start smoking about four packs of cigarettes a day. Especially on stage. It’ll hasten the Disney withdrawal period and she’ll get her voice primed for bottom-of-the-bottle country blues in no time.
Al Shipley: “I wanna be a part of something I don’t know” is the perfect rallying cry for pop’s biggest star who swears “I don’t listen to pop music” and would sooooo rather be hanging out with Radiohead you guys. Maybe if she gave a shit about her vocation she’d realize her big 2010 single is hawking a sound her contemporaries all did to death in 2008.
Alfred Soto: Nothing can tame her affection for Britney circa 2001.
Martin Skidmore: This reminds me considerably of Rihanna’s “SOS”. The opening and verses are strong and very punchy, as is the stomping electro-dance music, but the odd moment of autotuning strike false notes, and the excessive emphasis on “tamed” and its rhymes irritates. Nonetheless, despite those quibbles, there’s a monster feel to this which is hard to deny or resist.
Chuck Eddy: This has a decent glammish beat, a reasonably assertive vocal, odd clanks and hollers coming in from all angles, yet basically leaves me cold. By now, I’ve sat through it too many times to care why. Maybe there’s just too much going on.
John Seroff: Try as she might, Miley isn’t a good Britney. There’s too much personality in her voice, a hint of pork cracklins and milk gravy that grounds her in the real no matter how much her producers try to autotune or Alvin it away. As a human being, that’s good; as a burbling superstartlet, it’s a dancefloor liability. “Can’t Be Saved” is still pleasant enough summer radio fare, but Miley sounds less uncaged and more ignored in the midst of a jungle of galumphing effects, a menagerie of percussion and a chorus of overlapping vocals. “I’m like a puzzle/but all of my pieces are jagged”? No, more like a spice in a soup and your flavor’s being lost.
Iain Mew: I know we’re all in GaGa’s world now, but she has seven better singles than “Lovegame” out there to copy.
Anthony Easton: