Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop

If her video were out, we might’ve had an all-seizure-warning day…


Will Adams: Recently, Miley’s been on a grand tour through genres, making stops at countrybrostep, Dr. Luke pastiche, and pseudo-reggae, with varying degrees of success. But never has she sounded so out of place as she does in the club setting of “We Can’t Stop.” Miley slurs to the point of being incomprehensible, and the message begins to sound miserable instead of inspiring. The lyrics, which alternate between banal uplift messages and clichéd party imagery, don’t help. For God’s sake, we’re at “hands in the air like you don’t care” by the second line! She’s not even trying. Neither is Mike WiLL, whose sluggish production sounds like a stomach full of cheap beer. Since when did the concept of not giving a fuck reach such a meta level?

Katherine St Asaph: She may tweet who knows how many rappers with who knows how many twerk videos, but it’s nevertheless jarring to hear “Mike WiLL Made It!” on a Miley Cyrus song. (Yeah, yeah, Mike WiLL writes for everyone, and “Baby” was a The-Dream song, and Max Martin was a hair-metal guy once; still jarring.) The problem is, Miley’s now more interesting as a Twitter personality than a musician; even when she reminds us of the latter it’s just Mike squandering his skill and Miley squandering her vocals for a sludgy puddle of Lesley Gore.

David Moore: Mike WiLL Cobbled It — screwed vocals, soccer hooligan chants, 8-bit snyths, sloppy indie drumming, that stupid pseudo-anthemic piano-plink. And I haven’t even addressed the Miley molly, the lodi-dodis, the (actual) screwing, the strippers, the haters, the overly proper enunciation of “turnt,” the self-righteous Gaga-esque bridge, the feral Ke$ha-e$que owning of the night, the Rick Rossian running of shit. My favorite thing about it is how the odd phrase “dancing with molly” could trick out-of-the-loop fans into thinking that Molly is a real person — just like Lesley!

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: If you’re invested in the Cyrus that’s Instagramming photos with Young Jeezy and filming furry-twerk videos, you will get exactly what you need from “We Can’t Stop.” As cynical as it may seem from the outside looking in, the song by and large dodges cynical trend-chasing, coming across as surprisingly sweet and non-judgmental. It’s is one of the warmest big-money pop singles in some time, bolstered by Cyrus’s country-flecked twang and a playful chorus melody that recalls campfire singalongs in its “la-da-da-da-di” refrain. A stripper reference in the second verse that may or may not exist purely to irritate those holding Cyrus to her Hannah Montana persona, but it’s followed with a couplet delivered like a well-intentioned hug: “only God can judge ya… somebody loves ya.” Even the attempts at pop defiance take a moment to register as such — “don’t take nothing from nobody” is sang so empathetically that it sounds like Cyrus setting out friendly party rules for all to follow.

Jer Fairall: “Remember only God can judge us,” she reminds us as she makes her way through a more pansexual, drug fuelled party in the U.S.A., but if this is meant to be a flip off to the haters, it comes off more like moralizing in spite of oneself. She’s clearly out of her league trying to do hedonism, but this joyless sleeping pill of a track, something like fun. trying to be The Weeknd, doesn’t even attempt to help her along.

Patrick St. Michel: Yet another song about the fast and young life, one populated by haters and illicit substances and staying up all night. Mike WiLL Made It, though, subverts the formula by choosing not to make “We Can’t Stop” sound like the bleating Euro-pop these sort of anthems always end up being. Rather, his music is more like the Cheers theme song remade for 2013. It’s the single’s best touch — though, I think it’s important to note, it also owes a bit of debt to fun.’s “We Are Young” which pulled a similar trick. Still, Cyrus’ vocals manage to be both clichéd and trying too hard to be edgy.

Scott Mildenhall: This is silly in a silly way. Not silly as in carefree, not silly in a self-aware way either — quite the opposite. The kind of “woo yeah, we’re young, wild and free; come round with some booze drinks, we’ll have a party” lyrics on show always come off as a bit of a put-on; laughable as much as tiresome, like someone glanced at an old Skins trailer or watched Tulisa’s “Young” video. The production is the sole interesting thing, weirdly reminiscent of Nathan Fake, in lieu of any more obvious, contemporaneous or commercial comparisons.

Al Shipley: The “wistful club anthem” template that’s taken dozens of trips to the Top 40 since “I Gotta Feeling” finally hits its total nadir, with Mike Will finally posting up a miss in what was shaping up to be as close a perfect year as any rap producer has had in recent memory. My last Miley song ever, I promise. 

Crystal Leww: This doesn’t really sound like a Mike WiLL song, and as a result, it’s probably my least favorite out of all that he’s done. I don’t not care that this is a Miley Cyrus joint; I do not care what she is trying to do with her image. This just sounds so bland and boring. Sad for a song that seems to be all about YOLO-ing.

Anthony Easton: It feels silly to be annoyed by this, and maybe Miley in the Disney-to-independent-artist phase had to deal with this, but I still have this idea that she had enough money and enough power that who she loved or what she wanted to say should never be a problem. This attempting-to-be-inspirational-for-others vibe seems to be the recent go-to for starlets on their own, and it’s an effective strategy, but one that always gives me a bit of pause. 

Brad Shoup: Kind of gauche, kind of great. Also kind of the “We Are Young” we don’t deserve. There’s no part of celebrity we haven’t discussed into inanity, so the image of Miley sitting at a piano, bullshitting on some ass jokes to entertain her guests, may not tickle your fancy. It does mine. Some people want to be famous, some people want to — have to entertain, even when they’re feeling shitty and are barely keeping it together. Somebody loves ya, Miley.

Alfred Soto: I heard not a single interesting lyric or vocal inflection: mechanized claptrap as anonymous as “Friday.” The ebullience that Cyrus used to summon with one terrifying smile is wrung as if she intended it.

Reader average: [4.55] (18 votes)

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27 Responses to “Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop”

  1. I like the Lesley confluence between my blurb and Katherine’s.

  2. Love the “Friday” comparison – it strikes me as having the same written-by-dude, totally-couldn’t-be-bothered-lifting-the-key quality as “It’s Thanksgiving”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSBq8geuJk0

    Can’t think of another pop song in recent memory that so actively brings out the worst qualities in its vocalist – it might as well be a three-minute yawn, and yet I can’t help wondering what it’d be like in a key that ACTUALLY WORKS.

  3. This is a weirdly delicate song, in the sense that as bad as it is (and it’s *terrible*, even though I really like it) I think almost any change would make it worse.

  4. She may be, alongside Katy Perry, my least favourite current pop vocalist.

  5. (though the song would still suck anyway)

  6. ‘My last Miley song ever, I promise’

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh ha

  7. “we run things, things don’t run we” WHAT.

  8. The texture of the instrumental is really interesting: a little fuzzy around the edges, a little bit of punch in that synth needling the rest of the track. It’s a shame the lyrics and the vocal are so poor: Miley plays this completely straight, so instead of hitting a balance between sadness and reverie, she just ends up sort of waffling between the two. And the less said about the party-by-committee lyrics, the better.

  9. On a brighter note (and an irrelevant one, though I’m not sure where else to put this), the new OneRepublic single is really fantastic. The whole album is, actually. Any plans on covering it?


  10. Yep, we should get to that in the next couple of weeks.

  11. Richaod: pretty sure “we run things, things don’t run we” is a play off a Jay lyric.

  12. What has music come up to? That’s what I want to know.

  13. Dude, what does that even MEAN

  14. so daniel. u a fan of fun.?

  15. I thought they were bullshit and then I heard this one song while in a shop – it’s the one that ends with the singer cooing through really heavy autotune over very baroque strings – and now I don’t hate em. how come?

  16. because you used a period at the end of your name

  17. music has come to life


  18. ahhhhhh that took me days to get David. soz. (but not really soz.)

  19. How I wish the video HAD been out in time for this.

  20. This sounds like a rejected Rihanna demo…

  21. I think it was?

  22. Yep: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/1566461/miley-cyrus-we-cant-stop-originally-intended-for-rihanna

  23. Thanks, Will!

  24. burn this video to the ground

  25. the Rebecca Black version: better or worse than the original? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JcK5BW9Z0I

  26. Rebecca would make a great christian-pop singer. Her honesty makes me wanna puke.

  27. Thanks!