One week ago, Miley Cyrus left the nation reeling after her performance of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” at the Video Music Awards. Parents watched in horror as the girl they remembered as Hannah Montana twerked in a teddy-bear leotard, gyrated on Robin Thicke‘s crotch in nothing more than a creamsicle bikini, and rubbed her nether-regions with a phallic foam finger. The whole display was provocative, pointless, and, for most viewers, shocking.
But in all actuality, Cyrus’ deliberately vexing presentation wasn’t shocking at all. “We Can’t Stop” is a natural extension of the “Can’t Be Tamed” philosophy that Cyrus has been peddling since 2010. And by the same token, the song — in its irreverent disregard of all people in the name of a good time — is the crystallization of pop music’s ideals over the past year. In the wake of fun.‘s “We Are Young,” pop has quickly become a medium that worships its own youth unabashedly. Granted, pop music has always heralded youth (tellingly, Justin Timberlake, 32, was given a legacy prize at this year’s VMAs) — but it’s never been so self-aware about it.
“It’s not just about being like, ‘We don’t care what people say,'” Cyrus said of “We Can’t Stop” during a Billboard cover shoot in June. “It’s about living for right now.” In the same interview Cyrus said the single’s edgy video was meant to resonate with young people: “I know that we all live for those nights right now. We’re all young,” she said. “I want to talk to my fans about that.” That may sound like a shallow conversation, but currently, it’s the chosen topic in much of 2013’s pop music. READ FULL STORY