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New Music Week Of August 10th, 2009: Miley Is A Bad Girl

Party in The USA – Miley Cyrus
On the cover of AM News this morning was the picture above with the musical question: “Is Miley Cyrus a bad influence?” Why would she be a bad influence? Because she was using a pole to dance with during the teen awards. It is only a stripper pole if a stripper is using it. I appreciate the concern about the sexualizing of children but sixteen isn’t a child and anyway, Cyrus has been the picture of appropriation in her career. It is so bushleague for “AM News” to isolate a “salacious” image taken out of context from a vaulted moral standpoint. It’s creepy, creepier than anything Cyrus has done (except for that horrible docedo in her movie). People are so flipped out over Cyrus they complained she was half naked because her back was showing in Vanity fair. And AM News were so hard up for a story they had to include the twenty-one year old Vanessa Hudgens nude pictures, privately taken and ending up on the internet. What are they suggesting here? Twenty-One year old women have no privacy and shouldn’t be having relationships with other people where private nudity was acceptable? The problem with Cyrus is not her sexuality or exploitation thereof, it is that she isn’t very talented. Her degree of talent has NOTHING to do with her sexuality; they are more or less mutually exclusive. “See you Again” was a a pretty good song and the “… she’s just being Miley,” line both funny and true. But EVERYTHING ELSE is various degrees of yawneriffic. “Party In The U.S.A.” is a pretty good dance track and its intended audience are gonna vastly prefer it to anything on HMM except “The Climb”. But she can’t dance and she can’t really sing. Part of me says so what, it’s a teen thing and the rest of me thinks she ain’t gonna have Taylor Swift’s career and that’s for sure. Miley shouts out Jay-Z, Britney and MJ (on the Teen Choice awards the latter) and she manages to walk and step and walk again in those heels. Single Of the Week. Here is the url:
Arkansas Drive – George Strait
“Twang,” Strait’s new album, is no “Troubadour” and “Arkansas Drive is NO “Troubadour” but written by Strait’s late big brother Bubba Strait it is a tall story about a quiet dangerous cowboy and it has the air of calm professionalism that has become the heralding of Strait in the 00s.
When Will I Be Loved – John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen
Crazy – Willie Nelson, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello
I don’t mind em doing these covers (I know, I know, but Patsy Cline owns it) in the heat of a live show. It’s almost charming in its own way. But I kinda think it’s all filler de jour. I love the Everly Brothers, CCR and Springsteen and this stills suck. Diana Krall is the only possible reason to get this “Crazy”.
3a.m. (Travis Barker Remix) – Eminem
Throw It In The Bag Remix (featuring The-Dream and Drake) – Fabolous
Run This Town (featuring Rihanna & Kanye West) – Jay-Z
Holy Are You – Rakim
Now you’re talking. I love Rihanna’s vocals on “Run This Town” and I love the back beat which is a synth echoey of a drum. Kanye is off his game but this is Jay-Z’s best rap since “Brooklyn go hard”. Everybody and I mean everybody knows Fabolous is fucking up his career by not remixing “Imma do It”. “Run This Town” is OK but not a stand out though the ending is wild. “3am” is awesome. It was terrific on the album and it is terrific here; there is a guitar sample mixed with a bass Barker took from the orginal and punds directly under Eminem’s vocals and while it kills off the serial killer vibe it gloms onto and pulls up Eminem vocals which seemed to be sinking in vicoden in the original. I woulda loved to hear a Rakim/Dre collaboration and I bet there are outtakes floating round but I aint heard em and so this, the great Rakim’s first work since “The 13th Letter” is as a dour of piece of work as you’ll hear in the poppy world of hip hop today. Reminds me of Shakur’s Makaveli stuff and the sample “No one but you, there is no God but you” is as dark as a spiritual can get. The new album “The Seventh Seal” is dropping in a coupla months.
Some Sort Of Paradise – Robin Guthrie
I have been writing quite a bit about fore/back ground music from the Eno collab “Low” to DJ Boyz Noize remixes. The thing about Boyz Noize, the thing about dance, is if you concentrate it makes musical sense and if you don’t it makes visceral sense unless you can’t dance in which case it makes non-sense. I was talking with chris Stamey of the dB’s once about how his music pricks the background with sounds that grab your attention, it kinda demands a response. Stamey said one reason the dB’s didn’t break big was because it was music that demanded a response, it didn’t work well on the radio for that meaning. The fore/back questions plagues music like ambience or musak or dance -music with a specific purpose, because because it functions as back it is hard to listen to seriously. Robin Guthrie -part of the Cocteau twins once upon a time, deals with back, he often does film score composing now -the definition of back and here, on a song from his upcoming “Carousel” album when she concentrate it is a low key and pretty instrumental (not avant at all!!) and when you don’t it disappears.

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