Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

I didn’t watch the VMAs, and I don’t have much of an opinion on Miley vs. Nicki. I like them both and dislike aspects of this situation on both sides, so I’m sitting this one out.

I feel kind of the same way about Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz — there are things I like and things I don’t like. I can’t tell if it’ll end up being seen as a bold comment on fame and our culture’s obsession with pleasure or a fun side project that could have benefited from editing. (“Pablow the Blowfish” makes me think it’s somehow both.)

There’s one thing I’m not ambivalent about, though: “Lighter” is excellent.

When I was in college (or maybe this happened just after college — I can’t remember), a buddy of mine and I used to use the term “flammable friend.” A flammable friend was someone who would take whatever weird or spontaneous or destructive idea you had and run with it without hesitation. A decade later, it would be easy to look back on that idea negatively — especially because I’m not especially close to many of the people we tagged as flammable friends back then — but I can’t. I’ve always been cautious to a fault, and if the enthusiasm and recklessness of other people hadn’t rubbed off on me during those years, I think I’d have many more regrets than I do.

It was jarring to hear this metaphor articulated so similarly by a stranger — spooky almost — but I love what Cyrus and the Flaming Lips Mike WiLL have done here. I like how the song unfolds gradually, with atmospheric elements that disappear and reappear the same way volatile friendships do. And I love the “I see a light coming towards me/Moving slowly but coming quickly at the same time/I think it represents what’s going on in my mind” passage — it bridges the sober/spacey profundity gap with such grace.

More than anything else, I’m grateful for this song for the same reason I was and am grateful for flammable friends: They make me reconsider my anxious nature, and not just in the “Maybe don’t worry so much” way. “Lighter” makes me think about risk tourism, and how many risks I pawned off on braver people over the years. About how being overly cautious opens the door to a type of selfishness that can erode relationships over time.

I’m sure some people will dismiss Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz as indulgent and non-serious, but it’s given me serious things to think about, and I’m glad Cyrus and the Flaming Lips shared it with us.

Miley Cyrus — “Lighter” [Soundcloud]

2 Comments

Filed under #nowplaying

2 responses to “Miley Cyrus

  1. There IS some good stuff on this. But it did bring to mind that old idea that if enough monkeys typed enough stuff they would eventually get to Shakespeare!

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