I want everyone to be perfectly honest right now.
Sometime, over the past two months, you found yourself absentmindedly humming a song. Maybe you were singing in the shower, whistling a tune at your work desk, or perhaps you’re even harmonizing right now, at this very moment, to a song that you’ve probably heard on the radio at least a dozen times.
And I’m talking about the song that people have been afraid to listen to in public. That they’ve strategically used their thumb to shield the screen on their iPod so others don’t see it. That they’ve actually stopped listening to midway through on Spotify just so it doesn’t come up as a “listened to” track on their playlist.
I’m talking about “Wrecking Ball.” Yes, the Miley Cyrus song.
I can’t physically hear how any of you reacted right now to that sentence, but I am going to assume that at least one person gasped. In fact, I may have to give a very convincing argument right now to keep you all at my blog. But I am standing by what I said.
First and foremost, we all need to remember that the quality of a song is not necessarily determined by who sings it. Countless times in history a song has been recorded by an artist and never gained popularity, only to be sung years later by another artist — and become a classic.
Did you know that Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll” was originally by an English-American rock band called Arrows? That the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” was initially recorded by the Top Notes, a band so obscure that they don’t even have their own Wikipedia page?
I’m aware that “Wrecking Ball” has yet to be covered, and that the lone version is by Miley Cyrus. But again, that doesn’t mean it is a bad song. And if you haven’t spontaneously screamed “I came in like a wrecking ball!” during times when you knew for certain you were alone, then you’re lying.
It’s a catchy pop-rock ballad, filled with emotion and its themes wrought with vengeance and betrayal. And let’s face it, those are the things that make the world go round.
And I’m not even here to try to discredit Miley Cyrus. Her version is fine. Put aside the twerking, the appalling hairdo, the VMA performance, and nevermind the actual music video of the song, and just try to listen to it next time for what it is. When the words “Miley Cyrus” is attached to something, people want to hate it. They expect to hate it — heck, they even hope to hate it. It’s about time someone actually said what they believed without worrying about public reaction, and without fearing the loss of their perceived masculinity.
Well, any sense of masculinity I had vanished years ago, so I will be that person. I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece, nor do I expect it to win any Grammys. but it is a good, solid song.
If you’re still skeptical, here is a cover performance of the song by Matthew Schuler, a current contestant on The Voice, who is my prediction to win the entire competition (see: masculinity lost, sentence above). If you still despise the song after hearing that, then you probably just really, really hate Miley Cyrus.
And next time, if you’re listening to 98 Degrees’ “It’s the Hardest Thing,” on Spotify, and want to pause it halfway — like I do — then I don’t blame you. Because that’s sort of embarrassing. But for “Wrecking Ball,” maybe next time … let it finish.
Even if it means taking a metaphorical wrecking ball to your musical reputation.