This Whole Miley Cyrus “Going Country” Business
There is no indication that Miley Cyrus is going country, at least not yet. But the entertainment media, starved for narratives as they are and still trying to pique the public’s attention with anything titillating in this post-election world, sees Miley Cyrus in a vintage dress in a field, or riding a toy horse in some promo photos and talking about how her new album will be a “rootsy” affair, and all of a sudden the “gone country” thread starts anew.
Yes, I read the Billboard cover story about Miley’s new music, and I walked away feeling confident that this will not be Miley’s big “gone country” moment. When she’s saying things like “My main concern isn’t radio,” then the least of our worries is that it will be country. If she wanted it to be considered country, she would have come out and said it. If Miley Cyrus is nothing else, she’s blaringly overt.
That said, I can’t begin to attempt to tell you where the marketing for Miley Cyrus begins, and where her true life ends. A few years ago she was riding buck naked on a wrecking ball and licking sledge hammers while walking out on stage every night strapped down with a giant dildo (don’t lie, you at least drove by tho see what the hubbub was about). Now she’s pretty in pink and promising to play nice. Yes, the whole see-saw nature seems disingenuous at best, and a cultural equivalent to shock and awe that is bound to swing back to debauchery after she’s cashed in on the whole Laurel Canyon sound for a fiscal year.
Miley Cyrus will go country at some point. She’s too talented not to. But right now, it’s too obvious for her. This new move is less about Miley Cyrus going country, and more about country music being so unable to define itself and its own borders that people call things country that are nothing of the sort simply because they see a couple of cultural signifyers. We just went through this drill discussing how John Mayer’s camp has released a single off of his latest record to country radio. The last Lady Gaga album had many saying it was her country effort, and Beyoncé’s surrogates are out there claiming she deserves CMA’s and Grammy’s in country categories just because she said “Yee Haw!” in a song—and you’re a racist if you disagree by the way.
There’s even murmurings that Taylor Swift is cutting country songs again, and remember Justin Timberlake’s country album is still out there in the offing. The only massive stars left to not go country are Katy Perry and Adele. Oh, and the Adele rumors of going country have been swirling out there for years too.
Since country music is unwilling and unable to police itself and define any sort of even reasonable sonic interpretation, anything can be called country, including music Miley Cyrus is going out of her way to purposely not call country, and is instead labeling “roots.” Can “roots” be country? Sure. It could also just mean acoustic guitars and tambourines. She did leave the door open by saying she wants to try and court Trump voters with her new music, which would seem to indicated it might be slated to the country crowd. There was also this exchange…
What appealed to you about The Voice?
I’m down for hanging with Blake [Shelton]. I actually want to take advantage of the fact that he’s there, [because] his fans don’t really take me seriously as a country artist. One, I haven’t given them that music. But I’ve got a tattoo of Johnny Cash’s autograph that he gave me when I was a little girl that says, “I’m in your corner.” Dolly Parton is my fucking godmother. The fact that country music fans are scared of me, that hurts me. All the nipple pastie shit, that’s what I did because I felt it was part of my political movement, and that got me to where I am now. I’m evolving, and I surround myself with smart people that are evolved.
What does any of this mean? I’m not sure. It means Cyrus does see herself as a country artist at some point, and it’s hard to see her perform “Jolene” and not be impressed. But even after saying all of that, Miley Cyrus isn’t calling her new music country. And reading how all the insturments on her new album were played by producer Oren Yoel in a stripped down studio, I doubt we’re going to be hearing any steel guitar, banjo, fiddle, or what have you.
I actually think Miley Cyrus has a lot more respect for country music than some of the morons who claim to be making it in the country industry at the moment. That’s why she expressly did not use the C-word in the Billboard spread. And just how “rootsy” will this new Miley Cyrus music be? Will it be some pop version of Americana? Will it be straight pop and the whole “rootsy” thing is just to get the buzzmill going about how country the music might be? We’ll just have to wait and see. Maybe it will be good. Maybe it won’t. But it probably won’t be country.
Back in 2010, Miley said she wouldn’t go country because:
“It scares me, that’s why. It feels contrived on so many levels. Unless you’re wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots and singing and whining about your girlfriend or boyfriend leaving you it’s not going to sell. I think that’s why my dad finally got out of it. You have to wear those cowboy boots and be sweet as pie. It makes me nervous, the politics of it all.”
Of course that was seven years ago, and I do expect Miley to go country at some point. And if and when she does, you will know it. Until then, this is all just media banter by people who know less about country music than Miley Cyrus does, and specifically released to what Miley Cyrus does best: get people’s attention.
May 6, 2017 @ 9:45 am
Love her or loathe her, the girl can sing.
I would love to hear a country album from her.
She strikes me as the type of artist that has the stones to do it too.
May 6, 2017 @ 4:50 pm
May 6, 2017 @ 9:57 am
She looks like she’s been putting out cigarettes on her arms.
May 6, 2017 @ 10:33 am
I don’t care for Miley or her music, but I thought her attitude about not trying to pretend to be a role model was quite honest and refreshing. I recall about 5 years ago when Taylor threw down the gauntlet at Miley and other young celebrities about being a role model, and the preachy pretentiousness of it made me cringe. It’s better for young celebrities not to take themselves too seriously.
I miss Stevie Gaines
May 6, 2017 @ 10:04 am
I’m down for hanging with Blake [Shelton]. Had to re-read that part…
May 6, 2017 @ 10:09 am
….yeah ….hopefully she got wise and matured ….something Blake hasn’t done
May 6, 2017 @ 10:29 am
Oddly enough? Blake seems to have done some growing up since divorcing Miranda/dating Gwen. Might be entirely coincidence, or just staying off social media.
May 6, 2017 @ 11:08 am
Or social media isn’t real life and we have no idea how mature he was or anybody else is because we don’t actually know them or the details of their relationships.
May 6, 2017 @ 11:27 am
May 6, 2017 @ 6:49 pm
Social media is not real life. For many people it is more like a personal ad intended to show off enough snippets of their photo album to make other people think they have a dream life with a perfect spouse and two perfect kids. In the age of social media, basically any moderately attractive, reasonably outgoing person can create their idealized persona, sort of like a middle income version of John and Jackie Kennedy’s Camelot.
May 9, 2017 @ 7:19 am
That’s funny cause his new gf is constantly posting pics/videos of them on social media so not sure about your point. He dates someone w/ kids so that makes him mature? Have ya listened to his music? Nope same guy, sorry
May 6, 2017 @ 10:08 am
I would actually love her to cut a country album. Her voice is damn good and she is not a bad songwriter (when she actually TRIES). Maybe Godmother Dolly could give her a few pointers?
May 6, 2017 @ 10:08 am
WTF is a Miley Cyrus, and why should she be important?
May 7, 2017 @ 4:23 am
Said a random person on an internet comment section…
May 9, 2017 @ 8:42 am
May 7, 2017 @ 4:23 am
Said a random person on an internet comment section…
May 8, 2017 @ 10:45 pm
The climb went number one for several weeks get your facts Straight before making these kinds of statements
May 9, 2017 @ 8:42 am
LOL….. Obviously you feel she should be important. I don’t, so I will continue making my “researched” (for my taste) statements when I want to.
May 6, 2017 @ 10:15 am
I tire of the ‘dabbler’ in country music. Maybe it’s unavoidable in today’s culture but just pick a lane as someone once said and at least stay in it for one album.
May 6, 2017 @ 10:19 am
Not a fan. This girl goes from place to place changing herself into whatever she thinks is cool, or what will sell. She has an average voice & she grew up meeting some country stars b/c her Dad was flavor artist of the month. Also using Shelton as your go to guide to country now is laugh out loud funny. He is so LA they will become besties out West. Talk about going to the most generic unoriginal artist just out to make a buck & releasing disposable music … he is your guy- good luck in that one Miley.
May 6, 2017 @ 10:26 am
Miley does Miley. She’s much smarter/savior about music and the industry then people give her credit for. She seems totally uninterested in doing the write with 5 people & work with a mega-producer thing, so my guess is this will end up in the pop-Americana lane that lady Gaga hit with her last album.
But I mean she was 21 and now she’s 24, so it’s not that surprising that she’d change & maybe go less for shock. And if she ever does go country, and says she grew up with country – it’ll be accurate…& possibly very good.
May 6, 2017 @ 11:06 am
Miley Cyrus is going to be the ‘savior’ now?
May 6, 2017 @ 12:56 pm
Dude was trying to say savvier, which I’m not sure is even a word.
The Goddess of Country Rock
May 6, 2017 @ 2:24 pm
It’s a word. 🙂
May 6, 2017 @ 3:42 pm
Er yeah savvy, not savior …. typing on a smartphone (don’t believe anyone is the savior of country music….stupid idea).
May 6, 2017 @ 10:52 am
I’m not the world’s biggest Miley fan, I’m not even really a Miley fan at all. But the cover she done a few years ago of “Jolene” was actually quite good. I’d be interested to see a Miley country project, however. It would be unique and original, that’s for sure, and more country than Sam Hunt (sorry, I had to). It would also be better than Kelsea Ballerini.
May 6, 2017 @ 11:15 am
Who is this hooker and why is she getting press time on here?
May 11, 2017 @ 8:59 am
May 6, 2017 @ 1:25 pm
She is flighty like the wind.
Keep her out of the genre.
May 6, 2017 @ 1:27 pm
Miley would be more country than 90% of mainstream country now. Heck, even her 2013 pop album was more “country” than Sam Hunt’s latest.
May 6, 2017 @ 1:52 pm
You know , its once in a blue moon I’ll turn on the local ”country” station now up here in Vancouver BC and I have to say that as bad as it was 2 years back its exponentially worse . It’s ALL like the Sam Hunt piece of crap song…all trying to copy that pop thing ( handclaps , drum loops etc.. ) with the lyrics getting more and more dumbed- down , redundant and immature by the song , it seems .THAT is the worst thing about a song becoming popular across the board ( Kruise Kids , LB, Hunt etc..) )…..EVERYbody seems forced to copy it and no one looking for mainstream success with a label deal gets to deviate THIS much from that mindset ( plan of attack ). Its disappointingly predictable trend-chasing uninspiring spoon- fed swill for the unknowing/uncaring masses and seems to become more-so all the time ( up here anyway ) . All the Canadian acts copy the WORST of the American acts in order to sound contemporary and end up sounding like crap imitations of something that was crappy in the first place . And THEN , the Canadian mainstream acts wonder why they don’t get any airplay in the States ! Shit …its so generic by the time it gets pitched back to the powers that be in Twangtown that is beyond laughable !
I hate that shit music can put me in this state of mind …and now my bloody coffee is cold .
May 6, 2017 @ 1:54 pm
……and where the hell is Stud the Dud when you need him ?….he was supposed to bring the donuts today !!
May 6, 2017 @ 2:20 pm
I told him to stay off my lawn!
May 6, 2017 @ 1:58 pm
“Miley Sings Billy Ray.” Soon available where all records and tapes are sold.
May 6, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
good thoughts, Trigger. i read one of those articles just the other day – i think the same day you had your John Mayer post up.
i’m not a huge fan – or any level of fan – of hers but she does seem talented and something… maybe a certain level of sincerity to her actions… she doesn’t seem overly concerned with being what people want her to be. so that honesty is refreshing.
May 6, 2017 @ 2:27 pm
Still more country than Sam Hunt.
She’s got a great voice, and I think Wrecking Ball was awesome. Now if she can get out of her head and stop chasing trends, she could do something great.
May 6, 2017 @ 2:52 pm
I think she call her new stuff ‘rootsy’ not out of respect for country music, but to sound artsy and respectable, which country music isn’t. She always tried to go country with ‘The Climb’ and then hit back at the country audience when it flopped. She probably will go country at some point, if only because that’s where her dad came from.
Cool Lester Smooth
May 6, 2017 @ 2:57 pm
She can definitely sing, and all the twerking crap from a couple years ago was actually a very savvy way to break out of the “Hannah Montana” box she risked being trapped in as a former Disney star.
I’m actually interested in a rootsy, singer-songwriter style album from her.
Because, at the end of the day, I don’t give a flying fuck about someone’s personality, or their “authenticity,” if the music’s good.
May 6, 2017 @ 6:20 pm
Meh, I think she could have distanced herself from the Disney teenybopper thing in many ways better than all that ridiculous bullshit she was into. I mean, I’m not moralizing regarding her behavior at all, I just don’t think I’d classify it as a sly like a fox kind of move.
May 7, 2017 @ 3:15 am
Agreed Stephanie. I think what we saw was a young lady who got into the entertainment business at a very young age and had agents and producers and parents all controlling her image and every move. She finally had her rebellious, fuck everybody, I’ll do what I want and if it offends anybody all the better freakout when she was finished with the Disney show and starting to have more control over her life. Most kids go through that around 14-16 or so but she did it later and on the public stage. I think the older and wiser she becomes she could actually write a good country/rootsy/ Americana type record. For all the nonsense surrounding Miley one fact doesn’t change. The girl can sing.
Cool Lester Smooth
May 7, 2017 @ 5:07 pm
There were probably better ways…but that ridiculous bullshit was *definitely* a rebranding move.
She went all the way to the other extreme…and now she can do whatever the hell she wants.
May 6, 2017 @ 7:07 pm
It’s interesting to see how time has started to help rehabilitate someone who for the past few years had been perceived as one of the black sheep of the Nashville family. Five years ago the media narrative was Taylor good, Miley bad. People from talking heads on TV shows, to middle aged moms, to politicians seemed eager to eat up Taylor’s carefully manufactured persona which exuded an air of self importance, in an Obamaesque, we-are-the-ones-we’ve-been-waiting-for kind of way. And meanwhile Miley was subjected to the same kind of treatment directed at LeAnn Rimes about 10 years earlier when she had rebelled against the goody-goody image of her mid teens and had been branded as a fallen angel.
But time heals a lot of negative feelings, and Nashville tends to have a way of welcoming its black sheep back into the family, warts and all. Another unfortunate factor is that country radio has deteriorated so much in recent years that acts like Miley no longer seem quite as objectionable by comparison. As an avid outdoorsman myself, I used to pillory “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus as the worst climbing song ever. But damned if I thought I would say this, it would actually be a slight improvement over most of Kelsea’s songs. And yes I think you have a point that it might have been smart for her to break out of the Disney mold at age 16-18, rather than hold onto it into her 20s until her star fades because the innocent girl act starts to look ridiculous.
May 6, 2017 @ 6:16 pm
I’m confused by all the comments saying “it’ll probably be pretty good. Better than other stuff on country radio.”
I don’t know a lot about Miley, and I actually really like that cover of Jolene a lot, but what indication is there that her foray into Country would be any better than, say, Steven Tyler (whose past music I also mostly like.)?
May 6, 2017 @ 10:00 pm
Exactly my thoughts. I don’t get how this twerking, sex-crazed maniac is somehow better than, like you said, Steven Tyler. A good voice is’nt everything.(We learned that from Kane Brown)
May 7, 2017 @ 4:31 am
Because unlike Steven Tyler she actually has a background and a history with country music. Even though her dad is who he is she still grew up around country music and Dolly is her godmother so she at least has some connections to it that leave some hope that a future move to country music wouldn’t be half bad.
May 7, 2017 @ 9:48 am
Luke Bryan says that he grew up with nothing but country, and doing nothing but farm work, and you can see how country his music is.
May 7, 2017 @ 10:17 am
It is not unusual for artists who came from a country background to record pop music. Many young people from rural areas and small towns move to cities in search of economic opportunities, thus it is not surprising that many country performers look for opportunities in pop music. Also I would think that many entertainers who are extroverts and want to be around a lot of people would probably be happier living in a city. From my perspective I would have thought that folks who choose to live out in the country would tend to prefer a simpler and quieter lifestyle, thus it seems out of place to hear so many songs about parties on country stations. But then again I don’t think the performers had a choice about where they were born and raised.
I think there have always been differences in perspective among country’s audience, between the young people who aspire to move to the city, make more money, and be more like the cool people they see on TV shows, and the folks who love rural America and never want to leave. The first group has dominated mainstream country in recent years, and in real life it probably also represents the views of the majority of young people in middle America. The second group represents a demographic which is older, more conservative, and more introverted (i.e. people over 40 who are still living in rural areas typically aren’t trying to move to the big city, and don’t want to). Anyway I expect Nashville to continue to cater to the younger group for the foreseeable future, given the economics of the industry.
May 6, 2017 @ 8:20 pm
“Dolly Parton is my fucking godmother”
LOL, and not in a good way
May 6, 2017 @ 8:57 pm
I love her cover of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and have said many times that she doesn’t need the crazy antics and overbearing production to carry a song. She’s got a great voice, and if her new album is roots (or even just an acoustic, singer-songwriter thing) color me interested
May 7, 2017 @ 4:01 pm
Amen. I’ve been a fan of Miley’s since she was on Hannah Montana. This is the Miley I’ve always wanted her to be.
May 7, 2017 @ 8:34 am
Just came here to say what Warthog just said.
May 7, 2017 @ 9:58 am
The lead single is going to be “Hoedown Throwdown Revisted,” you heard it here first
sweet on stuart
May 7, 2017 @ 3:47 pm
Wanting to repeat what Warthog and Kelcy said. The Dylan cover was pretty damn good so she has it in her to make a more acoustic type of music. I say let us just wait for her product to come out and then we can talk about her cred.
May 8, 2017 @ 10:56 am
I actually respect Miley Cyrus a great deal because, as ostentatious and polarizing as her antics are and the in-your-face marketing is at stark odds with the lack thereof of the traditional country music community…………….I can buy that she is doing her own thing and seldom bows to peer pressure.
I definitely don’t want her in country music, and I gather even she has no desire to court country radio. But I genuinely respect her as a person similar to how I respect Ke$ha: whose music may not be my cup of tea per se, but have a sincerity that is refreshing.
May 8, 2017 @ 10:48 pm
Miley is talented period… It’s fine for Taylor Swift to go pop after her good girl bullshit image changed… Miley is worth 300 million so obviously the girl knows the music industry what ever genre so give credit when it’s due!
May 8, 2017 @ 10:49 pm
If like to see her do another movie.
May 9, 2017 @ 7:16 am
However you may feel about Miley as a person, she is incredibly talented. If she does release country material, which I agree with Trigger is just a matter of when, then it could have the positive effect of driving female artists on the radio. While I would love to see that honor go to someone like Ashley Monroe or Brandy Clark, Miley has the high profile to do it.
After Miley becomes uninterested in country music, she may trash it, just like she did to hip-hop, though, and move on to the next thing. She seems to be an artist that can and will play in multiple genres.
May 10, 2017 @ 7:55 pm
Amid all this publicity for Miley Cyrus and speculation about her country music career, the real news got overlooked in this article folks, which is Miley telling us her dad got out of country music! Damn, when did that happen, tell me it isn’t so, I like that guy. I have been eagarly hoping for a Cyrus “Sweet as Pie” comeback LP, so I guess that’s not gonna happen now, life goals crushed.
August 3, 2017 @ 1:11 am
You know I gotta say over the years I have enjoyed lots of different types of music and artists! Miley Cyrus though, very different than most. Maybe some might chalk her differentness to her still just trying to find herself! Maybe that’s true only she could answer that, but I don’t think that’s the case! Yes she’s different, but in a good way. I really believe she is a role model, and a inspiration to all! Some can’t see past the fact that she was once a young actress playing the role of Hanna Montana! What I believe most haven’t realized she not just acting/ singing for us all. she has done much more than just that! Something I feel not all/many have done for us all, she has truly opened herself to all. Sharing a piece of her true self with us all! The way she she just feels like she’s saying to us all take me as I am except me/ love me, for not hiding behind my own skin! Her passion/dedication is what is so inspirational, she’s a very great role model to us all in my book! Teaching children/ teens to love their selves. Like Alesia cara sings, scars to your beautiful, and I quote ( You don’t have to change a thing the world can change their hearts)so yes I believe she is one to look up to to admire! That’s something I feel we all should give our respect to her for! Maybe than others that might struggle to understand her will see her as I do, as I believe she feels the same way about the way she sees herself. She’s a wonderful artist/actress, I just can’t wait to see what else she has to share with us all! Miley you just keep being yourself nothing more nothing less just that! You’re awesome!!!👍