1. “Wrecking Ball,” the song and the video start promisingly enough. There’s a tight close-up of Miley Cyrus’s face framed by a white background, a stuttering piano riff, and a Miley vocal that wears shades of grey, Regina Spektor-style loveliness. Thankfully, she’s ditched the Rihanna affections of “We Can’t Stop” for something that sounds more real and honest. But then the delicate beauty morphs into standard-issue girl pop-rock on the chorus. Yawn. It’s time for Dr. Luke, Katy Perry’s frequent co-writer and producer who has already overused this scheme on Katy and is now testing it on Miley, to conjure up some new musical ideas. As for Miley, she should leave the whisper-to-a-scream bit to Kelly Clarkson, who has already overused it, too, but still executes it with a lot more finesse. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes Miley’s first No. 1 single.
2. Miley’s hair looks pretty good, her minimal make-up is flawless, and I love her white nail polish, but she simply is not sexy. She’s like the opposite of a really heavy woman who stuffs herself into size 1 clothing because she suffers from delusions of hotness: When she looks in the mirror she sees someone who is several sizes smaller than she actually is, and she doesn’t notice the rolls hanging over the side of her clothing. I don’t know what Miley sees when she looks in the mirror, but I’ll tell her the same thing I’ve been telling Lady Gaga for several years now: “Thin does NOT equal sexy.”
3. Miley actually looks better out of clothes than she does in them! But then, she does straddle that wrecking ball from the most flattering angles. And thankfully, she has the restraint not to let us see too much, though, if she had, would the controversy that certainly would have ensued been justified? If Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake can surround themselves with topless women and earn millions of YouTube views, and in the case of Thicke, a massive hit single, why can’t a female star undress herself in her own video? It’s not like it hasn’t been done before by a male star: See D’Angelo, who didn’t wear a stitch of clothing in his 2000 “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” video and probably owes the No. 1 debut of his album Voodoo to his impossibly well-manicured pectorals and six-pack.
4. Did Vogue really cancel a planned upcoming Miley Cyrus cover because editor-in-chief Anna Wintour found her publicity antics a bit too racy? It depends on which celebrity magazine/website you pay attention to, but I will say this: Don’t you have to actually wear clothing to be considered a fashion icon?
5. If Miley is serious about blossoming into a truly sexy adult pop star, after gaining a little bit of weight, she should probably study another Kelly: Rowland, whose 2011 “Motivation” video is the best example I’ve seen yet of how to tastefully evolve from pop star next door into a sexy siren of song. Rowland pushed the envelope just low low low enough that we didn’t see anything that we didn’t need/want to see. Of course, it helps that Rowland was already a sexy grown woman, and “Motivation,” like D’Angelo’s “Untitled,” would have sounded great with or without a body-baring star singing it.
5 1/2. Speaking of “Wrecking Ball,” instead of being pounded with Miley’s (and her sexual awakening), I’d rather let the gorgeousness of Emmylou Harris’s roll all over me.