Like a lot of people, I didn't really start paying attention to Miley Cyrus
until the 2013 album, Bangerz.
This is, of course, also the era of the Robin Thicke
VMA debacle that garnered insane amounts of criticism and outrage from pearl-clutching critics. It also got a lot of warranted flack for the whole issue of appropriating hip-hop culture.
Miley's presence in the media at that time was nothing but controversy. It opened up a lot of conversation about what is right, what is wrong, what is appropriate and what is downright unacceptable. My alma mater, Skidmore College, even got a little bit of media buzz by offering a course to fully unpack Miley Cyrus and her impact on the media. I can only imagine what that particular class must have entailed. Liberal arts and tens of thousands in student debt at its finest.
But as all this was happening, Miley was also putting together the Happy Hippie Foundation
, which was founded in 2014. There's no arguing that she has been a great advocate for human rights. The foundation has become a completely unique source for LGBTQ and homeless youth.
The fact of the matter is that we are still paying attention to Miley. Even on this new album, Younger Now,
which is, for the most part, pretty dull and destined to sink into oblivion in due time, there are a few stubborn reasons to listen.
Tell me that you didn't play "Malibu" on repeat while you went on those 5-mile pre-work runs (jogs/walks) at least a couple times when the single came out. That song was a breezy summer jam for the ages. @ me, I will stand by that statement.
Tell me that the video for "Younger Now" isn't downright adorable and objectively gorgeous, thanks to the costumes, pointed nostalgia, and the choice to use middle-aged dancers (suck it, ageism).
I dare you to tell me that that voicemail from her Godmother, Dolly Parton, didn't give the song "Rainbowland" some extra points, kitsch and all. Besides, Dolly can do no wrong. None!
Now that Miley's solidified her foundation as a media staple and is making a difference in the areas that matter, I, personally, will give her the leeway to put out a mostly forgettable album. I am not atoning her for her missteps, but she's done her fair share of pop hits and glitter-covered head-scratchers.
Her cover of Godmom's "Jolene" will be her peak until further notice, anyway, as far as I'm concerned.