Shock and outrage aren’t what they used to be
A young singer appears on national television and critics slam the performance, citing a lack of musical originality and calling it vulgar.
Miley Cyrus? No. Elvis Presley in 1956.
He gyrated and moved his hips to the driving rock and roll rhythms. Look away, children!
The difference is, Elvis was considered dangerous. Hugely popular. The old fogeys who despised rock and roll figured the fad would fade and Bing Crosby and Perry Como would return to the top of the pop charts. They claimed Elvis was talentless, but music fans knew better.
Miley is not Elvis Presley. She’s not even Lisa Marie Presley. She will always be Hannah Montana, created and promoted by the mighty Disney PR machine. Hannah Montana will outlive anything Cyrus does as an adult.
Unless she becomes a serial killer or shoots Bono.
Miley’s performance on the MTV Music Video Awards (they still run videos? I thought it was the network of The Real World and Snooki) will fade quickly. Sorry, but pretending to be humped or giving a BJ to a styrofoam finger only seems shocking because media folks who don’t have the time or interest to investigate meaningful stories want us to be outraged.
Most of us weren’t.
A so-so singer and actress sexes it up on a network that hasn’t mattered since the days when internet was only accessible through a dial-up network. If you’re going to be outrageous, you need something to back it up with, namely talent. Britney had hit songs. Christina had a big voice. Lady Ga Ga has legions of fans who love her music.
In 1956, pretty much anyone with a TV saw Presley and his songs were all over the radio. Today, MTV is lost in a sea of hundreds of channels. I was watching Dexter. It’s a similar story in the music business. If we go way back to the fall of 1998, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was everywhere. There was no escaping it. In 2013, it’s possible for the #1 song in America to be a tune many Americans haven’t heard.
In 1992, another number stormed to the top of the charts and try as we might (and God knows we gave it our best shot) we could not outrun “Achy Breaky Heart,” recorded by the man now known as Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus.
Achy Breaky Heart won’t outlive Elvis the Pelvis but it will remain a part of pop culture long after Miley’s recent romp on TV.
Will it outlast Hannah Montana? That’s a toss-up.