Miley Cyrus’ Crazy Antics Continue, But Her “Nightmare” Is Tame (Review)


Screen Shot of Miley Cyrus Twerking on Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV VMAs (MTV)

For all the fanfare of a recent NSFW spread for Paper Magazine (remember when Kim Kardashian broke the internet?), Miley Cyrus’ new song, entitled “Nightmare,” is much more conservative than one might envision. No “dancing with Molly” (“We Can’t Stop”) or coming in “like a wrecking ball” (“Wrecking Ball”) this time. Nope, just simply “trying, to wake up from this / from this nightmare / where everything is, in its right place / but you’re not there, no you’re not there.” However, can’t you totally envision Cyrus coming up with some way to over sexualize and violate “Nightmare” when/should the music video clip bow?

Cyrus seems to be all about the shock value and two years after Bangerz, she wants to thrive off that same shock value that made that project such a success. The question is, will it work for a second time? Yes, controversy piques interest, but overdoing controversy or trying to be more or too controversial can also have the adverse effect. Personally, Miley’s antics are growing much more annoying as opposed to endearing. Still because all press is press, the over sexualized sensation that Miley Cyrus in her current form has become is achieving exactly what she wants.

Miley Cyrus in "Adore You" music video © RCA


But this isn’t about really about Cyrus’ numerous antics, whether it’s the masturbatory sentiment of “Adore,” twerking on doghouse-bound Robin Thicke, or that scandalous, giant penis at the G.A.Y. Club. No, while all those are truly “something,” let’s strip (no pun intended) the gloss and raunchiness and merely examine how “Nightmare” adds up. As aforementioned, personally, nothing about “Nightmare” screams a reinvention or rebooted Miley as far as her second liberated foray is concerned. But then again, “Wrecking Ball” became over sensationalized because of the video clip as opposed to the song itself, which is much more respectable.

Screen Shot From Miley Cyrus' Performance of "We Can't Stop" at 2013 MTV VMAs (MTV)

So here goes nothing. On the first verse, Cyrus is literally dreaming, singing, “In this dream I never see your face / I’m just a step behind.” On the pre-chorus, she’s distraught, adding, “I woke up in a broken dream / with no one lying next to me / It’s not how it’s supposed to be / so why’d you have to go?” So basically, he’s not there, so the chorus confirms the “nightmare” she’s experiencing, as referenced in paragraph one – “But you’re not there.” Verse two offers more of the same fare – “Table’s set for two, but it’s a wasted” and “The quiet’s getting loud” – while the bridge elevates the drama to new heights, capped off by key lyric, “Scared to death but I’m only dreaming.”

Ultimately, the script is predictable – you know exactly where Cyrus is going to from the beginning. This doesn’t make “Nightmare” bad and in a way, it is almost atonement fro Cyrus’ coarse image. That said “Nightmare” is no real extension of Cyrus’ edge that she possessed on Bangerz unless she manages to provide that extra oomph and bite through her antics. One thing’s for sure though – Miley Cyrus is predictably unpredictable.

★★★½

Video screen shots © RCA (“wrecking ball” & “Adore You” music videos) & © MTV (2013 VMA – Miley CYRUS & Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performances).
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