Did I just watch an advertisement for Free People? Or maybe it was a promo for TeenVogue? No, that was Miley Cyrus with her new single ‘Malibu’, and boy have I heard this song everywhere. She first performed it at Wango Tango, and then the appearances just kept coming. I heard her perform it on z100, saw her perform it on the Billboard Music Awards and The Voice season finale. She performed it at the Robin Hood New York Benefit, and she literally took over NBC for one day as she hopped from studio to studio to promote, you guessed it, ‘Malibu’. Her mother and sister are even getting their own TV-show on Bravo, and her youngest sister Noah Cyrus, has been doing quite well on the Top-40 charts. The Cyrus clan is everywhere. But it just makes me think, what on earth is Miley’s marketing/PR team thinking? This over-saturation of ‘the new Miley’ is getting nauseating. Don’t get me wrong, I think this new re-brand is important for her, but to perform this one song wherever she can just seems weird. Where is the innovation? We saw Ed Sheeran release two singles until the album was released (don’t even get me started on how brilliant that supremely planned marketing plan was-- for another blog post). Harry Styles also released two singles, before soon thereafter releasing his album. I mean even Katy Perry is going around the circuit with her two new songs ‘Swish’ and ‘Bon Appetit’. But Katy Perry had her appearance on Saturday Night Live, performed her two songs, and hasn’t really performed the songs otherwise (except at the Met Gala, but that doesn’t really count due to exclusivity). She has certainly been doing the interview circuits, but at least we aren’t seeing her whenever we turn on the TV. Plus, the only reason why Perry is doing the circuit is because her upcoming album has already been announced, so there is reason to build up excitement. For Miley, we have no idea when the album is actually going to come out, and why we are just latching onto this one single.
So now is the point of this post where I’m going to heavily critique the song, so if you are a Miley fan, or just a fan of the song, just skip over this paragraph (or don’t).
First, let me just say that I’ve been a Miley supporter for quite some time. I’m not saying I’m a fan, but I didn’t really think that her Wrecking Ball phase was all that bad (some would disagree). Then she had her social media blackout, which is becoming the cool thing for pop artists to take part in, and now she is back as the free-spirited Hannah Montana -- er, I mean Miley Cyrus. Ever since ‘new Miley’, I have never seen so many news publications describe her as the “former Hannah Montana star”. Anyways, the song. My first reaction to it? Were they recording her when she was doing a vocal warm-up? The song is lacking substance, and there is nothing really to write home about. But all of this is really fine! It’s just.. Why would her PR team be using this lackluster song for her to perform at any and every public appearance? I get that this song is hardcore promoting the new bohemian Miley, but why aren’t we focusing on jaw-dropping vocals? Why are we just focusing on personal brand? Imagine if the song was vocally jaw-dropping, and the re-branding was happening at the same time. I truly think the public’s critique of her would be less harsh.
But the criticism keeps rolling in. Maybe because this is the second time she has gone through a re-brand in such a short time. First it was the transition from Disney to ‘twerk’-on-Robin-Thicke-on-National-TV, and now we are at the second transition. (I am cutting out the part when she just went full-on rock-n’-roll and we kind-of just let her be.) Maybe the critique is harsh because here is another woman that our society tends to push to the side and lets the male super-stars remain in the spotlight. Or maybe old Miley’s reputation still sticks with her, regardless of how many times she sings about how much she just loves Malibu.
I just don’t understand why the constant performance of this one song. Where are the other songs to promote? Where is the album? Miley Cyrus has left me with a lot of questions about her marketing team’s ambitions, and has left the tourism bureau of Malibu with a surplus of money.