Miley Cyrus Might Be the New Marnie Michaels

The world's most famous lips and tongue are coming together for a song, as Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus recorded "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" together this past Saturday night. Before you get on your high horses to denounce this as "sacrilege" and "the butchering of a beloved tune," let's remember that both Coyne and Cyrus have the musical chops to pull this off. Coyne has been performing with the The Flaming Lips since 1983, and they often work psychedelic elements into their shows. Not to be outdone, Cyrus has sung about "dancing with Molly," which is not the cute American Girl pastime our mothers want us to emulate. In short, they have the twang and the funky vibe to actually pay homage to The Beatles' famous song, which was allegedly inspired by a number of acid trips. Snopes will have us know, however, that John Lennon apparently named the song after a drawing his son did of a classmate, Lucy O'Donnell. The fact that the first letters of each word spell out L(it)S(w)D, however, appears to have been a magical coincidence. The kind that you can look at afterwards and say, "whoa, man. Trippy."

So, what's the worst that could happen in this collaboration to cover a popular Beatles song? Marnie Michaels. That's right, the Girls character's cover of Edie Brickell's "What I Am" may be the closest musical relation to the worst possible version of what Cyrus and Coyne are attempting. Here's Brickell performing the original.

What Marnie does in Girls is "modernize" a song that's already a wry commentary by cranking up the auto tune until she sounds like C3P0. When she sings, "I'm not aware of too many things," it's utterly believable, whereas Brickell sings it with a sense of jaded complacency.

That being said, Marnie's version is my favorite. It is a tribute to insecurity. Every choreographed chest pound or split-screen booty-shake is, in true Girls fashion, calculated to induce maximum psychological agony. This thirty-second clip is the musical equivalent of getting a perfect zero on the SATs. You have to really try to be this bad. That, then, is the genius of the show: here is Marnie's soul, uncovered to the masses on YouTube, and it is a pathetic, scrabbling ploy for fame without any emotional bedrock.

That's why, in comparison, Cyrus and Coyne can't land too far off the mark. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is more about setting forth on a chemical-induced adventure than exploring a personal world-view. As long as the two managed to capture the out-of-body quality that The Beatles wrote into the song, they will have carried on in the spirit of their English predecessors. Apparently, the two were "flying high" as they made the recording, so all is well in the diamond-studded sky. Marnie is still a testament to the worst possible way to do a cover, but Miley has a chance to actually score a 1200 or above. And who knows? Molly might make a guest appearance.