Miley Cyrus is experimenting. She's experimenting with fashion, performance styles, and recently with genre. On Friday, she posted a link on her Twitter to a SoundCloud cover of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," which she's inexplicably tweaked to "Baby, I'm Gonna Leave You."
As Rolling Stone succinctly explains, Led Zeppelin did not originate the song, but Cyrus's cover is a clear reference to the band. And despite what SoundCloud commenters say, I think it's pretty good. One of the main problems that arise when young artists cover more experienced bands is that the lack of emotional depth is often apparent. But in a song that requires both contemplative whispering and hysterical shouting, Cyrus rises to the challenge, as should make sense to anyone who has heard "Wrecking Ball."
Cyrus catches a lot of flack on a daily basis, and this post is no different. Many commenters complain that she has butchered the song, which seems like an extreme criticism for a very faithful cover. Cyrus is an easy target, as is any pop star who covers the classics. Cyrus is exploring her identity, both as a musician and a celebrity. She's paid tribute to the classics in some of her recent Instagram posts, and her attitude is certainly respectful. I hope that the public can to a certain extent get over their initial attitudes toward Cyrus and pay attention to serious efforts at making good music. It's difficult for celebrities to grow, and I respect Miley for making her growth so public.
And here's Led Zeppelin's original.