In this week's issue of Billboard, cover star Miley Cyrus gives a lengthy, fascinating interview, focusing on her musical evolution from Disney country star to the voice behind songs that include lines like "shaking it like we at the strip club." When discussing several of the songs featured on her yet-to-be-titled upcoming album, Cyrus said this:
"A lot of people wanted to try to make me the white Nicki Minaj... that's not what I'm trying to do. I love 'hood' music, but my talent is as a singer."
Several people have already taken issue with this statement, accusing Cyrus of using "hood culture" for her own amusement, as an easy way to make viral videos and increase her street cred. I don't disagree with them, but what's interesting is that it seems Cyrus is afraid to completely separate herself from the type of music that made her famous. For every song about strip clubs and drugs, there's one designed to show off her "country twang." Surprisingly, Cyrus, a star whose spiky hair, racy photoshoots, and mature relationships all signify separation from the Disney image, still hasn't made the leap in one key aspect of her image: her music.
Exactly why this is is unclear, as I'd assume Cyrus wants nothing more than to dissociate herself from her child star days. She's already made major changes to her appearance — which has evolved quickly from safe and cute to daring and risqué — and her personal life, with casual dating morphing into a mature relationship, and now engagement (maybe), to Liam Hemsworth. It'd seem that the next logical step in her transformation from Disney star to legitimate artist would be to alter the type of music she released. Yet "We Can't Stop," while sporting some R-rated lines, doesn't exactly scream "ADULT!," and upcoming songs such as "Stand by Me," described as "a big feel-good, stadium, Super Bowl-sounding record," don't sound radically different from anything we'd expect from Cyrus. Her new music, while perhaps slightly edgier than her past releases, doesn't indicate the type of change we'd predict from someone as determined as she seems to be to make "Miley 2.0" happen.
Compared to her former Disney rivals Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, Cyrus would appear to have made enormous leaps in her efforts to separate herself from the empire. Maybe this is true — Gomez still makes light, easy songs, and Lovato's girl-power anthems aren't stretching limits — but it still doesn't explain why Cyrus has barely tip-toed into the adult world musically. Perhaps the changes in her appearance and personal life were difficult for the singer to undergo, or maybe she just really likes country music, and doesn't want to say goodbye just yet. That's all fine, but we figured Cyrus would be itching to put her Disney days behind her, and we're just surprised that hasn't totally happened, at least yet. It's still early, though, and come the fall, Cyrus' full album may prove us wrong. We'll just have to wait and see.