Sufjan Stevens Critiques Miley Cyrus's Grammar, But What Else Did the 'Bangerz' Singer Get Wrong?
For some weird reason, it seems like today is the day for surprising celebrity letters. While Sir Anthony Hopkins was expressing his love for Breaking Bad in a letter to Bryan Cranston, singer Sufjan Stevens wrote an open letter to Miley Cyrus critiquing her grammar on Bangerz. "Dear Miley," it reads. "I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time."
But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan.
Well, then. It's not known whether Stevens really has an issue with Cyrus' mastery of the English language or is just jealous of Sinead O'Connor, but regardless of the reason, the letter is pretty great. It got us thinking, though; if there are so many grammar issues just in "Get it Right," what other mistakes did Cyrus make on Bangerz?
It turns out, not too many. Surprisingly, despite Cyrus' love for creating words of of the blue (seriously, "bangerz" is not going to happen), most of the album is actually relatively correct, grammatically speaking. The few mistakes that do happen are relegated mostly to one song, the album's biggest hit, "We Can't Stop." Between "we don't take nothing from nobody" and "shaking it like we at a strip club," the track is full of missing helping verbs and misused words.
Like Sufjan, though, we feel a need to connect Cyrus' other few mistakes, such as:
Miley lyric: 'Cause we gon' make a movie, a movie, and it's gon' be in 3D, in 3D"
"Fixed" lyric: "Because we are going to make a movie, and it is going to be in 3-D"
"Love Money Party"
Miley lyric: "I done been through the fire, I done been the girl on the side, imma leave it all on the line"
"Fixed" lyric: "I have been through the fire. I have been the girl on the side. I will leave it all on the line"
"Do My Thang"
Miley lyric: "We tear the roof up now we up out of here"
"Fixed" lyric: "We are tearing the roof up now, and we are up and out of here"
Miley lyric: "We done been there, we done been back, you ain't with it, could've said that, why you tripping"
"Fixed" lyric: We have been there. We have been back. You aren't with it. You could've said that. Why are you tripping?"
Still, it's easy to see that many of Cyrus' grammatical errors are there for a reason. A lot of those lines wouldn't sound nearly as good worded differently, and the occasional "I done" or "we at" makes a big impact. So, Miley, you win this round of open letter. Just make sure that when you respond to Sufjan, everything's grammatically correct; nothing looks worse than proving your critic's point with an accidental "ain't."