Given that Miley Cyrus has spent the past few months twerking in onesies, posing for photo shoots that include fashion credits like “briefs (worn as top)” and performing alongside topless dancers at something called “Christmas Creampies,” one couldn’t help but wonder what she’d do for an encore.
Well, on Wednesday (June 19), we found out, as Cyrus unveiled her Diane Martel-directed music video for “We Can’t Stop.” It’s a clip from a former ’tween queen in the midst of shedding her good-girl image and it’s bound to raise some eyebrows. Scandalous, sexualized and strident, full of party-hearty sentiments and barely-there sartorial flair, it may be shocking, but it’s not as if Miley hadn’t been telegraphing this transformation since at least 2012.
So, yes, Miley pops in some grills, mean-mugs for the camera, sprawls out on the floor and shakes it all over the place. Of course, she twerks — she is justifiably proud of her twerking abilities — and drags around taxidermied animals and hangs out with a crew of of skuzzy partygoers.
She makes naughty hand gestures and wrestles with her pals and, at one point, appears to get kicked in the head. By the end, she’s resting out atop a lanky dude’s torso.
In short, “We Can’t Stop” is a self-designed Declaration of Independence, the kind Madonna first inked back in the 1980s, and various pop stars have been adding their signatures to ever since.
On the other hand, “We Can’t Stop” may actually be a brilliant bit of self-parody, a clip where Miley pokes holes in her newly minted status as both a party girl and a sex symbol. If that’s the case, that would explain some of its thoroughly WTF moments — Miley’s oversize Teddy Bear backpack, a skull made entirely of French fries, a scene where fake fingers are amputated and pink paint comes gloriously gushing forth.
That notion might also explain why it recalls classic videos like Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” not to mention the candy-colored excess of filmmakers like Harmony Korine and Gregg Araki.
I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s at least a working theory. With “We Can’t Stop,” Miley’s clearly saying something, exactly what is up to your interpretation. Growing up is hard to do, after all.