Miley Cyrus: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Miley CyrusDue to the multi-layered and largely cryptic messages used by musical sensation Miley Cyrus* in her compositions, I’ve decided to provide a Rosetta-Stone-esque primer for one of her songs: “Party in the U.S.A.”   This thought-provoking piece has had me ensnared by its complex lyrics since I first heard it last spring.**

Countless hours of work spent deciphering “Party in the U.S.A.” have paid off, as I proudly present the lyrical analysis you see below.  My one and only hope is that it will make Cyrus’ often enigmatic music more accessible to a wider audience, helping to bring her songs out of hipster cafes and upper-level music theory classes and into the mainstream.

Here, now, a narrative explanation of “Party in the U.S.A.”

I arrived in the Los Angeles International Airport with my career aspirations (and a sweater that buttons down the front) in tow.  I realized immediately that this city puts a premium on notoriety and indulgence.  That realization sparked feelings of insecurity as to my ability to conform to the expectations of the local sub-culture.

I took a taxi from the airport, noticing the iconic “Hollywood” sign on my right as I made my way to my destination.  I felt a bit overwhelmed, particularly by the ubiquitousness of celebrities.

Suddenly, I realize that I’m actually nauseated by the stress of my new environs.  What I wouldn’t give to be back home at this very moment.  Fortunately for me, the cab driver decided to turn on his car stereo, and a Jay-Z song was playing.  A Jay-Z song was playing.  Just to reiterate: a Jay-Z song was playing.

I begin to dance to the music in recognition of the fact that the song in question has an emotional connection to me.  It reminds me of home and assuages my fears and self-doubts.  My head bobs and my feet move in time with the beat.  I am reassured by this music.  This is a celebration of a uniquely American character.  Indeed, this is a celebration of a uniquely American character.

When the cab arrived at the night club, I felt the judgmental stares of the Angelinos the moment I passed through their collective field of vision, their attention settling on my questionable footwear.  They realized instantly that I was an outsider.

What a difficult night this will be without my friends from back home.  I would feel so much safer were this party on my turf.  Unlike me, all the women here are wearing stiletto heels.  Word about this aspect of the L. A. dress code apparently didn’t reach me in time.

I once again feel nauseated by a stressful situation.  What I wouldn’t give to be back home right now.  Fortunately for me, the club’s disc jockey played a Britney Spears song.  He played a Britney Spears song.  In case I haven’t made this clear, he played a Britney Spears song.

I begin to dance to the music in recognition of the fact that the song in question has an emotional connection to me.  It reminds me of home and assuages my fears and self-doubts.  My head bobs and my feet move in time with the beat.  I am reassured by this music.  This is a celebration of a uniquely American character.  Indeed, this is a celebration of a uniquely American character.

Despite all the foregoing, I nonetheless continue to long for a return flight home.  That is, of course, until I hear a familiar song again, at which point I return to some feeling of normalcy.

I begin to dance to the music in recognition of the fact that the song in question has an emotional connection to me.  It reminds me of home and assuages my fears and self-doubts.  My head bobs and my feet move in time with the beat.  I am reassured by this music.  This is a celebration of a uniquely American character.  Indeed, this is a celebration of a uniquely American character.

I begin to dance to the music in recognition of the fact that the song in question has an emotional connection to me.  It reminds me of home and assuages my fears and self-doubts.  My head bobs and my feet move in time with the beat.  I am reassured by this music.  This is a celebration of a uniquely American character.  Indeed, this is a celebration of a uniquely American character.

__________________________________

*Cyrus is the daughter of legendary country and western musician Billy Ray Cyrus.

**While watching a high school baseball team take infield.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

174 Responses to Miley Cyrus: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

  1. theboywhofoundfear says:

    Hilarious!

  2. Now when I hear my sister playing it I’ll think of this.

  3. The Mommy says:

    Absolutely loved it!
    My sides ache with laughter

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  5. B Berry says:

    Hilarious.
    Unfortunately Miss Cyrus didn’t write a word of this song, so it won’t help her much.

  6. Lindi Rae says:

    Give her a break – shes young!

  7. Pingback: Miley Cyrus: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis (via The Axis of Ego) « First Studio Institute blog

  8. Signet says:

    I just cant’t breathe.

  9. mdutiel says:

    this was wonderful to read first thing in the morning. thank you. although i didn’t have to look up the lyrics (and music) for the song in question. GREAT post.

  10. Irene says:

    Yeah, that about sums her up! She’s a train wreck in the making. I can’t stand her.

  11. leadinglight says:

    This deconstruction is very artfully written. Props!

  12. Hilarious. My first read on freshly pressed today. Congrats.

  13. Ells says:

    Brilliant! I didn’t know the words to this, but after googling them I can see that this analysis is spot on.

    Loved the line “I felt the judgmental stares of the Angelinos the moment I passed through their collective field of vision, their attention settling on my questionable footwear. ”

    As a sporter of questionable footwear, I feel a much stronger connection with this song now that you’ve broken it down for me 🙂

    More please!

  14. saramitchell says:

    I love stuff like this. For a while the Wikipedia profile on Warren G’s song “regulate” was written about the song in a fashion similar to your rendition of Miley’s song and it was absolutely hilarious. Too bad it got changed 😦
    You should decipher more songs!!

  15. fromthelooneybin says:

    I’m still not quite understanding it. Would you be willing to go a bit more in depth?

  16. Alex K.S. says:

    High five.

  17. Posky says:

    Your insight into her world is amazing. You are like the David Attenboroug of pop sensations.

  18. The DATEbook says:

    Absolutely hillarious!
    Thanks

  19. What a way to ruin spring training. If it’s any consolation pitchers and catchers report to camp on the 14th. Great post.

  20. halfwayto50 says:

    LOL! “Just to reiterate: A Jay-Z song was on.” Love it! Poor Miley! I used to love her songs because they were cute and fun. Now she’s just a wreck and its sad! Great post!

  21. arceesmith says:

    So that’s Miley Cyrus? I think I may have heard of her.

    After having Googled the original lyrics to song you have referenced, I believe I would rather like to hear your version of the lyrics spoken to the rhythm of a bongo player in a small, smoke-filled basement room, while sipping absinthe with my friends. But I can only say that based on the fact that I have never heard her version of the song.

    Bravo!

  22. Jason says:

    I love the line about the memo. I’m not sure Miley even knows what that is.

  23. Stosha says:

    I find myself feeling less terrible about Miley Cyrus’ life choices after having read this. It opened my mind to the fact that all she ever really needed was the right translator. For the sake of her reputation, she should probably look into hiring you. My only advice: insist on no less than $6,000,000,000,000. Per month.

  24. Ed says:

    *whew* Now that we all know what the song means, it can finally get some radio play! Soon the common man will be able to engage in a celebration of a uniquely American character everywhere radio waves can reach. …and Pandora.

  25. FINALLY! A witty blog featured on Freshly Pressed that ISN’T food related or simply images copied from other sites for a fashion run-down of the latest award ceremony.
    I’ve also slammed Miley and the Cyrus family’s abuse of the English language via ‘song’ last year.
    Check it out –
    http://mutteringsandststutterings.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/songs-wrong/

  26. Hahaha! Hilarious! Very creative.

  27. Asian Dyna says:

    I love it! That was too funny…I was actually trying to sing it using your words.
    🙂

  28. SWK says:

    Truly sad that music like hers is stuck in courses like the ones taught in the music program I teach at. Those music theory nerds are all about her music.

    (Really funny post!)

  29. aredribbon says:

    This reminds me of those literal music videos you can find on youtube, except…without the video. Thanks for the hours of laborious work you must have put into it!

  30. Mikayla says:

    This is the greatest idea! I just about died at, “Word about this aspect of the L. A. dress code apparently didn’t reach me in time.”

  31. The one thing I still don’t understand from her song: How does someone move their hips “like yeah”? I’m hoping that your intelligent take on some of the most difficult to understand songs will help me figure out the answer to this and other pressing questions…

  32. littlecurio says:

    I love this post. I love this post. Just to reiterate: I LOVE this post. Good work, definitely would love an analysis of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. That would be a very interesting one!

  33. Kavya says:

    Ah now it all makes sesne. 🙂 I am probably going to research a bit on Justin Beiber song inspired by you of course

  34. Great analysis. Totally on point. From a teenage point of view, Miley expresses the insecurities that we all feel when we’re out of our element. I like the song and I like your analysis, sarcastic or not.

  35. You write really well. This was a fun read! 🙂

  36. dtrasler says:

    Hooray! Give the music some serious credit so I don’t have to keep apologising to people when it crops up on my stereo….. Wonderful job, looking forward to future works. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed too – well deserved.

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  38. Too good! Can we do requests? I’d love to finally be able to understand Tik Tok by Kei$ha!

  39. Why does it seem as though I’ve already heard this drama, Madonna, Britney Spears, Little Sister Spears (did she really ever have a name other than Britney’s Little Sister).

  40. Hahaha! Thank you for giving me my first laugh of the morning! Love your dissection of Miley’s song! This is one of my favorites among the Freshly Pressed posts, past and present.

  41. Michael says:

    Beautiful. In the immortal words of Larry-Boy from VeggieTales, “I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” Great post! Bravo! Encore!

  42. Mysti says:

    Bravo!! Standing Ovation!!

    I have to admit; I have not given my full attention to that song until now.
    I listened to it via youtube as I read your “clever disguise of Miley having some type of inteligence”.
    Proceeded to laugh hysterically, invited the rest of my office to enjoy and since then posted it on facebook!
    God let there be one teen who [has not morphed into the gum smacking Hollywood sex scene] understand your humor instead of staring with that dazed look..”what? I don’t get it!”

    Again, Bravo!!!

  43. jule1 says:

    Oh my God, frikkin’ hilarious, and I’ve never heard a Miley Cyrus song all the way through (a fact of which I am quite proud)! Didn’t even need to. Your analysis trumped any necessity to hear the damned thing ever, at any time, in any place. Thank you so much for explaining the complexity of her lyrics w/out actually having to experiene the pain of listening to her music! My life has been greatly enriched w/out unnecessary suffering. Bravo! Perhaps for the uncool, old and unable to listen to pop music persons such as myself, you could next explain JayZ, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer, etc.? Thereby I might become culturally current w/out having to expose my ears to the sounds they make while expressing their inner artistic sentiments. Your service to man (and woman) kind is duly noted.

  44. Noelle says:

    abahahahahaha*eeep*hahahaha

  45. Hahaha! This is hilarious. I couldn’t help but try to read the words to the tune of the song sometimes. Awesome analysis. Please do more?

    • Tom Garrett says:

      Thanks, Daniel. I’m sure I’ll do more, given the response to this one. But, first, there’s a Super Bowl to be played!

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