Pop Culture Friday: O’Connor 2? Cloudy 2? Shining 2? edition.

5 Oct

Ok, so I’m doing my Pop Culture Friday on Saturday, because I was out and about yesterday, and I almost was going to skip it this week, but stuff is just too big for me to let them pass by.  So let’s start.

1)  Miley Cyrus, Wreckingball:   When I was looking up the charts (I always do the top ranking song that I haven’t already reviewed) I missed this one and went to Avincii, I was really getting into him, thinking, wow this is really good.  And then I noticed that I had skipped Miley Cyrus.

I really did not want to do Miley Cyrus, and I specifically did not want to do this song.   But I listened to it, and watched the video…and wow.

The song in itself is nothing to write home about–though it’s not horrible.  She clearly is trying to sound like Lana Del Ray, and the music for the verses is ok, but then there’s a generic chorus that just blasts right in like a wrecking ball (but not in a good way.)

Then there’s the lyrics–and if you take out the love bits, it’s kind of like she’s talking to the American public about how she came in like a wrecking ball but she got wrecked instead, when all she wanted was to be in.     It’s a little sad, but not in the way that Miley intends.

Then there’s the video, which has images of her fake crying, intercut with her riding on a wrecking ball naked, licking a sledgehammer, and writhing around on broken cinderblocks.   It is terrible partially because she’s trying too hard.   Not to mention that the video doesn’t match the song in the slightest.

Also there’s the Sinead O’Connor foofaraw:  so Miley said that this video was inspired by O’Connor’s classic video for  Nothing Compares 2 U.   Sinead wrote an open letter to Miley asking her to consider her career and to not sell herself like this.  The letter actually seems very heartfelt and authentic, and hearing the reasons for writing this letter (O’Connor was being pestered with questions about Cyrus and wanted to put out her response so she didn’t have to continue with it) is understandable.   The letter gets a little preachy, as O’connor is wont to do.   However, to repeat, it seems to be coming from a place of concern and kindness.

Miley responded by making fun of O’Connor’s mental illness, comparing her to Amanda Bynes.  Then there was some back and forth where neither of them looked good, but the last word is that O’Connor is stepping back and being the adult here in recent interviews.

I just want to point out the difference between these two artists.  O’Connor certainly has had her share of controversial actions.  However, O’Connor was trying to use her public image as an activist.   Whether she was effective or not is a question we can go on all day–but in the end, I believe that O’Connor’s statements and actions come from a sincere place, even when they don’t play out so well.

Cyrus, on the other hand, does not seem to think at all.   She is acting out.  The thing that makes me feel a little bit sad about her, even though she’s acting like a brat, is that I don’t think she’s in on the joke.  I think she perceives herself as acting hip and edgy, when she comes off as desperate and trying too hard.    The reason I think it’s sad is because I don’t think she can be sincere if she tried–I think she only works on external validation, and there’s not a self below that to express anything.

Also, I bet you that Miley Cyrus rips up a picture of Sinead O’Connor tonight on Saturday Night Live.  (Unless there’s a lawsuit possibility.)

2.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2:  After all that Miley Talk, we get a movie that I have very little to say about.   It looks like a very mainstream family movie.  It doesn’t look particularly funny or clever, but it’s also not something that looks annoying either.   Huh.  *Shrug*

3.  Stephen King:  Doctor Sleep:  Wow, I haven’t really thought of a current Stephen King release since I was a teenager.   He just has slowly lost relevance over the years, particularly for a period where it seemed like he was rewriting is old works.   He’s still busy, and I’m sure he still has a fanbase, but he seemed to have peaked around The Green Mile and then lost his way somewhere.   Doctor Sleep while having a pretty stupid title (is that supposed to be scary?  It’s not.) sounds like a horrible idea, but then it’s not so horrible after all.

Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining.  Yes, when I heard this I was ready for this to be awful too.  After all King has done sequels before and they haven’t always turned out so well.  On top of it, The Shining is arguably King’s most notable work.  Also, I didn’t finish that book thinking “gee, I wonder what happens next?”  it just seemed like the story was closed.

While normally I don’t base my reading choices on reviews, this was a special situation.  I did not want to bother with it if  bad Stephen King was there, but if good Stephen King showed up, then maybe…?   And the reviews are solid.  And the book is not bad–it certainly seems like King has seriously thought about the plot and characters here, which has been questionable for a while on his part.

Ok, America.  Sequels that aren’t sequels seems to be your theme this week.  So I’m going to rename my apartment America 2 and I know it will be popular.

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