Wednesday, May 04, 2011

IT'S NOT AN ANIMAL, IT'S AN ABORTION. I challenged Wonkette and their puckish redistrubution of the world's worst political videos a few weeks back. But this music video featuring Miley Cyrus -- whose honor I defended a few years back -- is beyond challenge, and perhaps even beyond the ability of mortal man to ken. It may be the worst cover of all time, not because of the pathetically unimaginative handling of the source material, but because it takes a song that cleverly inverted the idea of youth culture and almost mathematically re-inverts it so that it becomes the very thing it was meant to mock.

There are many good tunes that Cyrus and her hired guns could have defiled as badly, but if they had, the songs themselves would have emerged from the smoking ruins more or less intact. This performance actually destroys the song. I don't think I can even listen to the original anymore without remembering this version and vomiting. Were he alive and confronted with it, Lester Bangs would have spontaneously exploded into flying gobs of Romilar-soaked viscera. It makes me wish not only for my own death, but that of the planet, and that it could be hurled into the sun so no trace of this atrocity would remain to defile the universe. (h/t wwtdd.)

UPDATE. In comments, many say they've seen worse, and some offer proof. I have to admit, the Stone Roses Complete Stone Roses* version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" offered by hells littlest angel is pretty weird:

It has the same obstinate deafness to the beauty of the original as the Cyrus cover. (The YouTube comments are lovely though: "WTF IS THIS COCKSWEAT ??") Now this Celine Dion/Anastacia version of "You Shook Me All Night Long" contributed by fish I didn't mind so much:

In fact, I think Celine Dion being a Bad Girl is just adorable. (I don't know this Anastacia person. Why is she dressed like Chewbacca's girlfriend?) I guess I'm more affected by the Cyrus version because it's Kurt Cobain, who meant a lot to me. Maybe if I had the same feeling for AC/DC and Joy Division these videos would disturb me more. As it is they just seem like strange choices rather than a genocidal campaign against art.

Oh, years ago I saw some TV profile of Raquel Welch featuring bits of her touring act. I wish a video were available of Rocky's version of "Born in the U.S.A." from that tour. Dancing butchly and bellowing, she was obviously trying to impersonate Springsteen, but looked and sounded more like Mammy Yokum.

All of the team's suggestions for Miley Cyrus' follow-up number are excellent.

*UPDATE 2. GeoX informs me that the Complete Stone Roses is not the Stone Roses at all, but a tribute band. With its own videos!

UPDATE 3. There are times when I wonder if I should have approached political writing seriously in my youth, but then I read Matthew Yglesias...
But even though I absolutely love Nirvana I’ve come to think that these particular kind of values that Cobain stood for were hideously wrongheaded. After all, Cobain literally killed himself. He wasn’t so much keeping it real and being authentic as he was a severely depressed heroin addict who really needed some help in life. A brilliant artist? Yes. But a horrible model of how to think about life. He ought to be thrilled that the songs he wrote continue to mean something to people and to be played.
...and thank God I didn't. It's probably just as well I didn't go to Harvard, either. Christ, what a Wally.

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