Trapped In The Closet With Miley Cyrus

Aug 12th, 2008 // 21 Comments

miley%20cyrus23.jpgMost people over the age of 16 have heard of Miley Cyrus (or at least Hannah Montana), but many have probably never actually heard one of her songs. I was one of these fortunate souls until last Monday, when a friend made me–and I’m still not sure exactly why–watch the Brett Ratner-directed video for her single “7 Things.” The one thing that struck me about this more or less mediocre song: Miley Cyrus’ voice sounds just like that belonging to the cop’s wife from Chapters 8-11 of Trapped in the Closet.

See for yourself:

Miley Cyrus, “7 Things”

Trapped in the Closet, Chapter 8

I realize Billy Ray must have had some hard times in the post-”Achy Breaky Heart” era, but I’m fairly certain that nothing could have driven the Cyrus family far enough into the backest backwoods of Appalachian Tennessee that would cause its cash cow to sing like R. Kelly’s crude approximation of a low-class Southern woman’s voice. I may only be from the coastal South, but I know bullshit when I hear it, and I don’t believe that even the hill folk talk with that awful twang. And to prove that she’s putting on the accent, here’s a video of her talking about Marc Jacobs at a Seventeen photo shoot:

Barely even a drawl. So I figure either a producer told her to play up the Southern angle, or she’s just a really big Trapped in the Closet fan. Either way, something’s amiss.

  1. Al Shipley

    Co-sign everything in this post. As potentially refreshing as it is to hear a pop singer her age sing in anything other than a blank Hilary Duff chirp, her snarl really does come off kind of stilted and awkward. And that song, god, lyrics that list things are bad enough without failing to keep count of what they’re listing or make really any sense at all.

  2. NeverEnough

    1. Shit, you’re totally right.
    2. I totally forgot that the cop is played by the same guy who plays Omar Little on “The Wire” (season 5 is out TODAY, by the way).

  3. Anonymous

    I could never figure out why every time I hear her sing I think “Bridget’s allergic to cherries…cherries…cherries…cherries…” until you made the conscious connection. Well played!

  4. Nunya B

    @Al Shipley: Oh please, “refreshing”? There are a thousand pop singers who sing in recognizable voices, and plenty of them are straight teenpop artists: the Veronicas, Ashlee Simpson, both Lohan sisters. Even Katy Perry. Hell, even Duff on her last album. Miley’s snarl is nothing special- it feels awkward and forced and contrived because it is all those things.

  5. Al Shipley

    @Nunya B: I said “a pop singer her age,” as in 15. Pretty much everyone you mentioned was at least 20 by the time they had their first hit.

  6. Nunya B

    @Al Shipley: What does the age of the singer have to do with the age of the target audience? They were/are teenpop artists, which is a classification that really has nothing to do with the age of the performer, who, let’s face it, has precious little to do with the content of the song- and I really don’t want to pretend that anyone other than Kara DioGuardi (almost 40) is writing these songs. The age of the vessel is only relevant when it comes to convincing potential customers of the quality of the product.

  7. GhostOfDuane

    OMJ, the new Jonas album is out today and you’re talking about this? Miley u’ll nvr get Nick Jonas back GIV IT UPPPPPPPP.

  8. Al Shipley

    @Nunya B: You can make the “teenpop is one word/teenpop is a genre unto itself/teenpop has nothing to do with people being teenagers” argument all day long, and I will gladly shout down that crackpot rock critic claptrap. But when you’re talking about vocal styles, there’s a huge difference between the sounds a person’s vocal cords are capable of or likely to make at the age of 15 vs. the age of 20. That’s biology.

  9. Nunya B

    @Al Shipley: I don’t think I made any of those arguments. I do like to categorize teenpop as its own genre because it is very stylistically different from pop music of other kinds, but that’s really neither here nor there. My point- such as it was- is that that particular style of voice (see below for more) is not something that should be considered novel to any listener.

    As for “voice styles” female voice change is really not as “biological” as you say. Developmental studies don’t use voice change in females to delineate stages of puberty in girls, as they do in boys, in part because the changes are more difficult to discern.

  10. Al Shipley

    Sorry, didn’t mean to fall into this rabbit hole of pointless nitpicking, I’ll see my own way out.

  11. knots

    get it right, those Cyrus assholes are from Kentucky. WE have plenty of our own assholes in Tennessee to have you dumping more on us.

  12. Kate Richardson

    @knots: According to Wikipedia she’s from Tennessee…[en.wikipedia.org]

  13. TriedandTrue

    @NeverEnough: Omar is the cop here but also making a cameo in this epic is Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy/Palace/etc. as one of the detectives.

  14. Mordy

    Kate, this post is – no offense – totally ridiculous. Not only can you hear a light ‘twang’ in Cyrus’ voice in the interview, but plenty of people have an exaggerated/different accent when they sing than when they speak.

  15. Tauwan

    Whatever. None of these theories will stop me from enjoying this performance:

  16. ObtuseIntolerant

    @GhostOfDuane: Someone had to say it. THANK YOU.

    In Miley’s defense (if I am allowed this,as a Jonas fan)I have seen video of Miley Cyrus at the age of like 3 or 4, and she was a-twangin’. (WHAT?! It was on some entertainment site.)

    I will see if I can find it.

  17. ObtuseIntolerant

    That is some authentic shit right there. The ram is named Bo Jangles!

    Also amazing is that she already sounded like a 40yo cocktail waitress. (2:00,4:45,5:15)
    OK. I have to go cry now that you know I have been to the Access Hollywood website of my own volition.

  18. Kate Richardson

    She does have a very slight accent when she talks, but if you listen to some of her Hannah Montana stuff it’s waaaaay less than it is in “7 Things.” The way she sings in that song is sooo exaggerated. But mostly it’s a matter of taste. In this case I just really hate the weird and unnatural sounding accent she’s doing in that performance.

  19. NeverEnough

    @TriedandTrue: And Steve Earle is one of the guys in rehab, too. I thought he looked familiar.

    New Idolator rule: All posts shall be about R. Kelly, The Wire or any combination thereof. Make it happen, Maura.

  20. Anonymous

    forget Miley “bad voice on a girl less cute than at least 20 people I went to high school with” Cyrus, can we just have a post about how awesome it is when R Kelly says “pears” at 1:46 in that video?

  21. hey gays what’s up it’s me eric jonas and i toking about of miley cyrus , miley it’s a adwesome sining and a measeng actor saw please gays don’t funk ther because she isa perfect person saw thinkin about for i sad you gays thank for readen i love you miley so much

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