No. 41: Miley Cyrus, “See You Again”

You wouldn’t think it would happen this way, but the less people care about albums-as-such, the more they settle for “tracks” on hard drives and leave it at that, the less singles feel like singles anymore. Everything is just another song; here one month for its select target demographic, gone the next. But not this one; for long swaths of early 2008 it seemed inescapable.

Miley (and/or Hannah) never managed that before, and—though her so-what “7 Things” later wound up reaching No. 9 on the Hot 100, beating this song’s No. 10—maybe never will again. But even if she does, this is the Miley you’ll remember: Eurodisco pulsation below, hard Duane Eddy surfabilly twang on top (a combo that equals “new wave” by definition), a recurring melody stolen outright from Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses At Night.” And Miley, in this sleazy drawl that’s like another distant ‘80s memory (Juice Newton? Deborah Allen? Tiffany?), starting in total control of her faculties then going nuts: “The last time I freaked out! I just kept lookin’ down!” She might as well jump. She st-st-stutters, gets self-reflexive (“My best friend Lesley says, ‘Oh she’s just being Miley’”), vows future vindication (“The next time we hang out/I will redeem myself/My heart can rest ‘til then”), packs more neurotic energy into three minutes than most acclaimed artists do into 60. Hope she didn’t scare him away.

“See You Again” [YouTube]Miley Cyrus [official site]80 ’08 (and Heartbreak)