Souring on a favorite artist is a rite of passage for music fans, and it’s an event that can bring on feelings of grief, ambivalence, relief … even disgust. Maybe an act has released new music that’s so bad it calls into question everything that came before (for me, that was Nanci Griffith’s Blue Roses from the Moons). Maybe you’ve been to one too many gigs, and just have to call it quits (Mary Chapin Carpenter). Maybe someone whose previous music was cool and cutting-edge has moved too far toward the mainstream (Simple Minds, Liz Phair). Sometimes, no matter how talented, an act’s lack of growth or diversity of sound has made you doubt whether you really need that new CD (Indigo Girls). Maybe, if you’re a complete idiot, you let an artist’s politics get in the way. Maybe you’ve simply outgrown a teen idol you loved as a kid. Or maybe, just maybe, your favorite teen idol has decided it’s time to outgrow you.
However it happens, pop history is littered with acts who’ve been abandoned by legions of formerly devoted followers. (There’s a reason why the used-CD stores are crammed with Garth Brooks and Backstreet Boys albums.) But that last scenario is rarely pulled off successfully — and the latest singer to (probably) ride a desperate stab at maturity straight to the cutout bins is poor, not-a-girl-not-yet-Britney-Spears-but definitely-not-Hannah-Montana Miley Cyrus. Between those incestalicious photos with Billy Ray in Vanity Fair, that pole dance at the Teen Choice Awards, the underwear-free excursion captured by paparazzi, and the bizarro video for the recent semi-hit ”Can’t Be Tamed,” Miley’s recent behavior has some parents wondering whether it’s time to bring the lights up on her Party in the USA.
I couldn’t care less about that stuff — I’m eagerly counting the days til Selena Gomez decides to tart things up — but the negative buildup around Miley has proven too much for my daughter Catie. Some of you may recall the hijinks that ensued when I engaged Catie and her BFF Bridget to talk about Why Hannah Montana (Was) So Awesome! about a year and a half ago. The girls were 7 then, and they knew what they liked … but they’re almost 9 now, and something about Miley’s new grown-up persona has definitely rubbed them the wrong way.
Jon: So how’s it going, girls?
Bridget: How ya doin? Is life smooth sailin’, or bumpaaaaaaay?
Catie: Don’t be an idiot.
Bridget: I’m just doing my thing.
Jon: The three of us were right here a while back, talking about Miley and why you liked her so much.
Bridget: That was so awesome.
Catie: I think we were really funny, but we said a bunch of good stuff about Miley that we shouldn’t have.
Bridget: Now she’s, like, blecccccchhhhh.
Jon: I’m sure she’d be sorry to know you feel that way.
Catie: What if she reads this?
Bridget: Of course she’ll read it.
Catie: Well, it’s too bad for her. We know all this stuff about her now, and she shouldn’t be trying to keep it a secret, because we already know.
Jon: Wait a minute — if she’s trying to keep stuff a secret, then where do you hear about it?
Bridget: I just know things.
Catie: Yeah, right…
Bridget: No, really. We read about her in magazines.
Jon: Which magazines?
Catie: You know, US, Bop…
Jon: I’m so glad to know a couple of 8-year-olds are getting your information from US magazine. Remind me to talk to your mothers about that. Anyway, what’s so bad about Miley now?
Catie: Well, number one, she hates Glee, the best show ever.
Jon: Is that really true? Because if I remember correctly, when you first brought it up you were complaining that she just said she doesn’t ”get” musicals in general, not that she hates Glee.
Catie: Well, the thing is, in the magazine it said, ”Things Miley Hates,” with a really gross picture like this. (she makes a face that is, in fact, pretty gross) And it said, ”Glee.”
Jon: And how does US magazine, or Tiger Beat or whichever one it was, know all this stuff? Did they quote her?
Catie: I don’t think so. They just know.
Bridget: That’s right. Well, maybe they don’t know. We don’t know, for sure, but we still hate her.
Jon: Well, it’s good to know you believe everything you read. So, why else don’t you like Miley anymore?
Catie: She has tattoos on her boobies.
Bridget: Yeah, who does that?
Catie: One says ”Destiny.” (editor’s note: apparently this is not true)
Bridget: One says ”Just Breathe.”
Catie: And ”Believe.” (editor’s note: nope … though she apparently does have the word “love” tattooed near her ear)
Jon: Hmmm. The one that says ”Just Breathe” — do you think that’s on her chest to remind her lungs what to do?
Bridget: Don’t be stupid.
Catie: No, it’s in memory of her friend that died.
Catie: That’s what it said in the magazine. (editor’s note: in fact, “Just Breathe” is the slogan for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a cause dear to — if not tattooed near to — Popdose’s collective heart)
Bridget: What magazine?
Catie: Bop, or something.
Jon: OK, let’s move on.
Catie: Well, according to Tiger Beat magazine, she’s apparently dating Justin Bieber.
Jon: I doubt that. She’s about four years older than Justin.
Bridget: Then she’s dating more than one person. She cheats on people! She’s also dating some guy named Liam who she made a movie with, and they had a kiss, and then it was like, ”Let’s get married.”
Catie: Yeah, and she’s supposedly gonna marry Justin Bieber, too. (editor’s note: that would be news to both Miley and Justin, though they did have dinner together once — and she did date a dude named Justin Gaston a couple years ago)
Bridget: Yeah, so she’ll be married to a bunch of people.
Jon: You guys don’t like Justin Bieber much, either.
Catie: He has a horrible voice.
Bridget: We should do an interview about Justin Bieber next. I could go on all day saying what I don’t like about Justin Bieber.
Jon: Well, how many songs of his do you actually know?
Catie: ”Baby,” and …
Bridget: Yeah … ”Baby” … and …
Catie: Some are on Radio Disney, and we have no idea who it is so we listen to it for a while, and then we give up trying to figure out who it is, and hit the button that tells you, and it’s Justin Bieber so we turn it off.
Jon: Back to Miley: I see you girls have made out lists of all the things you don’t like about her.
Bridget: We couldn’t remember them all, so we made lists because we had nothing better to do.
Jon: I see. Bridget, what’s that on your page about … monkeys?
Bridget: She took a real monkey cage, then took all the monkeys out —
Catie: — and put herself in it, and sat down in this huge nest, and came out of it and she had wings! It was so dumb.
Jon: This is the ”Can’t Be Tamed” video we’re talking about, right? How do you know there had been monkeys in that cage?
Bridget: I know things, OK?
Catie: That’s what you said last time!
Bridget: I’m in GATE (Gifted and Talented Education)!
Jon: Yeah, whatever. OK, so what else is wrong with Miley?
Bridget: Her clothes are so 10 minutes ago!
Jon: And who are you to judge pop-star fashion?
Bridget: Because Catie said so.
Catie: Yeah, because I said so. It’s right here on my list. Like, one time she was wearing this outfit and it was clear, and she was just wearing a bra and no underwear. Oh, and she thinks she’s Lady Gaga.
Bridget: Yeah, she moves her boobs around!
Catie: She should be in jail with Paris Hilton.
Bridget: Yeah. And one more thing —
Catie: Her show’s for idiots!
Jon: You mean that show you watched pretty much nonstop for three years, right up until a couple months ago? Why did you do that?
Catie: ’Cause she was good then.
Jon: So what happened?
Bridget: She hit, like, puberty two times.
Catie: All her songs are good, but her voice isn’t. We went on the internet and looked at a bunch of Miley concerts, and it was terrible.
Jon: Well, it’s a good thing we spent so much money so you could go to one of those concerts last year.
Catie: How much was it?
Jon: Never mind. But here’s the thing: If you guys liked Miley for years, and were so loyal to her, but now you think she’s awful, doesn’t that make you wonder about your own taste in music and TV shows?
Bridget: Kind of.
Catie: It makes me feel like I was dumb when I was little.
Bridget: I was awesome!
Catie: Yeah, I was awesome, but I was dumb, because I liked bad music.
Jon: So what do you like now?
Bridget: Lady Gaga.
Catie: Taylor Swift rocks the most.
Bridget: Bleaah, Taylor Swift. (sticks her finger down her throat) Lady Gaga is better.
Jon: Do you think you’ll feel the same way about Taylor or Lady Gaga in a couple years as you do about Miley now?
Catie: Taylor Swift is never going to lose her career, because she’s awesome.
Bridget: I don’t know. I don’t really care.
Catie: Daddy, do you think Miley will read this?
Jon: What do you think she’d say if she did read this stuff you’re saying about her?
Bridget: ”I know, I know.”
Catie: ”I should quit.”
Jon: That’s kind of harsh. The last time we did one of these interviews, you were pretty sure she was going to be on Disney Channel until she was 85. Now what do you think is going to happen to her?
Bridget: She should go find those monkeys and put them back in their cage.
Catie: She’s going to be a zookeeper, and she has to pick up monkey poop.
(Bridget falls over laughing)
Catie: Do you want to go watch some Taylor Swift videos on YouTube?
Bridget: No, I hate her! Let’s watch “Bad Romance” again.
Jon: All right, girls. Thanks for talking. Don’t be a stranger. Now get out!
Bridget: Bye-bye, Popdose!