This is a starlet who wants you to know that she is grown up now, and if you didn't get the memo she's going to shove her cooch in your face until you do. But the more of Miley we see, the more desensitized we become to her sexuality. The more we see her tits on Terry Richardson's tumblr, the less we care. We have come to expect her to Instagram photos of her scale-model fist dildo, so it barely breaks the news cycle when she does. Anyone can spread their legs and call it their art.
The first half of her set last night at the American Airlines Center featured predominantly new songs from Bangerz. The theatrics were pretty staggering. Some of it was cool, like the gold chrome lowrider that she writhed on as money cannons fired into the crowd, and someone in an enormous Big Sean mascot suit vamped the crowd during his verse on "Love Money Party." Some of it was bizarre, like Ren and Stimpy-style cartoon animation depicting a naked Miley frolicking and twerking with animals in the wild. She even broke out the old Erotica tour bit, and did a number while thrashing around and fondling her backup dancers on a giant bed.
The fact that Miley's big reinvention single, "We Can't Stop," was originally written for Rihanna speaks volumes to our conundrum with Miley's newfound slutwave. Her vocal talent is astounding; she's got the stuff. Rihanna is hampered by an often flat, inflexible range and lungs lined with blunt guts. Sure, Miley's trademark Southern drawl is beginning to sound like if Butters from South Park was blowing down a quarter pound a day. But Miley doesn't need to fall back on crotch shots.
Bangerz, though. Bangerz does.