Punk rock is like art. You just sorta know it when you see it. After a while, you get pretty good at sifting out the real punk rock from the bullshit. As someone who has wasted his entire life in punk rock—both real and bullshit, I can authoritatively say that Miley Cyrus is the most punk rock musician around right now.
I want to be clear that I say that with 100% sincerity and without the slightest hint of the lame irony that people love attaching to everything these days. This isn’t like handlebar moustaches which people “love” even though they make make dudes look like porn stars from the 1930s. I’m saying I truly believe Miley is punk as fuck. More punk rock than all the mascara-wearing dorks playing the Warped Tour, more punk rock than old-ass bands on their third reunion tours, more punk rock than you or me.
How did Miley Cyrus go from being that cute little blonde TV character to being a punk icon? Well, after her Hannah Montana days where she...where she, um...actually, I don’t know anything about the show now that I think about it. Didn’t she wear a wig and live in a hotel with two creepy twin boys or something? Anyway, after she walked away from that Disney kiddie shit, Miley decided, “Hey, you know what? I’m young, I’m rich enough to sleep on a huge pile of cash every night, and I have the body of a goddamn cheerleader. It’s high time I started enjoying life!” And she did. Emphasis on the “high time” part because to Miley, “enjoying life” means doing copious amounts of drugs, hanging out with every rich hipster in LA, and making videos about doing copious amounts of drugs and hanging out with every rich hipster in LA. And good for her.
The whole time she’s been living her debaucherous post-Hannah lifestyle, she’s had people telling her not to act a certain way or that it’s somehow wrong according to some bullshit set of standards the online community of P.C. fascist bloggers made up. Every other day there’s some überliberal dork writing a piece for Slate or the Huffington Post entitled something like “Is It Racist To Point Out The Sexism Of Something Something Miley Cyrus?” But while they’re all trying to wrap their Ivy League brains around Miley’s latest video where she’s having her ass slapped by black ladies, Miley is already on to the next video where she’s riding a wrecking ball naked, fellating a sledgehammer. Joke’s on you, blogger dickheads!
Miley just does not give a fuck, plain and simple. She does not give a fuck if you think her adoption of rap culture is racist. She does not give a fuck if you think she’s bad for her gender. And she certainly does not give a fuck about what influence she’s having on young girls. And before you start saying, “But Miley should care because in our male-dominated society, her adoption of African American culture implicitly sets a tone for blah blah blah.” Let me stop you right there. You’re not grasping the concept of not giving a fuck. Not only does Miley not care about your overly high-minded theories, she won’t even accept the premise. Fuck you!
Without even trying, Miley is straight up spinning circles around every single pop star who is trying to be edgy right now. Kanye West? Please. She makes Yeezus look like Kidz Bop 24. Kanye West is a giant narcissist who spends every waking minute thinking of how to cement his place as The Greatest Artist Of All Time™. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got a team of scientists locked in a lab, trying to come up with an ingestible formula for edginess while he’s out jacking off in front of a mirror somewhere. Miley Cyrus is more edgy in her sleep than “New Slaves” or any song on Yeezus. That’s not a joke. I’ll bet if you recorded Miley Cyrus sleeping, which I assume she almost never does, you’d get some footage so trippy it would make David Lynch comb his hair and start working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Plus 500 million hits on YouTube.
And punk bands? Holy shit. Have you been following the punk scene over the last decade? Most of the bands are made up of washed up dads who’ve been playing the same songs since 1997 and won’t leave the house to play anything but a huge festival with a guaranteed offer upfront. Miley could show up at Riot Fest and put every other performer there to shame. Danzig would probably go backstage and cry so hard he’d soak through his black mesh shirt. Don’t worry, he’s got like, 600 more on the bus.
I’ve probably listened to nearly 100 new punk albums this year and “We Can’t Stop” is my favorite song of 2013, hands down. I’d say I’ve watched the video five dozen times and I can’t even tell you how the song goes. Most times, I’ll just watch it on mute and drop my jaw at how mind-bogglingly ridiculous it is because IS THAT GUY EATING A MONEY SANDWICH HOLY SHIT WHAT. After that video, she performed on the VMAs and in just four minutes, sent the blogosphere into a downward spiral of thinkpieces. “Why Is Miley Cyrus Acting Like A Slut?” followed by “Why Are People Slut-Shaming Miley Cyrus?” followed by “Why Are People Slut-Shaming People Who Are Slut-Shaming Miley Cyrus?” ad nauseum. Meanwhile, Miley was probably off on an island somewhere far away from the land of comment sections, doing some new drug that we’ve never even heard of with Terry Richardson, all while smiling ear-to-ear like only she can. But by all means, keep talking about her underboob or overbutt or whatever the fuck.
Last week, she released that “Wrecking Ball” video and I thought it was nuts and nothing even happened in it by Miley standards. That’s really saying something. The girl can have her bare ass on a giant, suspended concrete ball and we’re all, “She's just being Miley!” In a few weeks, she’ll host SNL and I can’t wait. I hope she does something absolutely bananas. I hope she grinds Lorne Michaels into a powder and snorts him up her nose and then flies out into the audience on a purple unicorn in an American Apparel onesie. Live from New York, it’s Saturday night, assholes. A thousand times punker than when FEAR played on the show and a million times punker than when blink-182 did.
Miley Cyrus, you are my favorite punk band. Get fucked, everyone else.
Dan Ozzi is Noisey’s punk editor and would love to discuss his favorite parts of “We Can’t Stop.” Follow him on Twitter - @danozzi