Artist: Miley Cyrus Track: "7 Things" Album: Breakout Listen
Before the snickers, gaffaws of disbelief, quick clicks or whatever else you do online to express your distaste for what you think Miley Cyrus and her Disney empire represent, let me fill you in on the importance of what Miley Cyrus and her Disney empire represent. Together, they remind us important things about the fundamental backbone of the music industry:
1. A band is nothing, absolutely nothing, if it sells no records.
2. All music is, essentially, a commodity, a thing to be bought, sold and traded. Delusions of taste would have us believe that the niche we carve out -- the collections we carefully archive and boast -- have little to do with marketing, context, commercialism. Wrong.
3. Cyrus succeeds because of inimitable corporate machinery that exposes her products to consumers in various media. She also succeeds in spite of it: Hers is music that even the dullest consumer knows is made to make money, and they still buy it.
That out of the way, we can finally get back to the music, which is solid. Not much veers from the formula followed by Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Tiffany and other attractive, talented young women who record pop music. Yes, it's a formula; so were the workings of Motown Records, which adopted the assembly-line process of nearby automotive plants to funnel music to the public.
"7 Things" is a clever relationship ballad -- a bit shiny, but likeable catchy and performed with the grace and presence that Cyrus has exhibited on tour and Hannah Montana, her popular show. Other tracks on the album, out last week, show promise, and her cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is stunning.