Or, vintage Miley
Writing about one of the most famous stutters in music reminded me of my personal favorite stutter, delivered by Miley Cyrus on the infectious chorus of 2007’s “See You Again.” She was fourteen, and the album whence it came, called Meet Miley Cyrus, seemed intended to give her some genre space from the strictly defined preteen pop of the Hannah Montana persona. In alignment, the song had more of an edge than what Hannah’s audiences were accustomed to, with a slightly more suggestive lyric and a slightly harder guitar. But it proved just as viable a hit as its “Best of Both Worlds”-esque predecessors.
It’s my favorite stutter precisely because it’s self-referential, tripping over its own consonants: “The last time I freaked out / I just kept looking down / I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I’m thinkin’ ‘bout.” The energy of the chorus is so explosive, contrasted against the simmering verse, that you can’t help but go full silly as you sing along. The lyric is funny, too. “Felt like I couldn’t breathe / You asked what’s wrong with me / My best friend Leslie said ‘oh she’s just being Miley.’” In fact, it could be describing a scene out of Hannah Montana. I remember wondering who Leslie was and if Miley actually meant Lilly, her best friend on the show (played by Emily Osment). I guess I was exactly the kind of pigeonholing listener whose mind she was trying to expand with this record.
As far as her attempts to break free of Hannah, the rest is history. Another hint at what was to come was “Start All Over,” the song which, I even detected at the time, proved she was mature beyond her years as a singer and was only headed more determinedly that way.
The moral of the story is I’m going to go blast this album now, and I invite you to do the same. There’s a reason her latest single “Flowers” holds some ridiculous record at the top of the charts, surpassing even “Party in the USA.” From the very beginning, she’s been here to stay.
Image: go girl, give us everything (Kevin Mazur via Rolling Stone)