Death Grips, we’re gonna let you finish, but Miley Cyrus has the best demonstration of how success in the music hype cycle has very little do with actual music of ALL TIME. Or at least summer 2013.
Just days after the MTV Video Music Awards Booty-Shake Think-Pieced Round the World, “twerk” has made it into the dictionary. Meanwhile, Queens of the Stone Age have taken an implied dig at the trunk-jiggling content of Cyrus’ VMA set. Even a group that purports to represent teddy bears is throwing its voice into the Hannah Montana hullabaloo. Somewhere, Lady Gaga is taking notes on how to create a ridiculous art-pop meta-spectacle.
As the Atlantic‘s Quartz business-news site reports (via USA Today), Oxford Dictionaries Online is adding “twerk” to its list of entries. The definition for this verb is “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.” Twerking joins “buzzworthy,” “emoji,” “FOMO” (fear of missing out), “girl crush,” “TL;DR,” and other not-actual words in the latest update to the ODO. Don’t worry, teachers everywhere: The words aren’t going into the time-honored Oxford English Dictionary just yet.
Separately, recent SPIN cover stars Queens of the Stone Age took an apparent jab at Cyrus yesterday (August 27). The …Like Clockwork crew announced a December 14 tour date at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, also the site of MTV’s VMA show. Tickets go on sale to the public September 5 at 10 a.m. local time here, after pre-sales beginning today. But the gig has generated as much notice for a line in the announcement that says Barclays “will be designated as a (relatively) twerk-free zone” for QOTSA’s concert. Those guys would never do anything vulgar and racy. (They also shared an “I Sat By the Ocean” live video.)
In other Cyrus complaints, the latest one comes on behalf of inanimate objects. According to TMZ, a rep for something called the Teddy Bear Fund has said, “Miley made a poor choice to use a universally loved children’s teddy bear in an offensive way.” (In case you don’t remember, her VMA set also included her twerking and grinding against gigantic, psychedelic teddy bears.) The fund gives stuffed animals to children.
Justin Timberlake, who won an MTV VMA lifetime achievement award and briefly reunited with ‘N Sync at the event, is defending Cyrus in interviews. “It’s the VMAs, let her do her thing,” he told New York’s Fresh 102.7. “She’s young, take it easy on her,” he told another New York radio station, Hot 97.
Elsewhere in the Miley-twerk-verse, the Parents Television Council won’t take it easy on anyone who dares wear a bikini in front of young people, even if it’s Lady Gaga in a super-artsy context. And if Diplo sets his twerking world record this weekend, maybe he can get in both the Guinness Book of World Records and Webster’s. Are we all just being Miley now?
Yes, yes we are. As the New York Post reports (via Pitchfork), citing unnamed sources, Cyrus went into the studio with Kanye West immediately after the VMA show. They evidently recorded a remix of Yeezus‘ “Black Skinhead.” Because of course they did.