Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Didja hear me say that?

Okay, internet, here is a secret I have been keeping for awhile: I like Miranda Cosgrove much better as a singer than an actress. I mean, she's not… she's not a terrible actress or anything, but as Jess pointed out a few years ago, she's awkward as heck. It doesn't help that her main platform is iCarly, on which she plays the blandest character of the bunch. But her songs are enjoyable! They are very bubblegum, which is a thing I enjoy, and her voice is quite nice -- on the one hand, I don't think it's anything stand out or unusual (she lacks any of the qualities that make Miley distinct) but on the other hand, she avoids both the "yelling as singing" problem (Demi, Victoria Justice) and also the "replaced by robots because she can't actually sing at all" problem (Selena Gomez). She's pretty lovely to listen to, and while I wish her songs had a bit more to make them unique, I also keep her album on my iPod for when I'm in the mood for girly pop. Which is often.*

So basically, what I'm saying is, I enjoy Miranda as a singer much more than I ever expected to when I heard that the awkward girl from iCarly was getting a record deal. And thus I was eager to check out her latest offering, "Dancing Crazy," when it premiered.

That… that was a bit of a mistake, alas.

Well, okay, actually, first let me say this: I don't hate it as much upon re-listening as I did initially, because the first time I hit the shouty section of the chorus I wasn't prepared for it, and was so very embarrassed for her I was physically compelled to mute it and click away quickly. The thing is, though, that shouty bit is so very horrible it drags the otherwise-catchy song down with it.

It feels very much like whatever army of suit-wearing songwriters put this together realized that she's got the innocent tween thing happening, and because she's not yet breaking out of it by Being Sexy (which is the only way women break out of that, apparently) they tried to find another way to make her seem edgy. So they imported a chorus from, oh, I don't know, an unused Ke$ha song or something, only to realize that Miranda Cosgrove really, really can't pull that off. They kept the concept, watered it down, and ended up with a combination of some of the most inane lyrics I've ever heard ("I like you and you like me / we get together and we're happy") and some that's just outright terrible ("Didja hear me say that? / Didja didja hear me say that? / SMACK" Which doesn't even rhyme).

As for the video, I will say, it isn't dreadful. Miranda is very pretty, and her awkwardness works to her advantage in the few clips of her doing the robot and other such silliness. But aside from that, there's very little actual Dancing Crazy. There are, in fact, a few featured dancers, who are pretty great and do not seem even a little bit out of control or otherwise "crazy", and then a crowd of teens kind of bopping in place. Sometimes they do, in fact, put their hands up, if Miranda implores them to do so. But at least I find the dorky guy totally adorable, which helps.

That said, I worry about the example this video sets. Not because I think kids should never sneak out to go dancing, no! But because it seems to suggest the best way to sneak in and out is the tried and true method of… using your front door at a time in which it's totally reasonable for your parents to be awake and about (11 at night, 7 in the morning). Miranda, how will children learn about crawling out of windows and scrambling down convenient trees and/or trellises and all associated hijinks, if not from you? For shame, Miranda. You have let an entire generation down.

*Also, as it turns out, "Kissin U" is a great karaoke jam.

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