By Courtney E. Smith
Y’all have done hurt Miley Cyrus’ feelings. In the opening scene of her new video, “Wrecking Ball,” the pop star who ignited a controversy with her VMA twerking is seen up close (very close) shedding a single tear. You can see her famous shaved head, a silver ear cuff and white background. And it quickly becomes apparent that “Wrecking Ball,” the follow-up to “We Can’t Stop,” is not a love song.
The video, directed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson (who photographed Cyrus for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar), then transitions into a grey, cement world with Cyrus in the middle. She wears plain white underwear, something of a Richardson hallmark, along with matching white nail polish and carries a sledgehammer to systematically destroy the walls.
Obviously, the visuals are light on metaphor and heavy on fashion. Any single frame would make a stunning photograph, but the sum of its parts is emotional linkbait. Cyrus goes from crying, in a shot reminiscent of Sinead O’Connor’s famous close-up cry for “Nothing Compares 2 U,” to riding a wrecking ball in the nude with a stoic look on her face.
Like so many who’ve grown up in the public eye before her, Cyrus is clearly not done exploring her sexuality in a very public way. Coupled with (the oft-controversial) Richardson’s knack for naked females, it should surprise few that their collaboration turned out the way it has. Sadly, it doesn’t add anything helpful to the narrative of the song or its accompanying video. It’s a cheap shot, literally and figuratively.