Miley Cyrus, “Can’t be Tamed”

Lyrics, Song

I’ve been watching VH1 and MTV mainly to have music videos in the background on when I work – I’m up really late or sometimes really early, it depends. Every time this song comes on, I’m about to mute it, except that I’ll hear something that just sounds like it makes absolutely no sense, and sit there puzzled for a few good minutes.

I think we need to look closely at this song to understand why America is doomed.

To take a mild example from the lyrics:

Every guy everywhere just gives me mad attention
Like I’m under inspection
I always get a ten, ’cause I’m built like that

I go through guys like money, flying out of their hands
They try to change me but they realize they can’t
And every tomorrow is a day I never planned
If you’re gonna be my man, understand

Yeah, I’m picky, but “like I’m under inspection?” I mean, if someone is giving attention, they do tend to scrutinize. I’m not clear on who is rating her a ten. And then there’s the whole mess of that “money” metaphor. If the guys are money, they’re flying out of her hands, but she seems to say she is money. OK, fine, but then if that is to be consistent, then it is the case money changes all the time, right? It not only changes hands but also results in different goods for the user. At the very least they pay bills, right? I’m not clear on how any one who is going to be the speaker’s “man” could understand any of this.

That idea of “change” drives me crazy when we get to the chorus. Another excerpt:

I can’t be blamed
I can’t, can’t
I can’t, can’t be tamed
I can’t be changed

What on earth is she babbling about? I thought the whole point of not being tamed was that one could change however one likes. I’m not clear on who’s blaming her or trying to change her whatsoever; the song doesn’t address issues like that except for the reference “guys,” and last I checked she was flying away from them like they were spending money.

The lyric that directly inspired this post:

I’m like a puzzle but all of my pieces are jagged
If you can understand this
We can make some magic, I’m on like that

“All my pieces are jagged?” That’s not a puzzle, that’s broken glass. Magic? Breaking mirrors is cursed. I guess this is an expansion on the “magic:”

I said I’m not a trick you play
I’m wired a different way
I’m not a mistake, I’m not a fake
It’s set in my DNA

This almost makes sense. The first line doesn’t, “you” hasn’t been established except, again, for the ubiquitous “guys.” I don’t even get how someone could make someone else a magic trick in any sense except the literal. The metaphor is so badly mangled that the idea of deception has been replaced by creation accidentally. But alright, the stuff about DNA and being “wired”  and having a difficult nature, I’ll buy that, at least until later in the song:

Don’t change me (my DNA)

Apparently “guys” whom she has professed complete control over are themselves all-powerful.

Anyway, I’m going to go back to listening to Jay-Z’s “Young Forever,” which compared to the above is King Lear.


  1. Ummm, I hate to break it to you, but you need to get out a little more ;)

    Seriously trying “analyse” Miley Cyrus is like trying to understand who left the gum under the table; it’s there, you don’t know how or why, but just don’t touch it.

  2. @ JR – I’ll let you know when Miss Cyrus writes a letter, and her lawyers proclaim this an unauthorized use of copyright material :P

    @ amanda – Yup, ke$hs may be next.

  3. I highly doubt anyone here could analyze Ke$ha in all her profundity. At best, we could only catch a brief glimpse of just what it means to “wake up in the morning feelin’ like P. Diddy.”

  4. Oh – and you want nonsensical lyrics? Try the following, also from Ke$ha: “zip your lips like a padlock!”

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