Speaking of “Party in the U.S.A.” . . .
. . . I had this great idea for a post about the song in which I would praise the elegance of its structure, particularly the repeated lines at the ends of the verses, which build up tension ahead of the arrival of the chorus in a manner that recalls for me nothing so much as Jacques Brel’s classic “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (although Brel’s song is even trickier, since the last line of each of ITS verses is also the first line of each chorus, making it ambiguous where one stops and the other starts; Cyndi Lauper exploits this adroitly in her reading of the dodgy but standard Rod McKuen translation; lyrics-wise, Momus’s version is closer to the original) . . . and then I would point out how well-matched the lyrics of “Party in the U.S.A.” are to that structure, with the former consisting of an apologia for and explanation of the latter (hey Miley fans, if you feel uneasy about her move away from Nashville-slash-country to L.A.-slash-power-pop, don’t worry, cuz she’s even more uneasy about it than you are—although such a carefully-constructed script only works to the extent that the leading lady follows it; see sugarhigh! for more details*) . . . and I would FURTHER argue that in its evocation of social difference ameliorated by common cultural references, the song almost succeeds—despite itself, despite the shortcomings sugarhigh! points out, despite a core slickness I can’t help but suspect of cynicism—in both describing and embodying the “luminous devotion to the possibility of domestic kindness and social accord” that in an earlier post I quoted Dave Hickey as advocating . . . and then I would sum up by saying that the most appealing thing about “Party in the U.S.A.” is its implied suggestion that this possibility of kindness and domestic accord can best be accomplished not through consciousness-raising in the Enlightenment tradition, but rather through the kind of ecstatic escape from subjectivity and selfhood that the best pop hooks encourage and enable.
However, I came to realize that the song’s key lyric—which I had been hearing as “I’m not in my head, like: yeah”—is actually “I’m noddin’ my head, like: yeah.”
So, uh, never mind. Go back to whatever you were doing.
* I still maintain that I hear a different Nelly being borrowed from in “Party” than jane dark does—c’mon, listen to the background licks Cyrus sings starting at 2:37 and tell me I’m wrong—but sugarhigh! is hardly offbase in its assertions . . .