Because I now work as an entertainment news journalist (yes, that’s a thing and it (un-?)fortunately has nothing to do with entertainment parks and circus-clowns) I get a lot more of what is popular amongst teenagers and apparently, Miley Cyrus is kind of a big deal since, like, at least 3 years or something. Anyways, her country-twanged tween-pop is not really my kind of thing (well, would you believe it) but her Barnyard Sessions which took place last summer are pretty nice. She covered some quite popular songs within the songwriter/folk/country-community, amongst them “Jolene”, “Lilac Wine” and Melanie’s “Look what they’ve done to my song”.
NOW, “Lilac Wine” was sung by some heavyweights, amongst them Jeff Buckley, Eartha Kitt and Susan Boyle…haha, the last one was a joke, I actually meant Nina Simone (LOL, could you imagine if someone as redundant as Susan Boyle would do this? It would be horrible* – honestly). Anyways, so even if Cyrus’ version is pretty nice, there are versions out there that have been sung by people that simply carried this big heavy load and therefore put something otherworldly into the song that Miley so far can’t deliver and that’s good because the heavy load usually comes with some serious issues.
And “Jolene”, well, “Jolene” is Dolly Parton’s song and that’s that. I think Parton made it her own and so far, I haven’t heard a better version. But no bad blood there, Parton and Cyrus actually sang the song together at some point but it is odd because of the story of the song it doesn’t fit if two women sing it.
Sometimes the song reminds me of this guy who I once met and who got my name wrong and sent me this song via mail at some point and said that he had to think of that when he met me and I really didn’t get it till much later, you know, the name-mix-up, not the song. It weirded me out quite a lot.
Everyone thinking that the 80s were the worst fashion-wise surely only remember “Almost Famous” and forgot all about…well, all of what happens in this video.
But I really dig Cyrus’ version of “Look, what they’ve done to my song”. The original sounds a little more chanson-esque which is nice and a little cheeky but I love that it sounds a lot more broken and despaired in Cyrus’ country-version. Melanie sounds pissed off by the end.
But Cyrus sounds vulnerable and heart-broken and considering the truly lovely lyrics, it fits.
Seriously, the lyrics are the kind of lyrics that you wouldn’t notice in the more up-beat version of Melanie but they can be interpreted as very sad and frustrated, losing all you have, seeing that whatever you do, the world will turn around and twist and corrupt and that you can’t hide from it, that essentially, you have to accept it and make the best of it and that that truly is the worst because it twists and corrupts you. Geez, now I am depressed.
Also, her band is pretty good, they did a great little interpretation of the song. I think that Cyrus’ voice fits music like this like a glove, I know that I am not an expert in country-tween-pop but I would love her to do more like this, she has a great rasp and even though “Lilac Wine” and “Jolene” were not my favourite versions of the songs, they were pretty solid and enjoyable and I would suppose that you would need to kind of “get” those songs emotionally to interpret them appropriately and quelle surprise, little Miss Cyrus managed that without much difficulty. Although I would have loved to hear her sing the French part but well, you can’t always get what you want.
*there’s a joke in this and that joke is – you may have guessed it – that this version actually exists and it is…not very good