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What is a Party in the USA?

11/08/09 | by Charlie [mail] | Categories: Music

Today I'm proud to bring you the second edition of how to ruin a good music video via deconstruction...

Let the banter begin after the jump:



can someone explain 'party in the USA' to me? i just watched the music
video and it doesn't make any sense.

I might really be missing something, but I think the basic idea of the
lyrics is:
Miley goes to LA.
People there are famous. This is unsettling.
People there also think she is famous. This is more unsettling.
Metaphorically, these two are brought together by the fact that at a
series of parties she attends (which are not Nashville parties) HER
songs are playing alongside those by such iconic masters of music as
"Jay-Z" and "Britney".
"Butterflies fly away" is a reference to a ballad that she and her dad
recorded together, and thus symbolizes the transition from the
innocence of home that she is leaving behind to the world of musical
fame and fortune.
The video, on its own, also is really interested in her cowboy boots
(Nashville!), her confusedly holding her hair (transitions, loss of
innocence, etc.), and her singing into an outrageously large
microphone (fallic?).

Also, I think the music video/song speak to Miley's impression that
there is a collective American experience based on pop music. Like a
bling-bling, ghetto fabulous, pop-princessy version of Jung.

What that has to do with her in a giant cage...I'm not really sure.


but why is it a party in the USA? mainly i'm confused because the
lyrics are all about LA, but she's from nashville and the video looks
like it was shot in rural texas. how do we get from discrete locations
to a national party?

The understanding and platonic adoration that I as a straight
man have for a singing fifteen year old is not something I can really
put into words. It is like trying to explain why humans need art or
how certain smells remind us of home. Somethings, like the adoration
of songs about pubescent nervousness and regional identities, really
speaks to straight men. We live lives of growing hair all over our
bodies, grunting, and uprooting trees with our bare hands, and no one
has really spoken to our insecurities before Miley had the courage.

Every man has had the experience of stepping out of a
limousine in a city that wants to break us down with shining lights
and glitter, and everyone of us still standing was supported in his
time of need by a fortuitous experience with pop music. I don't
expect everyone to understand this, but I hope you can be respectful of our

And to finish it off:

"Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

-Barack Obama


i guess what i'm really confused by is the disconnect between the
lyrics and the video. the lyrics place her in hollywood, without her
girls, but in the video, she is not in hollywood, and she is with her
girls. when she sings about going to a club, the video instead shows
her standing in the dirt against a corrugated metal sign. (i also have
trouble believing that nashville parties don't have stilettos, but
i'll leave that aside for the moment.) is she back in nashville? if
she is back in nashville, why is she singing about homesickness? if
she has returned to nashville triumphant, why don't the lyrics mention

So many unanswered questions, and now I don't think I'll ever be able to feel the same way again about that video. Sad.

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.


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