It only took her 15 seconds to crack a tired, self-referential weed gag, and her costumes invited outrage and confusion as per usual. But Miley Cyrus used her appearance on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” to shock viewers with an even more insane tactic; sincerity.
Acting as host and musical guest, Cyrus performed two tracks from her latest album “Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz.” The first saw Miley utilizing her immense lungpower, as she sang the gorgeous, spacey ballad “Karen Don’t Be Sad,” with her backing band that featured members of the Flaming Lips. The Oklahoman psychedelic outfit co-wrote and co-produced much of the album and it shows, as “Karen, Don’t Be Sad” is strongly reminiscent of their 2002 song “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt 1.”
The second song was all Miley. The 22-year-old delivered a solo version of “The Twinkle Song” – an fragile ode to her actual deceased pets (dogs Lila and Floyd, and Pablow the blowfish) who were memorialized on top of her grand piano. The emotional weight of the track led Cyrus to let out ear-shredding howls before breaking into loud sobs, echoing her tearful performances during 2014’s “Bangerz” tour.
In the desensitized, unaffected world of modern pop-culture, being so nakedly vulnerable is much more provocative than just being naked. Miley Cyrus knows that, and it’s why we all still can’t turn away from her.