The Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana and the Quest for a Career Past Age 18

This month's issue of Rolling Stone features Disney phenom's the Jonas Brothers. I find myself both appalled that they would be considered for the coveted cover and surprised that the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana didn't make it first. Somehow, this 15 year old daughter of a country one-hit wonder has become the center of adulation and curiosity not only to her peers, but to tabloid reading woman more than twice her age. Why?

Teen pop seems to come in intervals of ten years. The late eighties gave us the New Kids on the Block, Tiffany, and Debbie Gibson, the late nighties were dominated by NSYNC, Britney, and Christina, (all have ties to Disney through the Mickey Mouse Club) and now at the end of the noughties, another batch of Disney produced tweens. Though the media empire attempted to create this phenomena earlier in the decade with acts such as Hillary Duff, also known as the artist formerly known as Lizzie McGuire, the timing wasn't right and Duff found herself in a world fresh off their Spears fix, and in a teen pop hangover.

The artist formerly known as Hannah Montana couldn't have had better timing as this decade draws to a close and a new generation of ten year olds forge a musical taste of their own. These tweens, and perhaps more importantly, their parents, have helped create an empire that landed the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana to be named on of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people of the year. Her article was written by none other than former teen heartthrob Donny Osmond. Osmond went on to say, "Within three to five years, Miley will have to face adulthood. Fans grow up, and their youthful interests quickly dissolve. Her challenge will be overcoming the Hannah Montana stereotype. Miley's fans are not thinking about the fact that she will grow up too. As she does, she'll want to change her image, and that change will be met with adversity. It's next to impossible to fight, embrace, use or love your image. Trust me. I've seen this all play out before; it's the same ball game, just different players in a different time."

Then, on cue, the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana reveals what could be considered semi-skanky photos shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine. The media and tabloids were all over it, condemning the photos and saying that the young star's decent to skankiness was inevitable but it wasn't as if the weren't hoping for it the entire time. In the post-Britney world, we, the American public, are hungry for fallen stars, hungry for young virtuous girls to transform into dirrty vixens for our amusement, criticizing them the entire time.

Unlike Miss Spear's seductive Rolling Stone magazine cover, the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana's first scandalous photo shoot has gone unnoticed by most of her fan base. But whether or not it was an intentional grab for controversy or she really feels bad about it, it seems like a necessary step to staying relevant in the coming years. The difference between the teen pop of the eighties and the nineties is that in the former, they disappeared into irrelevance and onto Broadway and casino tour circuits. The turn of the century teen pop got dirrty and remain YouTube staples to this day. Can the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana stay relevant and dressed? Her new album, last week's #1 Breakout, seems to hint that she is ready to breakout of her Disney mold and the American public's reception now and in the coming years will be a telling sign of our cultural climate and expectations young girls are burdened with.

*The artist formerly known as Hannah Montana now goes by Miley Cyrus. The author addresses her as the artist to feel better about the fact that he is a 21 year old male and is blogging about a 15 year old girl. It sounds much more legitimate that way, doesn't it?


Bronson said...

Don't worry Hunter, I think using the artist formerly known as hannah montana is more legit too.

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