It's happened. Miley Cyrus has completed her transformation into the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne in her "BB Talk" video, although if possible, she's even more Wayne Coyne than Wayne Coyne. Miley has been worshiping at the altar of Coyne and his band for some time now, and she's learned well from the veteran absurdist. Meanwhile, Coyne is joining Miley for her Dead Petz tour, which is endorsement enough for the quality of Miley's transformation. The feeling between them is, forever weirdly and wildly, mutual.
"BB Talk" features Miley dressed as a baby, in a variety of infantile situations. Recalling the more recent work of the Flaming Lips ("For The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", for instance) with its bright, block colored backgrounds and surreal content, "BB Talk" is a masterpiece. Far from a gratiutious romp in adult diapers, Miley's latest offering is a far cry from her controversial "We Can't Stop", "BB Talk" shows how much Miley has grown (I realize the irony of having said that when talking about a woman dressed as a giant baby), how much she's learned from her critics, and how much she really has to say.
Within the realm of absurdism, watching Miley Cyrus dressed as a big baby monologue and swear in her deep, raspy voice is uncomfortable at best. And yet here's an importantly commentary on images of women in the media. What we often see are women infantalized in order to be sexualized, and "BB Talk" is a pointed commentary on the prevalence of this visual culture. Miley dressed as a baby isn't sexy in the traditional way women in Lolita pigtails, staring seductively out of the pages of men's magazines and music videos usually are. Miley's attitudes are unsettling, exposing a cultural language of images in which women are constantly diminished, reduced, and made smaller in order to appear desirable.
The lyrics echo the visual sentiment, as Miley croons, "Your baby talk is creeping me out / F*ck me so you stop baby talking," and in her spoken word verses she further elucidates, "You know what, in the beginning it was like we were f*cking homies and shit and then all of a sudden you started with some fucking baby goo-goo tongue down my fucking throat... I mean, you put me in these f*cking situations where I look like a dumbass b*tch and I'm not a f*cking dumbass b*tch." As Miley admits to wanting to vomit over her boyfriend baby talk, her message in is clear. Miley demands autonomy, and to be treated as equal and intelligent in her man's world and indeed in this wider man's world.
"BB Talk" is a visual and lyrical anthem for a generation of women who are seeking independence from patriarchal and indeeed, heteronormative representations of female sexuality, which are largely reductive and ideologiclly anachronistic. Miley's casting off the Miley she was in 2013 and evolving into something far more dynamic and challenging, echoing the sentiments of a new vocal community of young feminists. She sings, "I don't know if I can get over the f*cking goo," and neither do we, Miley, neither do we.