Most teen stars don't age so gracefully--anyone who's watched hasbeen-centric "Celebreality" shows like Confessions Of A Teen Idol, Breaking Bonaduce, or The Two Coreys knows this. For every success story like Jodie Foster or Drew Barrymore, there's...well, a whole bunch of Coreys, so to speak.
Miley Cyrus, at ripe old age of 16, is the latest t(w)een star hoping to smoothly transition from pimple-prone pubescent to respected adult entertainer (no, not THAT kind of adult entertainer!), with her relatively mature new song, "The Climb." The country-crossover power ballad (is that her daddy's influence?) may be the theme from the latest installment in her kiddie-friendly Hannah Montana movie series, but it's a much more subdued affair than her past bubblegummy efforts. "Pumpin' Up The Party" it ain't.
In the song's "serious" video, an older and presumably wiser Miley even straps on a guitar (surely she must know how to play it, right? right???); stands triumphantly on a CGI-rendered cliff beneath an aerial-sweeping camera (a scene lifted straight out of an '80s Bon Jovi video); and existentially sings the following grown-up words of woe:
I can almost see it, that dream I'm dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying, "You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking, every move I make
Feels lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb
Whoa. That's deep. For Miley, at least.
Of course, the whole song/video is reminiscent of former teen sensation Britney Spears' attempt at mature balladry some years ago--also from a movie, Crossroads--"I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman." The video is even eerily similar, right down to the widescreen aerial cliff shots, road-tripping movie scenes, and inspirational Hallmark-card lyrics about how "this girl will always find her way" and "all I need is time":
Well, we all know Britney's post-movie evolution from girl to woman wasn't exactly an easy one. Will Miley, now at a crossroads herself, encounter a similarly bumpy road? It remains to be seen, but if the subdued sound and triumph-of-the-spirit sentiments of "The Climb" are any indication, there probably won't be any head-shaving or underwear-forgetting incidents in Miley's future.