Miley Cyrus's Bangerz DVD is the best insight into the paradoxical pop star yet

Miley Cyrus billboard

I’ve read Miley Cyrus’s 2009 memoir Miles To Go from cover to cover.

It’s an exhilarating read which veers wildly from sober reflection to vacuous inanity (in Miley’s list of seven things that make her sad, “world hunger” trails behind “my horsies being in Nashville without me” and “people who don’t know Jesus”). It’s not, however, a particularly good insight into the mind of the pop star. Indeed, it was written by ghostwriter Hilary Liftin – of Tori Spelling’s Stori Telling fame – and often seems to openly contradict what we know of its subject, not least when Miley (a self-proclaimed pothead) declares that “smoking would be like smashing my guitar and expecting it to play. I’d never do that to my voice”.

Many have accused Miley 2.0 – the tongue-waggling agent of controversy that first emerged in 2013 – of being similarly manipulated, with Sinéad O’Connor condescendingly calling on the star to “in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself”. If O’Connor still has doubts as to Miley’s powers of self-determination, I can only suggest she pick up a copy of her new tour DVD Bangerz, a work of pop culture paroxysm so singularly bizarre that it’s impossible to imagine any record executive in their right mind coming up with it.

Whereas Miles To Go was too neatly packaged to be the work of a teenager, Bangerz is as brilliantly wrong-headed as you’d expect a show devised by a 21-year-old multi-millionaire to be. Entirely bereft of a through line or any sense of tonal consistency, the show sees Miley catapult through half a dozen personas in as many minutes, often without the luxury of a costume change, which leaves her singing ballad Maybe You’re Right dressed in marijuana-leaf glasses and a dollar-print leotard. Add breakdancing chimps, John Kricfalusi animation, and a giant hotdog into the mix and you’ve got a better insight into the mind of Miley Cyrus than any ghostwriter or pitchman could muster.

Also out this week

Paddington Peruvian immigration drama.

The Drop Self-serious Brooklyn crime saga.

The Homesman Unexpectedly feminist western.

No Good Deed B-grade home invasion thriller.

Powered by article was written by Charlie Lyne, for The Guardian on Saturday 28th March 2015 09.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010