Miley Cyrus vs Richardson and Lana Del Rey

Richardson had many interesting points and views when it came to art in his time period. He believed that art was used to improved society as a whole. In his essays,  “Two Discourses- an Essay on the Art of Criticism,” his emphasis was on the way art is full of potential in the ways it effects society. He thinks that people would be better if instead of wasting their time on doing sinful and immoral actions, they should reform themselves through art. He boldly writes, ““if Gentlemen were Lovers of Painting, and Conoisseurs, it would be of great advantage to the Publick.” He is telling his readers that if people spent more time exploring art than doing corrupt actions, our society would improve ten-fold.

Personally, in this aspect of Richardson’s essay I agree completely. If our society nowadays were more interested in books and essays that enriched the mind instead of trashy romance novels and reality TV shows about Jersey Housewives then maybe we wouldn’t live in a world filled with such shallow corruption. Richardson’s words though sadly seem to be an idea of the past that people of the present may never adopt due to their ignorance.

My first piece I have chosen the song “23” by Miley Cyrus:

[Hook: Miley Cyrus]
I’m in the club high off purp with some shades on
Tatted up, mini skirt with my J’s on

[Juicy J x2]
J’s on my feet
J’s on my feet
J’s on my feet
So get like me

[Verse 1: Miley Cyrus]
I be in the club standing on the couch
In them Wolf Greys like it’s my house

Drinking out the bottle, I got no respect
Looking like a model, who just got a check
I back it up, cause I don’t give a fuck
If you’re a lame, that’s a shame you can’t hang with us
I’m MC Hammer fly, you can’t touch
J’s so fly I should work at Flight Club

[Bridge: Miley Cyrus]
Put on my J’s and dance the whole night away
I’m naughty by nature like I’m hip-hop hooray
With my hands in the sky, I wave ‘em from side to side
My feet on the floor, I’m ’bout to turn up now


[Verse 2: Wiz Khalifa]
I be rockin’ J’s or
I be rockin’ Taylors

I got lots of flavors, my kick game is major
More kicks than the players, call me up I’m scorin’
Hit it like a free throwtongue out like I’m Jordan
Smiley, Miley, come swing the thing right by me
Gotta a joint if you wanna get stoned, got choppers if they wanna try me
Pro athlete I’m not no wannabe
Waitress asked how many bottles? I said 23



[Verse 3: Juicy J]
I stay showin’ out, my kick game is a beast
I got thirty pair of J’s that ain’t never been released
Flu game twelve, Space Jam 11
On the hype beast sick, they gon’ need a paramedic
Turn up, turn up, turn up, I get trippy, I stay live
All this purple in my cup, match them grape 5’s
I’m so high, I got three bitches that go bi
I’m so fly, I’m gettin’ head like a blow dryer



Okay, so I will admit, it’s a pretty freaking catchy song. If Richardson listened to this so though, he may go into shock from the meaningless trash that it’s consumed with. This entire song is about how much Miley Cyrus thinks she’s a badass and how “turned up” she can get. This song not only includes references to drugs and alcohol, but it even alludes to sexual acts performed in a disrespectful way. Point blank, if this is the direction music nowadays is going towards… I’m a little frightened…. There is simply no real meaning or virtue that can make a person. Richardson would actually recommend people should not listen to this song, I think he would rather them listen to nothing.

Second Piece I chosen the song is the song “Ride” by Lana Del Rey:

[Music video spoken introduction:]

I was in the winter of my life, and the men I met along the road were my only summer.
At night I fell asleep with visions of myself, dancing and laughing and crying with them.
Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour, and my memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times.
I was a singer – not a very popular one,
I once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken.
But I didn’t really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.
When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I’d been living, they asked me why – but there’s no use in talking to people who have home.
They have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people – for home to be wherever you lay your head.
I was always an unusual girl.
My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…
And if I said I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying…
Because I was born to be the other woman.
Who belonged to no one, who belonged to everyone.
Who had nothing, who wanted everything, with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about it, and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.

I’ve been out on that open road
You can be my full time daddy,
White and gold
Singing blues has been getting old
You can be my full time baby,
Hot or cold

Don’t break me down
I’ve been travelin’ too long
I’ve been trying too hard
With one pretty song

I hear the birds on the summer breeze,
I drive fast, I am alone in the night
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble,
but I, I’ve got a war in my mind
So, I just ride, just ride,
I just ride, just ride

Dying young and I’m playing hard
That’s the way my father made his life an art
Drink all day and we talk ’til dark
That’s the way the road dogs do it – ride ’til dark.

Don’t leave me now
Don’t say good bye
Don’t turn around
Leave me high and dry

I hear the birds on the summer breeze,
I drive fast, I am alone in the night
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble,
but I, I’ve got a war in my mind
I just ride, just ride,
I just ride, just ride

I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy
I’m tired of driving ’til I see stars in my eyes
It’s all I’ve got to keep myself sane, baby
So I just ride, I just ride

I hear the birds on the summer breeze,
I drive fast, I am alone in the night
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble,
but I, I’ve got a war in my mind
I just ride, just ride,
I just ride, I just ride

[Music video spoken ending:]
Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people, and finally I did on the open road.
We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art.
Live fast. Die young. Be wild. And have fun.
I believe in the country America used to be.
I believe in the person I want to become.
I believe in the freedom of the open road.
And my motto is the same as ever:
“I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself I ride, I just ride.”
Who are you?
Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies?
Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them?
I have. I am fucking crazy.
But I am free.

First of all, Lana Del Rey is absolutely amazing. Her lyrics to her songs completely blow my mind every single time I listen to them. She pushes the edge. She isn’t afraid to let loose the truth about herself but she does it in the most tasteful way possibly. Her lyrics are more of a lullaby to the mind and Miley Cyrus’s are more of an alarm clock. Just like Richardson says, “We are pushed on by our wills, excited by the determination of our understandings upon a view of the present set of ideas; but these changing perpetually from the impression made upon our senses by external objects from the nature…” Lana Del Rey does exactly this by expressing her ideas through the senses; she uses sound but also evokes a picture in our minds with her vivid wording.

Works Cited:


One thought on “Miley Cyrus vs Richardson and Lana Del Rey

  1. Madison,

    Excellent points made here! Your Richardson quotes fit your argument to a tee, my only disagreement is with your statement “He believed that art was used to improved society as a whole.” From your explanations of how society could benefit from using art in the way Richardson describes, to improve humanity, I gather that you and Richardson are actually on the same page! You both believe that art CAN be used to improve society. This is the point you may have been trying to make…I was just a little thrown by the like a quoted from you. No matter though! Your analysis is still strong.

    Miley and Lana Del Rey huh?
    Let me be honest..upon SEEING Ms. Del Rey for the first time, having not heard her music I was skeptical (it was the lips I must admit). I placed her in the category of “fame whore” without even meaning to. My friend showed me her music though, and even though I was predisposed to hate it, I found it infectious! She gets a lot of hate, so does Cyrus. Both are technically good singers but the way they use their talent is so different. You describe this here, using Richardson’s words as a guide. Good job!

    Grade, “S’

    Samantha Q

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