Such cute control

Posted By on January 5, 2008

I’m sitting next to Laura, Lylah’s bud. Laura and Lylah are shrieking. Lylah’s my daughter, on the verge of 13. She’s obsessed with Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, aka the Jonas Brothers, the minihunks on the Hannah Montana Tour, the hottest rock ‘n’ roll ticket in years. Karen, my wife, made Lylah cry for joy when Lylah unwrapped a very special Christmas present: three tickets to the Jan. 3 Hannah Montana show at the Q. Karen won’t tell me what she paid for the tickets.

The show ran from 7:15 to just before 9:30. The production values were impeccable; the Jonas Brothers opened with a half-hour of their perky boypop, a skillful amalgam of ballads and boisterousness that at its best stomped with the authority of early rockabilly. They were pretty good, and they were indisputably athletic. Screamfests greeted “S.O.S.,” “Kids of the Future,” “Year 3000” and “When You Look Me in the Eyes.”

Then Hannah Montana, the blonde half of the Miley Cyrus-Hannah Montana presentation, came out for about 45 minutes. Her songs were perfect pop product, their cues straight from the ’70s and ’80s songbook of ABBA and Journey. The empowerment message, compactly calibrated for her proto-teen audience, came through loud and clear in “We Got the Party,” “Nobody’s Perfect” (an acute expression of feeling like an outsider, a message many young girls relate to) and “Old Blue Jeans.” That last was nifty in its blend of saucy and cute, Hannah and her girls prancing, all buff and casual, to lyrics about the joys of familiarity. Hannah makes girls feels safe and edgy at the same time.

After ducking into a little room onstage, Miley Cyrus came out, hair dark and clothing rougher than Hannah’s. A biker chain dangling from her tight pants, Billy Ray Cyrus’s daughter, who stars in the Disney TV show “Hannah Montana,” delivered “Start All Over” (she was tough here), “Let’s Dance” (all she missed in this busy presentation was Lionel Richie) and “G.N.O.,” or “Girls’ Night Out,” a pitch for bonding with her audience. Not a problem.

The show was a triumph of branding and packaging. The drummer was great, the messages sharp as those in a good political campaign, and the way Hannah-Miley wove those cuddly Jonas Brothers into the act was well thought out.

At the same time, with her commands to yell “Hannah” and “Montana” and her self-referential remarks, Hannah-Miley spoke to the narcissism at the core of her appeal. Hers is a branding effort geared toward some of the most impressionable among us, girls on the tip of adolescence. By delivering three separate brands – The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus – she’s keeping the product, itself a commercial for Disney (world/channel/radio) diverse and marketable. God forbid scandal befall her, something the cheerily purposeful Miley, in contrast to predecessor Britney Spears, seems unlikely to generate. Miley Cyrus is only 15 – and already in control. May she retain that as she grows up.


4 Responses to “Such cute control”

  1. Laura says:

    omg your amazing

  2. Laura says:


    your amazing!!

  3. i love this song with the joe bros!

  4. Alex James says:

    i llove this song! my fav person in the jon. bro. is KEVIN!

Leave a Reply

About the author

I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: