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Party in the U.S.A.

3 Ratings: 1.3
A 2009 pop song performed by American recording artist Miley Cyrus.

"Party in the U.S.A." is a pop song performed by American recording artist Miley Cyrus. The song was written by Lukasz Gottwald, Claude Kelly and Jessica Cornish, and produced by Gottwald. Released as the lead single from Cyrus' extended … see full wiki

1 review about Party in the U.S.A.

A critical analysis of the themes and subtexts of "Party in the USA"

  • Aug 13, 2010
Rating:
+5
Miley Cyrus is one of the most understated artists of our time, and while she continues to be misunderstood by the mainstream media, also communicates complex ideas around deep human emotions and the experience of living through the lyrics in her songs.

One of the greatest examples is her masterpiece, "Party in the USA", which expresses deep anxiety, fear of acceptance, and the transition of a young Southern girl experiencing the emotional assault of being thrown into Los Angeles.

I'm honored to present to you an analysis of the lyrics, for your consideration.


PARTY IN THE USA

I hopped off the plane at LAX
with a dream and my cardigan

Cyrus opens with an immediate draw to the instant and convenient nature of Los Angeles, blending the energy of "hopped" with the shorthand "LAX", yet reminding us of her roots as a simple girl with a cardigan. Possibly one of the most efficient and effective openings of any song since Funky Cold Medina threw its listeners with: "Cold coolin at a bar, and I'm lookin for some action, But like Mike Jagger said, I can't get no satisfaction".

welcome to the land of fame excess, (woah)
am I gonna fit in?

Cyrus engages the central theme of her thesis: the exterior desire for fame, but the very human need to be accepted by others. Punctuated by "Woah", the sub-text of youth underlines everything that happens in the rest of the song.

Jumped in the cab,
Here I am for the first time
Look to the right and I see the Hollywood sign
This is all so crazy
Everybody seems so famous

From "hopped" to "jumped", the energy transforms in the second verse, and our focus is drawn to one of the most iconic features of Los Angeles - the Hollywood Sign. And yet amidst the confines of a taxi, one of the world's greatest artists compares herself to the world and discovers suddenly in a Richard Matheson-inspired moment that she is the outcast and the least famous.

My tummys turnin and I'm feelin kinda home sick
Too much pressure and I'm nervous,

The casualness of the first line, expertly blending 'turnin' 'feelin' and 'kinda' disarms the audience for the suddenness of the words at the end. Fundamentally, memories of home haunt this young singer as she enters the baccanalian world of the City of Angels.

That's when the taxi man turned on the radio
and a Jay Z song was on
and the Jay Z song was on
and the Jay Z song was on

And finally, in an psychologically-satisfying payoff that writers such as Jane Austen and Anton Chekov could only dream of aspiring to, her fears are allayed by the least famous person - a cab driver - bringing one of the most famous into the scene. Cyrus is immediately grounded in her status as a world-class musician and rather than finding Pavorotti's rendition of Nessun Dorma, the audience is left wondering which sublime Jay Z work is soothing her woes. Whether it's 99 Problems or Dirt Off Your Shoulder, it's a rhetorical open question to which there is no answer.

CHORUS:
So I put my hands up
They're playing my song,
And the butterflys fly away
Noddin' my head like yeah
Moving my hips like yeah,
And I got my hands up,
They're playin my song I know I'm gonna be ok
Yeah, It's a party in the USA
Yeah, It's a party in the USA

Almost unexpectedly, Cyrus once again shifts gears in the chorus, evoking elements of nature and a folksy acceptance of being in the middle of the stark Venn diagram of quiet country life and an energetic city. Not since M C Hammer invited people to "Stop" and appreciate "Hammertime", clearly a ingenenious euphemism representing the flaws in our relationships with the closest around us and our need to understand them, have we see such a illustrious display of the celebration of being alive.

While noddin' her head "like yeah", and moving her hips to the same notion, Cyrus draws a abrupt conclusion that shocks the listener but leaves us with no room for disagreement: "It's a party in the USA". We appreciate this point - and realize its seductive and unambiguos view - especially when we see that Cyrus' party could not have happened in Canada, Britain, Mexico or Australia. It's a uniquely American experience that she shares, and the party is highly representative of a spiritual bond that exists between citizens, rather than a literal event.

Get to the club in my taxi cab
Everybody's lookin at me now
Like "who's that chick, thats rockin' kicks?
She gotta be from out of town"

The message of the chorus becomes much more apparent as Cyrus recalls the initial themes in the subsequent verses. We're immediately brought back in the world of the taxi cab - a safe shell with an anonymous driver - and from this vantage point she reflects that her "rockin' kicks" betray her roots. In her most vulerable point in the song, Cyrus reveals to us her deepest innermost conflict.


So hard with my girls not around me
Its definitely not a Nashville party
Cause' all I see are stilletos
guess I never got the memo

The final verse shifts to the comedic towards the end as a palpable comparison to the loneliness admitted more clearly here than anywhere else.

Not willing to give in to the listener, just as we begin to understand her and want to explore the many complex issues, she pushes us away with the comically brilliant "I never got the memo", clearly a reference to the witty banter in Batman Begins.

My tummys turnin' and I'm feelin' kinda home sick
Too much pressure and I'm nervous
That's when the D.J. dropped my favorite tune
and a Britney song was on
and the Britney song was on
and the Britney song was on

This is both a reprise and a surprise - during her growing understanding and acceptance of her plight, the Jay Z song has been replaced by the Britney song. As before, we have no information about which of Ms Spears' songs brings such solace to the songwriter - we're left to question whether it was the quiet brilliance of "Gimme More" or a playfully flirtatious "Oops... I did it again".

Feel like hoppin' on a flight (on a flight)
Back to my hometown tonight (town tonight)
Something stops me everytime (everytime)
The DJ plays my song and I feel alright!

In Act 3 of her journey, Cyrus completes her visit, having addressed her initial concerns using both a deep reflective intellect, and a heart-felt connection to her contemporaries through their music. It's an ultimately satisfying conclusion that provides insight into this elusive artist, and makes us all realize "I know I'm gonna be ok" provided that we participate fully and honestly in "The Party in the USA".

Bonus footage: Miley Cyrus performing "Party in the USA" live

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August 20, 2010
I love this song, lol. It's so catchy. I can't believe how much Miley's grown since Hannah Montana, lol. Great song review!
 
August 18, 2010
Great, now I've got this song stuck in my head, as well as the image of Miley gyrating to it!  Seriously though, this review is BRILLIANT.  I've never read so deeply into a Miley Cyrus song before, or any song actually.  Wait, are you cross posting your senior thesis here? ;)
August 18, 2010
Thanks! I'm just nodding my head "like yeah" although I suspect my English teacher is spunning in his urn.
 
August 16, 2010
ok, this genious. thanks for this super quirky, hilarious, and insightful take! the pop glutton in me loved this song before, and you just raised my appreciation to a whole new level ; )
August 16, 2010
Thanks! I'm deeply considering the influence of Scrooge McDuck on Taylor Swift, but I'm scared that Kanye West might find out.
 
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Miley Cyrus

An American singer, actress, and author.

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