Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

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Miley Cyrus' 'The Climb:' Yes, be excited.

February 13, 2009 |  1:58 pm

Our friends at our sister blogs have staged extensive countdowns to "Twilight" and "Dollhouse." Maybe Pop & Hiss should start one for the coming "Hannah Montana" movie?

OK, we're not going to carry through on that threat, but "The Climb," the initial song/video released from the film, warrants that the April 10 flick at least be on our radar. Conveniently timed, as the young star has been in apology mode for making what she deemed were "goofy faces," the song comes equipped with some lyrical admissions of guilt. "Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose," sings the young Billy Ray, tapping into some full-on Nashville earnestness.

Our friends at Idolator have tagged the song "goopy," but as far as orchestra-enhanced sappiness goes, "The Climb," to paraphrase the tune, is at the top of the mountain. It might just be some pre-Valentine's Day gooeyness round these parts, but "The Climb" is the rare Miley ballad that's on par with some of her more spunky teen pop.

Her raspy voice brings a bit of country grit to the squeaky-clean piano notes -- this isn't about reflection, it's about determination. And just as the pretty acoustics seem ready to bury the song in cheese, a sudden, spiky burst of violins (or synths that sound like violins) swoops in right before the 3-minute mark, turning a slow dance into an arm raiser.

Granted, Miley sings about "taking chances," and the song takes none. But it's also a tune built for a massive crowd sing-along with a free iPhone app, and we should expect no less for our best teen pop stars.   

The video, however, is another matter. It's better than the last-minute feel of "7 Things," and it's nice to see Miley sportin' a guitar as one of her accessories, but it also looks a bit like Miley has stepped into a Thomas Kinkade painting. And those weird dance twitches she does make it look like Miley is grooving to a different tune than her own.

Ah well, the clip has lots of horses, and I've been told that stallions are big with the kids these days.

-- Todd Martens