Long before Miley was twerking everybody off, Billy Ray Cyrus was achy-breaking our hearts
Long before Miley's now-infamous VMA performance this past weekend, there was another Cyrus offending the delicate sensibilities of unsuspecting Americans everywhere with a seemingly harmless song. And therein lies the root of the problem, my friends. See, it wasn't harmless at all, for it essentially sowed the seeds for this current Cyrus crisis we find ourselves in -- and it could've all prevented.
Rewind to the waning days of the first Bush era, and you can see the roots of this whole thing -- and then you can wring your hands that everybody evidently just sat back and let it happen. The year was 1992, and Billy Ray, the elder Cyrus, was a young man with a mullet and a dream, swooning all the lady-folk with his nonsensical ramblings about his achy-breaky heart. (Seriously, how this song ever got him laid is beyond me, but clearly it did, because, well, here we are in the future, and much to our chagrin, the Princess of Twerk exists.)
The video for "Achy Breaky Heart" is one of those self-aggrandizing vehicles that imagines the artist more legendary than he is. Despite the fact that this song was Billy Ray's first hit, the video opens up inexplicably with him outside a venue with mobs of screaming Southern Belles fighting through police lines just to touch those glorious, shimmering locks. Holy incongruity. I mean, how did this happen? How could he be famous before he was famous? Were all those ladies Aqua Netting their teased 'dos for Billy Ray, like, way before he was cool?
Maybe. But now is not the time for logic. Now is the time for shimmying your sparkly cowgirl boots across the floor, because a budding legend is about to take the stage.
At first glance, you might think this isn't the official music video, but rather a live recording. And you'd be sort-of right, I guess. It's in a big concert hall, lots of screaming fans, and it has that kind of shaky-camera look. But hold on there, pardner, 'cause it doesn't take but about forty seconds for the synchronized line dancing to start. As much as I wish for the crowd to bust out choreographed moves at every concert I go to, I haven't seen it yet. Still, the story goes that it is indeed a live show. Sure. Okay. Maybe they all know the moves because they're just doing the electric slide. ANYWAY.
Besides being a testament to the power of the Cyrus clan to overcome even the worst songwriting with their irresistible charisma, the video is a veritable tribute to gnarly '90s fashion. Have you ever seen mom jeans paired with a be-sequined bra look sexy? You haven't? That's because it's impossible. But guess what? That didn't stop some of Billy Ray's fans from rocking that look, and twenty years later....wait for it...his own daughter.
Et tu, Miley?
So everyone's line dancing and having an awesome time despite their tragic fashion missteps. Billy Ray also looks like he's having the time of his life, culminating the video in what can only be described as "country breakdancing." Remember the first five times you watched his precious daughter gyrate with a foam finger and you were like, "Wait, was that dancing, or...?" That's kind of what the end of this video is like, but without the feeling of violation.
So what is actually happening with this song? Why did it take the nation by storm? Why were Southern children like myself required to line dance to "Achy Breaky Heart" in gym class? I've done a little research on the topic, and it's still a mystery, but here's what we know: