"We Can't Stop" is well past its peak on the Billboard charts, currently sitting at #15 with both "Wrecking Ball" and "23" sitting ahead of it. But for some reason it's having yet another cultural moment thanks to two high-profile covers. The one above aired on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, teaming up Cyrus, Fallon and The Roots for an incredibly tight a cappella cover of the hit song. And the other one… well, if you've managed to get the image of a twerking John Boehner out of your head since Saturday, you're luckier than I am.
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon has an impressive track record of getting musicians to come on their show and perform in totally unexpected ways, from Bruce Springsteen singing Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" alongside Fallon pretending to be Neil Young to the famous "schoolhouse instruments" covers, with everyone from Mariah Carey to Robin Thicke. The "Call Me Maybe" one probably remains my favorite:
"We Can't Stop" didn't really lend itself to percussive instruments, but the colorful Brady Bunch-style setup basically has the same effect, taking a raunchy and provocative pop song and making it cheerful, friendly and totally unthreatening. Miley Cyrus is on a very, very interesting publicity run in this post-VMAs world, popping up on television not as the tongue-wagging provocateur, but as the charming, self-deprecating girl she was before she chopped off her hair and made twerking famous. Miley isn't trying to convince anyone she's still charming little Hannah Montana, but the Fallon and SNL appearances make a really strong case for liking her despite the teddy bears and foam fingers and, ugh, the tongue. It's hard not to like someone who's singing to ?uestlove while he makes silly faces at the camera.