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“Wrecking Ball” is a 2013 pop song performed by singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus and the second single for her upcoming fourth studio album Bangerz. Similar to her first single from the year We Can’t Stop, the music video for the song spawned a slew of parodies upon its release in mid-September 2013.
On September 9th, 2013, the VEVO YouTube channel premiered a new music video for Cyrus’ second single “Wrecking Ball” , directed by Terry Richardson featuring nude scenes of the singer in which she demolishes a room with a sledge hammer and wrecking ball (shown below).
In the first 24 hours, the music video garnered more than 12.3 million views, breaking the record for the most viewed video within a a day previously held by the English boy band One Direction. Within 18 days, the video has been viewed more than 161.1 million times.
Despite its record-setting performance on YouTube, the music video was met by mixed critical reception. On the day the video was released, the New York Daily News called the video “overtly sexual,” suggesting the song was a metaphor for her on-again-off-again relationship with Liam Hemsworth and Mashable likened it to Sinéad O’Connor’s iconic 1990 music video for “Nothing Compares 2 U,” in which the singer is filmed crying in a similar manner. The following day, Fox News compiled a number of negative tweets from fans disappointed by the video. Also on September 10th, Vine user Frank McDonald uploaded the first parody of “Wrecking Ball” in which he is shown re-enacting the nude scene from the music video with an outdoor tire swing (shown below).
On September 11th, Cyrus’ father Billy Ray spoke out about the video, calling the song a “smash.” The same day, Cyrus was interviewed on New York City radio station Z100 where she asserted that the music video
is about her emotional vulnerability rather than sexualized imagery and that the crying scene wasn’t staged. Meanwhile, parodies of the music video continued to surface on Vine and The Onion, while Funny or Die also joined in with a series of photoshopped images depicting Cyrus riding other spherical objects. By September 12th, a slew of parodies had appeared on YouTube, including a gender-swapped version (shown below, left) and a Nicolas Cage version (shown below, right).
On September 13th, BBC Radio’s Greg James uploaded his own parody video. That week, compilations of parody videos and vines appeared on CBC News, Canada.com and Metro UK. A number of parodies (shown below) were captured at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan atop of a 1973 sculpture of a 42-inch bifilar pendulum by artist Dale Eldred, causing the school to remove the installation on September 17th. The removal led to the creation of the novelty Twitter account @GVSUWreckingBal and hashtag #ReinstallTheBall. As of September 25th, a student committee comprised of people enrolled in the physics and engineering departments have been selected to decide the fate of the sculpture.
Throughout the following week, “Wrecking Ball” parodies were featured on dozens of entertainment sites and internet culture blogs including Billboard, Chicago Now, AdWeek, The Pet Collective, College Humor, Mashable, Heavy and AOLOn. On September 25th, What’s Trending released a compilation video (shown below) of some of the song’s notable parodies.
New York Daily News – Miley Cyrus cries, swings around completely naked in ‘Wrecking Ball’ music video
Digital Collections – Sculpture installed in Campus Center by artist Dale Eldred
Chicago Now – The Top 7 Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” parody videos