Sufjan Stevens writes Miley Cyrus a grammar/mash note
First Sinead O’Connor, then Amanda Palmer and now Sufjan Stevens?
The indie musician is the latest to write a letter to Miley Cyrus, but his missive comes off a little bit like a mash note. Ostensibly, he’s criticizing her for her poor grammar choice, but he concludes the letter on an up note, calling her “the hottest cake in the pan.” It doesn’t even make sense since there’s usually only one cake per pan, but it’s an awesome compliment.
He loves her new album, “Bangerz,” and especially the track, “Get It Right,” but he just can’t get past her line, “I been laying in bed,” which should be “I have been lying in bed.” We feel you, Sufjan. We still can’t get past the line in Bryan Adams’ “Run To You” when he sings, “But that would change if she ever found out about you and I,” instead of “you and me.”
Stevens, who posted the letter on his website, genially teaches her a little about the present perfect continuous tense and assures her that other great Southern writers like herself, including Faulkner, have gotten it wrong.
No response yet from Cyrus, but we have a feeling she’ll take a little more kindly to this criticism than to O’Connor’s.
Though he didn't feel compelled to write an open letter, Paul McCartney also weighed in on Cyrus, telling Sky News, "C'mon, we've seen worse than that!." I think he meant it as a compliment. Seriously, he added that he has no trouble letting his 10-year old daughter watch Cyrus, even her VMA performance: "I watched it [first], and you say, 'What's everyone shouting about?' I think it was only mildly shocking...it wasn't explicit at all." (h/t Rolling Stone)
Besides, nothing should get Cyrus down this week: come Wednesday, she will have the No. 1 album in the land as “Bangerz” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Here is Stevens' note in full:
“Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan”