On Saturday night's episode of Saturday Night Live, musical guest Miley Cyrus was game for sketches, poking fun at her relationship with Liam Hemsworth and appearing in an adult diaper for a rap video, but when it came time to sing, she was not playing around. She sounded stellar singing "Bad Mood" off of her latest album, Younger Now. In a black slit dress with mesh accents (was anyone else reminded of a rock 'n' roll version of Angelina Jolie's Oscars "leg dress"?) and rings that accentuated her hand and finger tattoos, Cyrus belted out the tune, an ode to a relationship too passionate to last: "I wake up in a bad mood/I wake up in a bad mood/The glass ceiling's gotta break/All together, wanna hear ya say/I don’t know how much more it can take."
Then again, the song might also be about how much of the country has felt every morning in the almost-a-year since the election. We always wake up in a bad mood. We can never fall asleep.
Cyrus's vocals are impressive and rough-edged, the closest to rocker Miley we've ever gotten. And while Cyrus is often giving out a "party on the beach" vibe, here, the effort shows (in a good way). She's trying. She did not come to play.
Cyrus does have a history of doing The Most on SNL. In the past, she's played a raunchy Michelle Bachmann trying to shut down the government in a "We Can't Stop" parody "We Did Stop" and begged for Kyle Mooney's hand in marriage.
Next week the musical guest will again be a former teen star trying on a tougher persona: Taylor Swift. Tay, watch Miley's performance and take a note. You've got your work cut out for you. The bar has been set.