Why Did Miley Cyrus Cover "Bodak Yellow" on 'Fallon'?

She also covered a Dido song with Adam Sandler in response to the Las Vegas shooting.

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Oct 3 2017, 7:47pm

Even though the sight of Jimmy Fallon rubbing Trump's head has been burned into our eyes, the dude still knows his music pretty darn well. That's why he can take a break from tepid political takes to do things like transform "Cotton Eye Joe" into blissful yacht-rock—though the success of that particular bit might have had more to do with Michael McDonald's endless charm than Fallon's terminal grin.

But this isn't about talk show hosts, this is about Miley Cyrus, who was a guest on Fallon last night. Taking part in the show's Musical Genre Challenge segment, Cyrus first did a bluegrass version of "Ignition (Remix)" which was an ill-advised idea given the nature of R. Kelly's current relevance. Then she covered Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" because everyone wants to have their hands on America's greatest success story this year. Figures. She does it in a "pop" style, which the Roots interpret as "big 70s karaoke ballad a la Kenny Rogers." Though Miley sings the shit out of this because she is talented at the end of the day, it's a mild self-own of sorts.

The cover sorta sounds like the country-pop and roots music that populates her just-released album Younger Now. But while Cardi has the number one song in the country, Cyrus' pivot to more MOR realms hasn't translated into the populist success you might expect. Younger Now is projected to move 40-55,000 album equivalent units its first week—which would be just a small fraction of her last solo album Bangerz. Muting the attitude of "Bodak Yellow" and transforming it into a milquetoast pop song is a funny joke, I guess, but it also unintentionally underscores why Cyrus' aesthetic transformation hasn't quite turned into sales or critical acclaim.

Elsewhere on the show, Cyrus and Adam Sandler, of all people, covered Dido's "No Freedom" as a tribute to the victims of Monday's horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. You can watch that below, and you can watch the entire Musical Genre Challenge segment above.

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