Bret Michaels/Miley Cyrus team-up isn't as scandalous and creepy as it needs to be


He's a washed-up rock'n'roll god who reinvented himself as cold, hard reality-TV franchise in the young millennium. She's the not-quite-legal, past-her-peak teen pop-star offspring of a washed-up country star who is famous for a video where he's ironing clothes and moaning about his "achy-breaky heart." Bret Michaels can use all the notoriety he can get, and Miley Cyrus can, too; now that his Rock of Love/Rock of Love Bus salad days have come to an end (the current season of Celebrity Apprentice will be over before you can blink) and she's easing into what will undoubtedly be a disastrous post child-star career.

Too bad their duet, "Nothing to Lose," is so blasted boring, so pre-fab rote, so drab. Here's the plot: a woman who Bret Michaels is about to bag is staring into a mirror. She's wearing make-up that doesn't "hide her pain." He encourages her to surrender, "just for tonight." Then we go into the chorus, some weak-sauce balladry: "Won't you fall down on me?/So close I can feel you breathe/Tonight in the darkness, with nothing to lose/If the truth is all we could see, if I fall for you, could you fall for me?" Then there's a verse about how both parties know better, but they're going to screw anyway, then I guess Michaels bags her, pouting, occasionally worrying about his blood-sugar levels, his bandanna flapping wildly against his blond hair extensions.

"Nothing to Lose" could theoretically be about Michaels bagging any or all of the half-his-age, collagen-enabled truck-stop skanks who awkwardly sucked face with him on his depressing, train wreck-quality quests for love (or backstage on his tour stops) but inviting Cyrus along to warble back-up vocals (she sounds absolutely horrible, like the producers didn't bother to digitally sweeten a single note) signals that they've got something going on, or they want the public to believe that they do, which is fucking icky. But what a dry way to go about it: there is nothing even remotely dangerous or risque about "Nothing to Lose," a mid-tempo, anonymously MOR glutch of strummed acoustics and piped-in strings that any pair of C&W nobodies could have sung. You know who this song is for? This song is for cougars. Over-the-hill cougars who can relate. There's no reason that you should remember it after listening to it once, unless maybe you're Daisy de la Hoya or Taya Parker.

Is it creepy that Michaels and Cyrus are harmonizing about liasions that should never, ever happen? Sure, kinda. But it's not creepy enough, in the way a R.Kelly/Aliayah or Billy Corgan/Jessica Simpson pairing is. If you wanna shock a jaded public in 2010, you've gotta be more explicit about actual or implied transgressions: This isn't cutting it.