If you’re old enough to remember Billy Ray Cyrus’s breakout hit Achy Breaky Heart, you’re old enough to be appalled by his new rap sequel.
Everybody else can just cringe.
USA Today reports that Cyrus – the one-hit-wonder country singer, occasional actor and papa of twerking pop star Miley – has released a rap version of Achy Breaky Heart.
Released in 1992, the original Achy Breaky Heart was a massive international hit for the mullet-haired Cyrus. The song received constant airplay on both pop and country radio stations and effectively launched the Kentucky native’s career.
In later years, Cyrus transferred his fame into acting, with appearances in several films and most notably in the long-running family TV drama Doc, which was filmed in Toronto.
And perhaps buoyed by his daughter’s pop-chart success, Cyrus is clearly revisiting his musical roots in the new version of Achy Breaky Heart, which he recorded in consort with a rapper named Buck 22.
Fittingly titled Achy Breaky 2, the remake merges the original song with a rap back-beat, which is roughly akin to chewing gum and eating peanuts at the same time.
The heretofore-unknown son of actor Bill Elliott and singer Dionne Warwick, Buck 22 (real name: Damon Elliott) is currently promoting the new song on his Twitter page with the following description: “The new revolution of Country Music mixed with Hip-Hop. Join the movement.”
Naturally, the new version comes with a music video, which truly must be seen to be believed.
The video opens with former CNN anchor Larry King delivering a faux news report and announcing there has been “an unidentified flying object seen transcending over Europe.”
Cut to: Billy Ray and an unidentified young African-American boy ambling down a road in rural Kentucky. Billy Ray has a guitar case, the boy has a fishing pole in an obvious nod to the opening credits of the sixties TV series Andy of Mayberry.
Suddenly there’s a flash of light and ominous music, and the good ol’ boy and the kid are sucked up into an alien spacecraft. And then the good times commence.
What happens next is a rap-infused performance of Achy Breaky Heart by the 52-year-old Cyrus – who wears dark shades and a sleeveless shirt throughout the video – and the 40-year-old Buck 22. A succession of barely dressed dancers, presumably of alien nature, dance around the odd couple and are seemingly mesmerized by the beat.
Is there twerking in Achy Breaky 2? Of course there’s twerking (mercifully, not from the two men performing the song).
Not surprisingly, the Achy Breaky reboot has not received the warmest welcome on Twitter.
Twitter user Sam Wolfson (@samwolfson) made the appropriate observation: “Billy Ray Cyrus made me realize the apocalypse has already happened.”
Sonia Harris (@SoniaHarrisPR) tweeted, “WARNING: you cannot unsee this. Billy Ray Cyrus is back with his Achy Breaky Heart. It’s a wreck(ing ball).”
And the Australian radio program Take 40 (@take40) didn’t even need to go out on a limb to pronounce, “We are calling it early! This is the WORST song of 2014!”
Even less impressed was the celebrity gadfly Perez Hilton, who pointed out, “It is important that we all learn from the mistakes we made in the 90s. Like wearing Zubaz pants. Or those Tae Bo VHS tapes you bought. But especially the line-dancing ditty Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus!”
Ah, well. At least Billy Ray got rid of the mullet.