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"The Climb" is a country pop song performed by American recording artist and actress Miley Cyrus for the 2009 film Hannah Montana: The Movie. The song was conceived by songwriter Jessi Alexander and developed with the aid of co-songwriter Jon Mabe. It was chosen as the lead single from the film's soundtrack in order to introduce Cyrus to new audiences, and was released on March 5, 2009 by Walt Disney Records. "The Climb" is her first solo song to be released to country radio. The song's instrumentation includes piano, guitar, and violins. "The Climb" is a power ballad with lyrics that describe life as a difficult but rewarding journey.

"The Climb" was well received by critics, though some felt the song's message is too generic. It achieved worldwide success and became a top ten hit on charts in Australia, Canada, Norway, and the United States. In the United States, "The Climb" peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Cyrus' best charting single at the time. Five months after its release, the single was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) .

The song's accompanying, MuchMusic Video Award-nominated music video was directed by Matthew Rolston. It depicts scenes of Cyrus climbing a mountain or singing intercut with clips of Hannah Montana: The Movie. Cyrus promoted the song with several live performances; Her first, at the Kids Inaugural: "We Are the Future" event on January 19, 2009, was the first time the song had ever been heard. She also performed the song as the closing number of her Wonder World Tour, her first worlswide tour. "The Climb" has been covered by several artists and was the most popular choice of song among contestants in the ninth season of American Idol.

Background and release

Unlike the second single of the soundtrack, "Hoedown Throwdown", "The Climb" was not originally written for the 2009 musical film Hannah Montana: The Movie. Co-writer Jessi Alexander was inspired to write the song while driving to the home of songwriting partner Jon Mabe; once she arrived, they developed a song about overcoming life's obstacles. Alexander referred to the process as a form of "therapy". Alexander further explained the concept behind writing "The Climb" on an interview with MSNBC. She said the song came from her heart and personal struggles in the music industry. About how the idea for the song came about, Alexander stated,

Before reaching Cyrus, the song had been offered to, and rejected, by several other artists and was eventually picked up by Peter Chelsom, director of Hannah Montana: The Movie, who gave it to Cyrus to record for the film. Chelsom found "The Climb" while visiting Nashville, Tennesseemarker in early 2008. He was on a quest to find eleven new songs for Hannah Montana: The Movie. He commented that the song "turned up" the film's music level by tapping into Cyrus' newfound vocal range. As with the other songs featured in Hannah Montana: The Movie, the song is "tightly woven into the fabric of the story and the characters". In the film, Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a character with a secret double life as superstar Hannah Montana. Keeping this secret causes trouble between Miley and many of the other characters in the film and leaves Miley confused and contrite. She expresses her emotions by writing "The Climb". According to film producer Alfred Gough, "The song is her journey, the lessons she's learned in the movie. It's an epic [...] power ballad that encapsulates Miley's journey and the message of the film."

"The Climb" was chosen as the lead single from the soundtrack due to its country elements, which introduced Cyrus to listeners beyond her usual pop audience. The song is Cyrus' first solo effort marketed directly to country radio, though she had previously recorded a duet with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, entitled "Ready, Set, Don't Go" and released to the country market in 2007. Bill Lamb, of About.com, said the song signified Cyrus' hope for a position in country music, noting her duet with country singer Taylor Swift at the 51st Grammy Awards. Warren Truitt, also from About.com, referred to the song as "Miley's serious attempt to break into the contemporary country world." "The Climb" was leaked to the Internet on February 4, 2009, two days prior to its official release for airplay. In October 2009, it was re-released to countries outside the United States in the international version of Cyrus' extended play, The Time of Our Lives.

Composition

"The Climb" is a country pop power ballad that incorporates soft rock and pop rock styles and lasts three minutes and fifty-five seconds. The song begins slowly, building primarily from solo piano and accentuated with chiming electric guitars. However, at two minutes and forty-five seconds, a "sudden, spiky burst of violins" enters the song, and the song switches to full power. Bill Lamb of About.com considers Cyrus' vocals "solid and clear". However, Todd Martens, co-editor of The Los Angeles Times, says Cyrus uses a "a raspy voice [that] brings a bit of country grit" to the song. "The Climb" is set in common time at a moderate tempo of 80 beats per minute. The song is sung in the key of E major and Cyrus' vocals span three octaves, from E3 to G#5. The song uses a standard issue ballad arrangement with the chord progression, E5—Asus2—F#7sus.

According to reviewer Fraser McAlpine of the BBC the song's lyrics assert that life should be viewed as "a journey which is difficult but rewarding". Both Martens and McAlpine took special interest in the line "It's always gonna be an uphill battle/Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose". Martens interpreted the line as an acknowledgment by the singer of her own mistakes in life, while McAlpine wrote, "In this song which is about plugging away at things, the writers have slipped in [...] that the occasional setback isn't the end of the world."

Critical reception

Alt=A brunette teenager with hair styled into a large bun and open hand while singing.
Critical reception for the song was positive, though some reviewers, such as Bill Lamb of About.com, felt the song was somewhat generic. Still, Lamb complimented Cyrus for giving her best with vocals and "throw[ing] her youthful energy into with full force". Heather Phares of Allmusic made musical comparisons to Shania Twain and described the song as "natural, [...] down to earth and grown-up". Fraser McAlpine of the BBC stated, "Miley acquits herself well vocally - there are moments where her voice sounds a tad strained, but it's good to hear her on a track that's a little more subdued and with less frantic production than the uptempo, sassy pop songs we're used to." Michael Menachem of Billboard magazine called the song "one of the year's strongest ballads". Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe praised "The Climb" for being a "pretty liberation anthem". While reviewing a concert performance, James Reed, also of The Boston Globe called the song "bland but inspirational fare". Todd Martens of The Los Angeles Times stated, '"The Climb" is the rare Miley ballad that's on par with some of her more spunky teen pop'. Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said, "On tunes like [...] "The Climb", the 16-year-old Tennesseemarker native turns up her homegrown inflections, but a few elongated r's won't exactly shut out her huge pop audience." Michael Hann of The Guardian called "The Climb" a "one rather superior ballad." Jon Caraminica of The New York Times said "The Climb" is an "appealing new single [that] is just the sort of demure, inspirational country-rock that could easily be mistaken for self-reckoning." "The Climb" won "Best Song from a Movie" at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards and "Music Choice: Single" at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards.

Chart performance

In the week ending March 7, 2009, "The Climb" debuted at number forty-eight on Billboard's Hot Country Songs. It was, incidentally, the same week that "Back to Tennessee", by Cyrus' father, Billy Ray Cyrus, debuted at number fifty-nine, the first time a father and daughter had separate charting songs on the chart since Johnny and Rosanne Cash charted in 1990 with "Silver Stallion" and "One Step over the Line", respectively. "The Climb" eventually peaked at number twenty-five on the country-genre chart. For the week ending March 14, 2009, at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 due to sales of 166,000 digital downloads, thus making "The Climb" Cyrus' highest-charting effort, surpassing her previous best-charting effort "7 Things", which peaked at number nine in July 2008. For the week ending May 2, 2009, the song reached its peak at number four on the Hot 100. "The Climb" also peaked at number seven on the Pop 100 chart, forty-two on Hot Christian Songs, and at number one for fifteen consecutive weeks on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. Cyrus became the youngest artist to top Adult Contemporary since LeAnn Rimes entered the chart in 1997 with "How Do I Live". On August 5, 2009, the single was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the sales of over two million copies. In Canada, "The Climb" entered at number seventeen and eventually peaked at number five.

"The Climb" was also a success in Australia and New Zealand. The song made its debut on the Australian Singles Chart at number forty-six on April 19, 2009. After ten weeks on the chart, "The Climb" reached number five on the chart, where it stayed for two consecutive weeks. The song has been certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales above 70,000. "The Climb" debuted in the New Zealand Singles Chart at number twenty-five on April 13, 2009 and reached its peak at number twelve on June 15, 2009. On September 4, 2009, it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for sales exceeding 7,500 copies.

In the UK Singles Chart, "The Climb" made its entry at number eighty-two on March 28, 2009 and reached its peak at number eleven on June 16, 2009. With its peak at number eleven, it tied for Cyrus' best-charting effort on the chart with "See You Again" from October 2008. In Ireland, the song also peaked at number eleven. In mainland Europe, the song peaked at number twenty-three on Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, number eleven on Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders), and number five on Norwegian Singles Chart. The song experienced similar commercial outcomes throughout the rest of Europe; it charted within the top thirty of charts in Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), and France.

Music video

Matthew Rolston directed the music video for "The Climb", which premiered on Cyrus' Myspace page on February 11, 2009. The video commences with a shot of Cyrus holding a guitar and a suitcase as she begins to walk down a long path extending through a valley. At the end of the valley, the sun breaks out over a distant mountain. The entire scene is enhanced with computer-generated imagery. Cyrus has her hair tied in a bun and wears a traveling jacket, a gray tank top and cowboy boots. In a separate setting, Cyrus, wearing a gray short sleeve shirt, her hair loose, begins to sing "The Climb" beneath a blue spotlight in a purple room. The two settings alternate throughout the video. A vignetted scene from Hannah Montana: The Movie appears in front of Cyrus as she walks on the path. The video zooms into the scene and a montage of film clips plays, featuring Cyrus' character and her love interest, Travis Brody (played by Lucas Till) horseback riding. The video returns to Cyrus walking; she picks up a rose fallen on the path, then throws it behind her. As the video progresses, she also sees things such as a herd of horses and a shooting star cross her path. A new setting enters the video in which Cyrus, wearing a long sleeve gray shirt, dances in a purple room with a countdown or, occasionally, film clips projected on the wall behind her. Rain begins to pour in the path setting. Cyrus puts down her jacket, guitar case, suitcase, and boots and continues onwards with only her guitar strapped to her shoulder. More film clip montages play in the same manner as the first. As the last montage ends, Cyrus finally reaches the summit of a reddish, CGI mountain and triumphantly looks over the cliff's edge to watch the sun shining over a shimmering lake. An alternate version of the music video excluding the Hannah Montana: The Movie clips exists and was sent to several channels, including VH1.

Bill Lamb of About.com said the video took an "inspirational approach". Todd Martens of The Los Angeles Times wrote that while he enjoyed the song, he was unsure about the video. He commented that while the video was an improvement on Cyrus' video for "7 Things" (2008), the settings in "The Climb" music video looked as though they had been painted by Thomas Kinkade and Cyrus' dancing appeared off-beat. MTV reviewer Travis described the video as "beautifully shot (although heavily digitized)". Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music remarked that the summit setting was similar to that of the music video for Britney Spears' "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman". Parker also felt the scene in which Cyrus looks out over the cliff, shot using large sweeps with an aerial camera, had been "lifted straight out of an '80s Bon Jovi video". In 2009, the video received a MuchMusic Video nomination for Best International Artist Video, but lost to Lady Gaga's music video for "Poker Face".

Live performances

Cyrus opened the Kids' Inaugural: "We Are the Future" event with the premiere of "The Climb"; the event was held on January 19, 2009 in Washington D.C. at the Verizon Centermarker to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Cyrus, dressed in an embroidered silk satin formal red ball gown made by Reem Acra, dedicated the song to Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama. Following the song's official release in March 2009, Cyrus resumed promotion for "The Climb", performing the song on FOX's American Idol on April 1 wearing a long, sparkling gown with her wavy hair styled in a bun. Cyrus next performed "The Climb" on Tonight with Jay Leno on April 1 and at the 44th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 5. For the latter performance, Cyrus was dressed in a animal print blouse and white pants and, near the end, on a free-standing escalator. On April 8 and April 10, she also performed in Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly, respectively. Along with other songs, Cyrus performed "The Climb" as part of the AOL Sessions on April 13.

She performed the song in London in an Apple Store on April 24, dressed in a white blouse, distressed jeans, and beige cardigan sweater. The set, along with some songs by Cyrus' father Billy Ray Cyrus, was sold exclusively by the United Kingdom iTunes Store as an extended play titled iTunes Live from London. On June 7, 2009, Cyrus performed the song at twentieth annual A Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival, an outdoor carnival supporting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. While promoting her extended play The Time of Our Lives, on which "The Climb" serves as a bonus track, Cyrus sang the song on The Today Show on August 28, and performed "The Climb" at the first D23 Expo on September 11, 2009.

On a five city acoustic radio promo tour that reached over two-hundred-fifty for six days to promote Hannah Montana: The Movie's soundtrack, Cyrus performed "The Climb". The song is also in the set list of her 2009 Wonder World Tour, her first international tour; Cyrus performed the song as the closing number at each venue while wearing white shorts, a white tank top, boots, and a metallic vest. At the beginning of each performance, she removed her vest and belt and then slowly roamed the stage while singing. Near the end, giant overhead video screens display motivational images. Once she finished, Cyrus exited through a passageway in the stage while fireworks were fired above. Melinda M. Thompson of The Oregonian described the performance of the song at the September 14 concert in Portland, Oregon at the Rose Garden Arenamarker as "really a moment to remember -- Miley's soulful and touching rendition of 'The Climb'". According to Jim Harrington of The Oakland Tribune the performance was "tender closer" that drew a large response at the September 18 concert in Oakland, California at the Oracle Arenamarker.

Cover versions

"The Climb" has been covered by several amateurs and established acts. Mirror Image Records' indie rock group HelenaMaria covered the song and released it as a single in March 2009. Pop rock singer Kelly Clarkson and two backing singers covered the song in a YouTube video published in September 2009. The three singers harmonized together in an intimate performance while one strummed an acoustic guitar.

Fourteen year old Thia Megia performed a cover while competing in the semi-final round of American talent contest America's Got Talent. Her performance was well received by the judges, and judge Sharon Osbourne praised her age-appropriate song choice. At auditions for the ninth season of the reality singing competition American Idol, "The Climb" was the most common song performed by contestants. Mandi Bierly, writing for Entertainment Weekly, commented, "it sounds like we could get an Idol whose voice actually suits the inspirational tune that he or she will be forced to record as a first single. (Though the odds of that song being anywhere as good as 'The Climb'...)". While informing Cyrus of its' popularity on American Idol, the series' host Ryan Seacrest commented, "they believe [it is] a song that will make an impression and [it is] a song that will get them into that next level". Cyrus replied,

Track listings

  • EU/US CD Single
  1. "The Climb" (Album Version) – 3:55
  2. "The Climb" (Stripped Version) – 3:56


  • UK CD Single
  1. "The Climb" (Album Version) – 3:55
  2. "Fly on the Wall" (David Khane Remix) – 2:34


  • EU Maxi CD Single
  1. "The Climb" (Album Version) – 3:55
  2. "The Climb" (Stripped Version) – 3:56
  3. "The Climb" (Full Pop Mix) – 3:51


Charts, sales, and procession

Charts

Chart (2009) Peak

position
Australian Singles Chart 5
Austrian Singles Chart 30
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 11
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 18
Canadian Hot 100 5
Danish Singles Chart 37
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 25
French Singles Chart 16
German Singles Chart 41
Irish Singles Chart 11
New Zealand Singles Chart 12
Norwegian Singles Chart 5
Spanish Singles Chart 46
Swedish Singles Chart 40
Swiss Singles Chart 40
UK Singles Chart 11
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs 25
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 7


Certifications

Country Certification

(sales thresholds)
Australia Platinum
New Zealand Gold
United States 2× Platinum


Chart procession and succession

References

  1. {{cite web|url=http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3nfuxzlaldte|title=allmusic }|work=Allmusic|publisher=Macrovision Corporation|accessdate=November 14, 2009}}


External links




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