Sometimes we forget that before Miranda Cosgrove fell of the face of the earth and became a victim of some viral memes, she had a very successful acting career on Nickelodeon and was working on a few musical projects as well. She rose to fame playing Megan in the sitcom Drake & Josh before landing a starring role in her own show, iCarly. For years, she dominated our television screens and I even remember her music videos playing between every commercial break. Around the beginning of the new decade she released a few EP’s and one studio album where she worked with some very notable people. She had so much support and promotion, so many great writers, producers and musicians helping her out and yet, it seems like her career really went nowhere. Only a few singles were released and she never gained much traction on the charts. Soon after iCarly ended in 2012, she went to college and has been relatively quiet ever since. But sometimes I wonder, what would the world look like if Miranda Cosgrove had gone strong with acting or pursued a serious career in music? Although I will agree that she wasn’t the best actress and I couldn’t be happier than we no longer have to witness the tragedy that was iCarly, I do truly believe that she could have done some great things with music. She had every opportunity to succeed but it doesn’t seem like it worked. I wonder what happened?
To really understand the scenario, we’re going to have to go back to 2010. It was a messy time in music where lots of things were changing from pop rock vibes to electronic dance tunes. Miranda’s debut record was just as messy. Sparks Fly was released on April 27, 2010 and the standard edition only contains eight tracks with the deluxe edition containing twelve. The theme of the record is based around relationships mainly but incorporates a different feel for every song. “Kissin U” is a classic pop song, as is “There Will Be Tears” and “Brand New You” while “Disgusting” and “BAM” have certain effects that remind me of modern day pop songs. “Shakespeare” reminds me of a classic Taylor Swift song. “Adored” and “Brand New You” have some really fun, upbeat melodies that are hard to ignore. “Daydream” is as pop punk as it gets on here and honestly, I’m not even mad about it. So. You’re probably thinking at this point that the record tanked, got horrible reviews and ended her singing career. On the contrary, however, the album reached number 8 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and it’s lead single “Kissin U” actually became a pretty big hit for her, reaching the top twenty on Billboards Pop songs chart. Although it’s not the most boundary pushing, original piece of work to ever come to fruition, at it’s core this is an enjoyable pop effort. It feels very genuine and is a record that I can come back to all the time without it feeling cringe inducing or immature. It’s well produced, Cosgrove’s vocals are very good and even though it’s missing cohesion, Sparks Fly is a record that’s just flat out fun to listen to. It wasn’t a lengthy, glamourous debut but it served its purpose.
A year went by and Cosgrove released her High Maintenance EP. This one was surprisingly a commercial failure in comparison to Sparks Fly. It didn’t even crack the top ten on the charts while the lead (and only) single “Dancing Crazy” PEAKED at #100 on the Billboard Hot 100. I don’t think there was even any marketing or promotion, as I don’t remember ever hearing about this until years later. With that being said, however, you might be getting the impression that the EP was a total flaming trash heap and that it completely tanked. Again, the complete opposite is true. This EP was solid, featuring some really good dance/pop/pop rock inspired tracks. Every song is a bit different and it’s kind of a perfect appetizer platter of where Cosgrove could have progressed with her music. It’s very mature in terms of lyrics and features some really cool instrumentation from the synth on “Sayonara” to the chill guitar on “Face Of Love”. There are also so many amazing, talented people who worked on this with her, including Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, producers Max Martin and Rock Mafia and songwriters and popular artists Kesha and Avril Lavigne. With all of these people who have worked with other very successful artists including Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, what went wrong here?
When it really comes down to it, I don’t think there’s a very clear reason for Miranda Cosgrove’s poor musical career. There were probably a lot of things that came into play and it’s hard to pinpoint it exactly. To begin, when she started doing music she was also still working on iCarly, which I’m sure was already a full time job in itself. This causes another problem: people not being able to separate her from her acting career. Around this time, it was so common for most actors to try to pursue music and I’m sure by this point most viewers and listeners were over it. Disney already created so many actor/musician combos, what’s the point of Nickelodeon adding more to the mix? However, maybe it was Miranda’s personal choice to no longer desire a career in the spotlight. Maybe she wanted to be a normal kid and go to college and live low key for a while. After all, she gave up so much of her young life to entertain others, I’m sure it must be nice to do something for yourself for once. There’s also the possibility that she just really didn’t like making music, touring or performing and would much rather enjoy music as just a hobby. Whatever the reasoning was, it was kind of unfortunate. Miranda Cosgrove was on her way to making some really great pop tunes and especially now that I’m looking back on it, I’m kind of disappointed that she never made it very far. She has real talent and I hope one day she’ll return with an album that really showcases all that she’s capable of.