This is the lead single from Miley Cyrus' first ever EP Time of Our Lives. The EP was sold exclusively at American Wal-Mart stores in conjunction with the teenage singer's Max Azria clothing line.
The song was scheduled to make its radio debut on August 4, 2009. However, due to an illegal leak of a demo version, it was released early on July 29 for airplay. The song's producers, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson collaborators Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly, broke the news to Miley about the leak. The teenage singer expressed irritation but seemed more concerned about the response of the audience to the earlier than expected release of the song. She tweeted to blogger and TV personality Perez Hilton: "How did my friggen song get leaked??? Whatevs. Do you likey?"
The breezy summertime pop anthem features semi-autobiographical lyrics concerning Miley's move from Tennessee to Los Angeles.
Cyrus provoked controversy with a performance of this song at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, which featured a pole protruding from an ice cream cart and some provocative dance moves. Some critics questioned whether her risqué performance was appropriate for her age and young fan base. Others supported the female singer suggesting it was it was part of Cyrus' transformation from child star into sexy adult artist. Miley herself explained to MTV News that singing the "all-American song" while dancing on the "blinged-out trailer park" set represented her Tennessee roots.
This was the 22nd Hot 100 entry to include "U.S.A." (or "USA") in its title. Others include Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The U.S.A.
," The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A.
" and Justin Moore's "Small Town U.S.A.
." The latter track was on the chart the same time as this song marking the first in fifty years on which two "U.S.A./USA" songs charted simultaneously. The previous instance was on the Jan. 3, 1959 survey, when the Nu Tornados' and Art Lund's versions of "Philadelphia U.S.A." both featured on the list.
Director Chris Applebaum told MTV News that in the song's music video, Miley wanted to pay tribute to her favorite movie, Grease. He explained: "Miley did have an idea - one of her favorite movies is Grease. Everything kind of sprang forward from that scene in 'Grease' where John Travolta is singing... and he gets out of the car and goes to jungle gym and sits in one of the swings and sings the song at night as projections go in the background - she came to me [with that]."
In addition to the Grease tribute, Miley also wanted to pay tribute to her parents' courting days. He explained: "Interesting enough, Miley's parents Tish and Billy Ray, when they were first dating they went to a drive-in in Kentucky, I think, called the Corral Drive-In - so we named the drive-in after that as an homage to them. In addition, Miley's mom Tish used to drive '79 black Pontiac Trans Am, Smokey and the Bandit style, and obviously that's the car that Miley arrives in."
This song references Jay-Z and Britney Spears in its lyrics. In a chart co-incidence on the Billboard Hot 100 dated October 31, 2009, the three artists lined up back-to-back-to-back: This song ranked at #3, followed by Jay-Z's "Run This Town
" at #4 and Spears' "3
" at #5.
The song was written by Dr. Luke, Claude Kelly and Jessica Cornish. However, it was still a surprise when, in an interview by Cyrus' MileyWorld Web site the singer expressed ignorance about one of the lines in this song. A reporter asked her which Jay-Z hit inspired the lyric about a Hov hit saving her life, to which Miley replied: "I don't know, I didn't write the song, so I have no idea. Honestly, I picked that song because I needed something to go with my clothing line. I didn't write it [and] I didn't expect it to be popular, originally. It was just something that I wanted to do and I needed some songs and it turned out for the best."
The reporter then asked Miley if she can agree with the song's sentiment. Cyrus answered: "I've never heard a Jay-Z song. I don't listen to pop music. ['Party '] is not even my style of music. I'm really blessed for it to have done as well as it has. Totally blessed. God has definitely put me in an amazing position with amazing people."
This was the fifth song in Hot 100 history to debut and peak at #2.
British singer-songwriter Jessica Cornish co-wrote this song. She originally intended to record this tune herself under her recording name of Jessie J before she agreed to sacrifice it to Miley. Cornish revealed to Glamour magazine that the royalties she received for co-penning the song paid her rent "for, like, three years."
Weird Al Yankovic parodied this song as "Party in the CIA." It was the first time Al parodied both a father and his daughter, as he also turned "Achy Breaky Heart" by Miley's dad Billy Ray into "Achy Breaky Song."
This was used on The Office episode "Sabre" from season 6. When a new company takes over Dunder Mifflin, Andy and Erin greet the visiting director with a Scranton-themed rendition of the song. It also appeared in the 2011 Hawaii Five-0 episode "Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau" and the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect.