Miley Cyrus Claims Her Power with New Album, “Plastic Hearts”
Miley Cyrus tweeted that Plastic Hearts is the album she was born to make, and I fully agree. I’m going to start by saying I’m a Miley fan. She’s smart, entertaining, and likes to keep the world - especially mainstream media - on its toes. That being said, I have been waiting for her to give us a rock album ever since she covered “Say Hello 2 Heaven” at the Chris Cornell tribute in 2019. And boy did she deliver.
Since ditching her “Disney darling” and “pop princess” titles - starting with the angsty Can’t Be Tamed - we’ve seen Cyrus grow up in front of the world and watched her music do the same. She gave the middle finger to the world with Bangerz, kept us guessing with Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, and revealed her inner hopeless romantic with Younger Now. Cyrus’s message to the world has been clear in every evolution - don’t try to put her in a box.
With Plastic Hearts, she delivers a rock album with just the right amount of her pop and country roots sprinkled on top. Honestly, I love every track on this album, but if I had to pick my top five tracks, they would be: the ultimate break up song “WTF Do I Know;” heartbreakingly vulnerable power ballad, “Angels Like You;” fiercely empowered “Gimme What I Want;” lead single, “Midnight Sky;” and insightful album closer, “Golden G-String.”
“am I wrong that I moved on and I don't even miss you…”
Kicking everything off with the defiant break-up anthem, “WTF Do I Know,” Cyrus sets the album's tone. In the ‘80s rock-inspired track, he claims her power as she delivers as much a breakup song to the media’s expectations of her as she does to an ex. I can promise you that “WTF Do I Know” will have you wanting to let your hair down and raise a little hell.
The third track on the album, “Angels Like You,” is a vulnerable, unexpectedly remorseful power ballad. Tinged with sadness and regret, the lyrics are more impactful, knowing the turmoil Cyrus has experienced in her romantic relationships. We see her peel back her typical unapologetic, “devil may care” attitude and gives us a brief glimpse at her soul as she sings the lines, “It's not your fault I ruin everything / and it's not your fault I can't be what you need.” If this song doesn’t have you feeling a bit weepy, your heart is made of stone.
“so gimme what I want or I'll give it to myself…”
The self-empowered “Gimme What I Want” features demanding, unapologetic lyrics and a beat that’s a definite nod to the lustful “Closer” from Nine Inch Nails. A self-assured Cyrus tells her potential lover, “I don't need a future, I don't need your past / I just need a lover / so gimme what I want or I'll give it to myself…” Translation: I don’t need you, I can take care of myself. We stan a queen who knows and takes what she wants.
“I was born to run; I don't belong to anyone, oh no, I don't need to be loved by you…”
The lead single, “Midnight Sky,” is a disco-pop dream that is very clearly inspired by Stevie Knicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” which is obviously why Cyrus and Knicks collaborated on the mashed-up version, “Edge of Midnight.” Cyrus’ full-throated vocals shine as she croons, “I was born to run, I don’t belong to anyone / I don’t need to be loved by you.” Whether she’s speaking to the media, an ex, or hoards of internet trolls, Cyrus makes it clear she’s claiming her power.
“and oh, that's just the world that we're livin' in, the old boys hold all the cards and they ain't playin' gin.”
“Golden G-String” is more insightful and vulnerable than you’d expect from a track of its name. Apparently written in 2017 or 2018, the self-aware and empowered anthem is full of perceptive social and political commentary. Full of raw lyrics like, “I did it all to make you love me and to feel alive,” and “I was tryin’ to own my power / Still, I'm tryin’ to work it out / And at least it gives the papers somethin’ they can write about.” Clearly commenting on her relationship with the media and the motivation behind some of her more notorious moments, Cyrus gives us another candid glimpse beneath her studded leather exterior.
Overall, Cyrus’s glam rock album is better than anything I could have imagined. The genre suits her unapologetic persona and husky vocals. This is an era of Miley that I want to bask in, but if the past is any indication, she’ll be on to the next sooner than later. I, for one, can’t wait to see what she dreams up next. Plastic Hearts is available anywhere you can stream music.