When someone says Miley Cyrus, we either think of her twerking on Robin Thicke with a foam finger in hand at the 2013 VMAs or singing to The Best of Both Worlds in the intro of Hannah Montana. If you don’t know much about her because you’re too cool for mainstream pop, you need to expand your pretentious horizons and pick up a copy of Miles to Go, an autobiography written by Miley at 17 years old, that rocked my world in 2009. Miley has gone from a child star who finessed her way into Disney by saying she was turning 15 when in reality she was only 13 years old, to breaking out of her good girl persona in multiple questionable ways, to turning into the absolute rock star she is today.
Starting as a child star and having been portrayed as America’s sweetheart, she broke out of her shell after releasing her Can’t Be Tamed music video. She later took it a step further in her journey of self-discovery by dressing more provocatively and incorporating sexual references into her performances and music. Her outfits grew brighter and more unconventional, and the public started to take her less seriously as an artist. She became someone who was viewed as impulsive, attention-seeking and childish in her behaviour. It made the public forget that she had written songs like Fly on the Wall and 7 Things at such a young age. That she sang in front of massive crowds to film Hannah Montana at only 13 years old! Most importantly, it made the public forget the raw talent she has as an artist.
Her cover of Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High by the Arctic Monkeys during her live performance for MTV Unplugged in 2014 reminded the world that she was more than just theatrics. Her vocal range is insane. Other than her cover of Every Rose Has Its Thorn in 2010, this was the beginning of her really leaning into rock as a genre. She took a song that is amazing on its own and put her own twist to it. She took the chorus an octave higher and made it feel like a brand-new song. This felt like the start of something more frequent that she used as a medium to display her creative expression and talent in songs the audience already know and love. In this past year, I’ve had her covers of Zombie by The Cranberries, Fade Into You by Mazzy Star and Nothing Really Matters by Metallica on repeat. She has stripped down from her performance antics, that could be viewed as distractions from her art, and has now focused on songs that truly express her vocal abilities.
The album Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus was released in 2020 and featured icons such as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Stevie Nicks and Billy Idol. The song Midnight Sky, written by Miley Cyrus, featured a sample of Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks. This is a song that is already perfect on its own. It is no easy feat being able to take a song that is quite literally legendary and turning into something new but still phenomenal. Miley being able to bring back these rock classics through her covers has now paved the way to slowly bringing back the genre. With new albums being released, such as lately I feel EVERYTHING by WILLOW, featuring pop punk rockstar Avril Lavigne, rock has now become more digestible and compatible with music today. These changes allow for a new wave of rock to emerge, and I am honestly ecstatic to see it unfold. If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s that Miley Cyrus is crazy talented. Her journey has shown us that finding your way and yourself is a rocky but worthy journey, and that rock making a comeback is something everyone should get excited about. I’ve already slid into her dm’s and asked her to cover Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Nirvana. She is yet to respond but if you see it out there one day, you are welcome.