Miley Cyrus’ seventh album is PLASTIC HEARTS has proven well worth the wait after several teases of a new era to come. While it’s a tragedy that first single, the outstanding MIDNIGHT SKY didn’t chart higher than it deserved, it also is no shame that it peaked within the Top 10 of the Canadian Hot 100 and Top 20 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. A phenomenal mash-up of Steve Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen recently was released giving the single a bit of new life, appearing on the digital version of the Album.
Cyrus pairs with Grammy-nominated Producer Andrew Watt on this collection whichleans to the early-mid ’80s for inspiration in its range of gritty Dance Pop-Rock to earthy Rock Ballads. In addition to Nicks‘ help, she enlists the legends with Dua Lipa, Joan Jett and Billy Idol (who celebrates his 65th birthday today!) all making appearances. Coming out of a break-up, Cyrus‘ inspiration is fueled and she’s definitely got something to say here. Case in point, Midnight Sky lyrics: “See his hands ’round my waist/thought you’d never be replaced, baby/Ooh, you know it’s true, yeah”.
Current single Prisoner featuring Dua Lipa interpolates Olivia Newton-John’s Physical, and also sounds like it could’ve been a track from the collaborator’s sublime Future Nostalgia album. We’re here for this retro-glam-rock aesthetic.
No one pens a jam about heartbreak like Ryan Tedder and turning to him for help on guitar Rock Ballad Angels Like You, proves a great choice. She tackles being in some dark places emotionally, singing to a failed love with self-awareness, “I brought you down to your knees/’Cause they say that misery loves company”.
Cyrus hinted at turning to Britney Spears for inspiration on this collection and that can be heard on the seductive and self-assured Gimme What I Want. Once again, she sings of these dark places her mind resides, clear she isn’t looking for love right now: “Self-inflicted torture/You don’t have to ask/I just need a lover/So gimme what I want or I’ll give it to myself”.
Billy Idol contribution Night Crawling is an expression of unapologetic badness, the Track sounding like something right out of his catalog of Arena Glam-Rock, complete with his signature call-out, “Come on!”. Yeah!
Some of these sentiments are echoed on playful Joan Jett collabo Bad Karma. Cyrus spells-out her infidelity clearly on “You thinkin’ that I’m sleepin’ when I’m creepin’ in the night/They say it’s bad karma when you live a double life”. Can’t fault a girl for being consistent because the listening experience is cohesive here. We’re getting Adele-Rumour-Has-It vibes.
The Rock Ballad Never Be Me, co-written with Mark Ronson, manages to be heartfelt and affecting, with an edge. Cyrus bares her soul, putting everything on the table in the most authentic way. She sings, “But if you’re looking for stable/That’ll never be me/If you’re looking for faithful, that’ll never be me”.
Cyrus comments on the state of America and institutional patriarchy on closing track Golden G String. “The old boys hold all the cards and they ain’t playin’ gin/You dare to call me crazy/Have you looked around this place?”. Fun aside and that is the spirit of Plastic Hearts, this is Cyrus‘ true Singer-Songwriter moment.
It is hard not to love this latest effort from Cyrus. It shows confidence, gumption and artistry, validating exactly why it is we haven’t stopped caring about Miley. We can’t stop and we won’t stop. Hoping we get out of this Pandemic and get a Plastic Hearts Tour! One of 2020’s finest albums.
Plastic Hearts is available now in stores and digitally. Buy here.