With the release of Miley Cyrus’ seventh studio album, Plastic Hearts, it’s a far cry from her Disney roots. Known for wacky stage appearances, from twerking with Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMA’s to hanging off a wrecking ball, and the craziness that was the 2014 Bangerz world tour – Cyrus’ musical identity remains a little unknown, with this album perhaps adding to the genre confusion. However, in a well-executed genre mix up Miley Cyrus’s talent and originality shine through with something for everyone.
Plastic Hearts shows the Tennessee native fuse her passion for country and rock music with her classic pop triumphs, sprinkled with some 80s hit covers from the singer. The albums opener WTF Do I Know has the early 2000 punk guitar backing and studio polished feel, the electric song ramps up the pace from the get-go while referencing the aftermath of a breakup and Cyrus’ personal life: “Am I wrong that I moved on/ And I don’t even miss you?.” While the chart sensation of the album comes in the form of Midnight Sky, which was released as a single in August and is still sitting at no.7 in the UK singles chart. Midnight Sky encompasses a modern spin on 80s style rock with an outstanding and energised vocal performance from Cyrus.
Guest appearances such as Dua Lipa, Billy Idol and Joan Jett yet again bring the modern pop to classic punk-rock. Night Crawling creates a nostalgic 80s theme and the surprisingly fantastic mix of Idol and Cyrus’ similar toned voices, which complement each other perfectly – leaving you ready for an 80s disco-ball dance. The collaborations with Idol and Jett show a peak in the album as Cyrus delves deeper into the Rock’n’roll that she has circled around before. The invigorating and uplifting Prisoner has a similarity to Dua Lipa’s own Future Nostalgia pop-disco theme and is undoubtedly a catchy chart hit from the duo – but personally, it doesn’t show off Cyrus’ full vocal potential. While the Prisoner music video is possibly as confusing as 3 minutes and 14 seconds can get, the retro theme and girl power is uplifting, nevertheless.
Weaved through the album come placid ballads such as Hate Me and Angels like you that show a true honesty to the album and spark a heart-wrenching account of Cyrus’ personal struggles. Golden G String has some similarities to 2017’s Malibu with a foggy twist, nodding to a life of stardom: “We all focus on the winners/ And get blinded by their shine.” While the acoustic High shows off the singers naturally raspy voice in an extremely open and raw ballad. These hard to fault ballads give a chance to catch your breath between the fast-paced nature of Plastic Hearts and are set to leave you with goosebumps.
The highlight of Plastic Hearts for me comes with the covers of Blondie’s 1978 classic Heart Of Glass and The Cranberries’ 1993 Zombie on the deluxe edition of the album. Cyrus performed Heart Of Glass at the 2020 iHeart Festival and was praised by Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, who noted that Cyrus made the song ‘uniquely hers’ (NME.com). The shiver-worthy live performances show Miley Cyrus at full throttle and leaves you in awe of her voice, complete with vocally pristine shouts and classic band backing.
Overall, Plastic Hearts shows Miley Cyrus in a more honest light than ever before and solidifies her place in pop-rock. The studio album highlights some of the singer’s best work and shows her at full potential – complete with a lot of heart.
By Kenzi Devine
Listen to Plastic Hearts below: