Ever since her days starring on Disney channel as Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus has been a defining part of 21st century pop culture. A big part of her continued relevancy is her constantly changing sound keeping the public hooked on what she might be doing next. From her sweet country star days to her internet-breaking music video swinging naked on a wrecking ball, she has seemingly done it all. Now she has garnered attention yet again for switching into a new rock phase, giving up her recent pop style.
This rock phase has captivated many just because of how well it fits Miley Cyrus’s new vocal tones. In 2019 she had to have surgery for Reinke’s edema after she noticed her voice deepening and her vocal cords swelling. Despite the surgery, she was the left with a deeper voice, contrasting the past light voice that she used for country and pop music. After having her covers of many famous rock songs go viral, Cyrus’s fans have been advocating for the star to release a cover album. Miley Cyrus has now fulfilled their wishes with the release of a live album from a Los Angeles concert, covering past discography, unreleased songs, and famous rock legends with her mature voice.
The album starts off with a short intro called “Attention”, the only song that is not in the live concert format. This is also one of the new songs off the album along with “High” and “You” and kicks it off by letting the listener know exactly why she’s performing, for attention.
She then goes into a combination of her song “We Can’t Stop” and Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” This formulation truly shows her unique genius that shines within this rock era. Unexpected yet perfect, these two songs nobody would think of pairing together flow naturally. She does it again later in the album, creating masterpieces of “Bang Bang X See You Again” and “Wrecking Ball X Nothing Compares 2 U”.
“Plastic Hearts”, the titular song from Miley Cyrus’s most recent album is the next track. She then switches into Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, the cover that exploded on the internet after she posted her singing it in 2020. This is the song that made people realize Cyrus’s Rockstar status and it is easy to hear why with the live cover that rivals Blondie’s own performance of the song ending in loud applause. Another track on the new album from Plastic Hearts is “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)”, reminding people with this song of her most recent successes with her own originals.
She covers several of her old songs from Bangerz and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. “4×4” being the first one and this rock version can blow some original rock songs out of the water. “(SMS) Bangerz”, “Dooo It!”, and “23” are next and are all songs that were controversial when first released during her popstar days. While still not her best lyricism, they have been elevated to sound more natural as rock songs than they did as pop songs. “23” is also the track where she talks about her changes throughout the years and her life recently, getting vulnerable with the crowd before singing the slower “Never Be Me” from Plastic Hearts.
The next cover she does is Janis Joplin’s “Maybe”. Which along with her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” later in the album, shows that Miley Cyrus has the voice to easily cement herself amongst the legendary women of the ages.
What makes this album iconic is her going back to the beginning of her career and changing her songs that were made during her Disney Channel era into rock revolutions. “7 Things”, “The Climb”, and “Party In The USA”, all get a mature Miley makeover, turning them into rock pieces sounding like they were written in 2021 rather than the early 2000s.
With roaring applause between each track, this live album serves as a premonition of Miley Cyrus’s future icon status found within rock n’ roll. Her ability to cover the greats while elevating her own songs into the same realm shows the potential of any music coming to her discography. She has truly switched from popstar to rockstar and has found her niche that leaves every listener wanting more.
Photo credit: Vijat Mohindra