Words | Sara Zarriello
In 2012 Miley Cyrus performed some of her first ‘Backyard Sessions’. The singer assembled her band together in her backyard to perform stripped back versions of her original songs and covers, like her infamous take on Godmother, Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. It was the first time people really took notice of her pure raw talent, unhindered by a Disney persona or censorship. For a lot of people, it is only now that they’re getting into her music. Whether that be because she has officially torn her image away from that ‘Hannah Montana’ persona, or because her music has evolved so greatly from being purely teen and country pop to disco and pop rock. The one eighty turn may have shocked the masses for a while but there is no way that what Miley’s putting out today wasn’t worth it. I mean, have you heard ‘Midnight Sky’?
The thing is Miley’s music has always been tied up in her public life. Disney moulded a teen popstar, therefore she created teen pop music. When Hannah Montana was coming to an end, songs like ‘Fly on the Wall’ came out documenting how she felt towards the media at the time. Yet, she was still this American sweetheart just living a glamorous life whilst always keeping her roots close. Aw. That was until she released ‘Wrecking Ball’. What a shock that was! Suddenly hordes of people had an opinion on her – whether she was being artistic or she was being shameful. Whether she was breaking out or ruining her career. What stunned us all was her blatant disregard for anyone’s opinion. For someone so young, the industry, let alone her audience, were not prepared for her to absolutely crush the ideal of who she had portrayed for all those years. No one saw her gyrating on a car with money being thrown on her. Oh no, not our Miley.
Still her stripped back covers drew people in. She started a philanthropic foundation, the Happy Hippie Foundation which presented even more backyard sessions. Even though she had suddenly become controversial for being herself, her talent couldn’t be mistaken. Over the years, she’s cultivated a personality society wasn’t prepared for. One that is all her own. To break out wasn’t the problem, it was the solution for Miley. Revealing herself, just as herself, wasn’t supposed to be ground breaking. Neither were her music choices. Her turn to rock with her new releases this year shouldn’t have been crazy. Her new album titled ‘Plastic Hearts’ is scheduled to be released later this month. Collaborating on it with Stevie Nicks (the god, the master, the witchy queen of our dreams), Joan Jett (seriously, c’mon cherry bomb), Billy Idol (this is just getting ridiculous) and Dua Lipa (I’m freaking levitating)!
We really should have seen this coming. Miley’s never been one to shy away from changing things up. From the foam hand to the mullet – she is the queen of creative evolution. Stepping up her most recent backyard sessions to include leafy greenery and twinkling Chanel outfits that would make Madonna shake at her knees (I completely stand by this statement). Despite this, her voice has stayed the same. She’s covered some of the greatest pop and rock hits ever; from Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ to The Cranberries ‘Zombie’ right up to Pearle Jam’s ‘Just Breathe’ and Hall & Oates ‘Maneater’. The woman has range.
Miley has broken down what was once considered ‘good music’, blurring the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not. Personality is important in music, it’s the soul of the voice that people get attached to. She’s proven that evolution is right and that the hate she got for doing it can turn into praise. It’s the unconventional that gets attention in the end, and Miley is one of the most unconventional artists ever.