Release Date: Nov 27, 2020
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop, Vocal, Pop/Rock
It's a well-known fact that Miley Cyrus loves an era. Back in the mid-’00s she was the blonde wig-sporting pop phenomenon alter-ego Hannah Montana, before 'Can't Be Tamed' saw her shaking the confines of her pristine Disney image and moving towards more dance-orientated sounds, picking up some haters for her lyrical content along the way. Holding two-fingers up, and her tongue out, to the naysayers, 'Bangerz' arrived in 2013 in its full R&B-tinged twerking glory, before her collaboration with The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne ushered in her most experimental time to date with Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.
Miley Cyrus packs some serious punch with her seventh studio album 'Plastic Hearts'. Cyrus rolls seamlessly into her new era of pop infused, country tinged rock, aided and abetted by the vocals of Dua Lipa, Billy Idol and Joan Jett. The latest record is an onslaught of 80s glam style power ballads interlaced with roaming sad bangers and the meandering miasma of devil may care attitude.
Plastic Hearts is an album that echoes Cyrus' past. From the thick guitars of opening track "WTF Do I Know" feeling surprisingly similar to her 2007 single "Start All Over" to later album tracks "Gimme What I Want" and "Night Crawling" sounding like they could belong on 2010's Can't Be Tamed, Cyrus is not just a pop star. She's a bonafide artist drawing from culture new and old to mould herself into whatever vision she sees fit.
The days when Miley Cyrus was synonymous with a naked ride on a wrecking ball and doing unmentionable things with a foam finger and Robin Thicke seem a very long time ago now. Following Younger Now’s foray into country rock in 2017, Cyrus’ seventh album sees her fully embracing the rock goddess you suspect she’s always wanted to become. While this is all very different to the Hannah Montana days and even the Bangerz of a few years ago, in reality Cyrus has been laying the groundwork for this new direction for some time.
Thanks to her incredible vocal range, fans have been challenging Miley Cyrus for years to release a full-length rock album. She recently covered bands like the Cranberries, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam, and even dropped hints about a future Metallica covers album. When she released "Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)" with Stevie Nicks, rumours began swirling about her seventh studio album, Plastic Hearts, being the rock record fans had been waiting for.
For the better part of a decade, Miley Cyrus has been an avatar for entertainment capitalism's most insidious processes. She is a living embodiment of the child-star-to-tabloid-fixture pipeline, and typifies the music industry's fondness for adopting the aesthetics of rap music as a way of courting clicks as much as she does its tendency to disavow the genre as "materialist" as a way of virtue-signaling. Her music is inexorable from social media, both in the frenetic, real-time updates of its visual style and its tendency to spark loud, mindless discourse.
Out of all the pop stars that have been riding the airwaves for the past decade, Miley Cyrus seems to be the most consistent in her defiance of playing by the rules. Though she had a cookie-cutter pop star career cut out for her, she has made it a trend to continually go against the grain and reinvent herself, making some truly interesting career decisions, what some might even call full 180s, along the way (what other pop star at the height of her fame would make a 90-minute psychedelic rock album with The Flaming Lips and release it for free on SoundCloud?). Say what you want about Cyrus, but one can't deny her ambition.
In late September, the internet decided to freak out about Miley Cyrus' cover of Heart of Glass, the magical new wave classic originally written by Blondie. Cyrus strutted on stage at the virtual iHeart Music Festival and sang the hell out of a rock song that's always been sneaky and subtle. The cover wasn't great, but it was more than just a cover; it was a proclamation of a new era for Cyrus, a pop singer who's never really formed an identity but has worn genres and cultures like Halloween costumes.
The Lowdown: For her post-divorce album, Plastic Hearts, Miley Cyrus deploys big synth energy in full '80s-rawk drag. Over six uneven albums, Cyrus has dabbled across pop genres, but she's always held a penchant for the era and attitude of mainstream glam, new wave, and hair rock, dropping covers of Joan Jett and Blondie in live sets and covering Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as early as 2010's Can't Be Tamed. Now 28 years old, Cyrus leans fully into these influences, enlisting heroes like Stevie Nicks to have a blast with her while ripping themselves off.