Review: Miley Cyrus' Plastic Hearts

Miley Cyrus on a rock album: it’s what the world has been waiting for, for years. With her new style perfectly suited to Cyrus’s strong voice and gravelly tones, always so individual and recognisable, ‘Plastic Hearts’ is a blend of genres pitched against explosive lyrics, culminating in an excitingly crafted collection of confessional songs.

 

The album begins with the show-stopping ‘WTF Do I Know’, kicking off the album with a powerful and rocky backing to fiery (and unexpected) lyrics detailing her unapologetic thoughts on her reputation (‘I’m the type to drive a pickup through your mansion / I’m completely naked but I’m making it fashion’) and her previous marriage with Liam Hemsworth (‘am I wrong that I moved on / and I don’t even miss you?’). This first song is the indication of and an introduction to a continuing powerhouse of a collection.

 

And yet, the most surprising aspect of ‘Plastic Hearts’ is the phenomenal number of iconic collaborations. I was certainly both shocked and thrilled to find a collaboration with Stevie Nicks—a dreamy remix of the album’s lead single ‘Midnight Sky’ mixed with Nicks’s ‘Edge of Seventeen’. But before we even get to ‘Edge of Midnight’, the album already features a dance track with pop idol Dua Lipa, as well as two tracks featuring Billy Idol and Joan Jett, ‘Night Crawling’ and ‘Bad Karma’ respectively.

 

Not only does ‘Plastic Hearts’ have impressive collaborations, but the album also ends with Cyrus’s remarkable covers of the timeless songs ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Zombie’. Cyrus brings the original spirit of ‘Zombie’ to life again with her rough and powerful cover of The Cranberries’ 90s hit. On the other hand, her interpretation of ‘Heart of Glass’ is less dreamy and far tougher than Blondie’s original.

 

But the praise of Cyrus’s new rock sound is not also to suggest the album isn’t emotional. It features particularly heart-wrenching tracks ‘Angels Like You’, ‘High’ and ‘Never Be Me’ in which Cyrus laments on destructive tendencies (‘if you’re looking for someone to be all that you need / that’ll never be me’), ruined relationships (‘sometimes I stay up all night / ‘cause you don’t ever talk to me in my dreams’) and on feeling unworthy of receiving love from others (‘I brought you down to your knees / ‘cause they say that misery loves company’). But even after all the turmoil, Cyrus’s collection of original songs, before the remixes and covers at the end of the album, ends with the strangely hopeful song named ‘Golden G String’, a calmer tune that offers significant and dubiously optimistic messages (‘I should walk away / but I think I’ll stay’).

 

Through a mix of energetic sounds and both poignant and unapologetic thoughts, Cyrus has created a stunning album exploring dark sides of love, infatuation, and the self, summed up beautifully in the line ‘I did it all to make you love me and to feel alive’ from ‘Golden G String’. It’s difficult to pick my personal favourites, but I would have to say, ‘Midnight Sky’, ‘Night Crawling’ and ‘WTF Do I Know’. It’s safe to say I’m absolutely enthralled with Cyrus’s new sound.