Friday, September 22, 2023

“Plastic Hearts” review: Miley Cyrus is officially a rock star


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Photo Courtesy of RollingStone

Story by Peyton Tranas/Contributing Writer

Miley Cyrus is back with her seventh studio album, “Plastic Hearts.” Released on Nov. 27, this album is heavily influenced by ‘80s rock and new wave sound, so it makes perfect sense as to why artists such as Joan Jett and Billy Idol are featured on the album.

Back in August, Cyrus gave her fans a taste of what was to come when she released the lead single, “Midnight Sky,” to accompany her new album. Highly praised by fans on social media, the single rocketed Cyrus back to social success. The song features a sample from Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” which enticed Nicks enough to be featured on a remix of “Midnight Sky,” titled “Edge of Midnight.”

The buzz from Cyrus’ new single created high anticipation for her seventh album. Cyrus has not released a full studio album since 2017, with “Younger Now.” “Plastic Hearts” shows that Miley has truly found her own sound and is no longer having to guess what will appeal to fans, critics or herself.

The album starts with the track “WTF Do I Know,” which has lyrics to hint that the song was partly inspired by Cyrus’ divorce with actor Liam Hemsworth. One line explicitly says, “Maybe getting married just to cause a distraction.” The song builds one of the central themes that Cyrus plays off of for many songs on the album: She is the way she is, and she will no longer feel ashamed or settle for less because of others’ perceptions.

The title track, “Plastic Hearts,” has a heavy ‘80s pop-rock influence, almost sounding like a George Michael song with an electric guitar. That influence translates throughout the album, also showing up in “Never Be Me,” a track that is more ballad-heavy than pure rock. If you’re looking for a song to show to someone that hasn’t gotten over ‘80s ballads or “It Must Have Been Love”-like songs, “Never Be Me” is the song to listen to.

The first song with a feature on the album is track three, “Prisoner,” featuring Dua Lipa, released a week prior to the album’s release to help promote “Plastic Hearts.” The song perfectly captures the two singers’ vocals in a way that suits them both. Like Cyrus, Dua Lipa has also been playing off the ‘80s disco-pop sound recently with her Grammy-nominated album “Future Nostalgia,” making the collaboration a pleasing track for both singers’ fan bases.

“Night Crawling,” featuring Billy Idol, as well as “Bad Karma,” featuring Joan Jett, further justify that Cyrus would have reigned supreme had she been around in the ‘80s. Though it has taken years for Cyrus to finally reach her rock star potential, she has been hinting at wanting to be this type of artist for years. Way back in 2009, Cyrus was on her Wonder World Tour promoting “Breakout,” her second studio album. For those concerts, Cyrus performed a cover of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by future collaborator Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, while flying around the arena on top of a motorcycle. In a way, Cyrus has come full circle.

The last two tracks on “Plastic Hearts” are two cover songs: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Zombie” by The Cranberries. Aside from “Midnight Sky,” Cyrus’ “Heart of Glass” cover helped drive the demand for new Miley Cyrus music. The cover went viral on the internet, specifically TikTok, which is why Cyrus released a recorded version in the first place.

“Plastic Hearts” is the beginning of a whole new career era for Cyrus. Starting with her career on the television series “Hannah Montana,” reinventing her child-star persona with “Bangerz,” and now finally finding the sound that has been meant for her all along, Cyrus continues to prove that she has what it takes to be one of the biggest music stars in the world.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email

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