Unapologetically Miley: ‘Plastic Hearts’ Embraces New Genres

By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz and Chloe Colmenares

Entertainment Editor and Staff Writer 

Expect a different side to Miley Cyrus’ seventh studio album, “Plastic Hearts,” that the public has never seen before. 

Released on Friday, Nov. 27, “Plastic Hearts” seeps into a versatile mix of 1980s synth, grunge and rock-n-roll instrumentals, transporting music fans to pleasantries of the past. 

This take on popular ’80s music combines well with Cyrus’ soulful lyrics, representing the sophistication of an artist trying to escape the good girl image that Disney once portrayed.

A perfect quarantine jam, the album has 15 songs with big, iconic names like Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. Dua Lipa also makes a guest appearance. The album was preceded by Cyrus’ lead single “Midnight Sky,” released in August, which teased the new shift in genre. 

The opening track of the album, “WTF Do I Know,” propels listeners into a grungy and groovy bassline accompanied by Cyrus’ deep, raspy vocals. This is one of the record’s more intense songs to fit with its subject matter: her divorce from actor Liam Hemsworth. 

Two of the songs with the most ’80s-drawn inspiration, “Night Crawling” (featuring. Billy Idol) and “Bad Karma” (featuring Joan Jett) are delivered by synth-pop and punk rock sounds. 

However, the nostalgic and introspective vibes of songs “High” and “Never Be Me” add just the right amount of emotion. 

The closing song, “Golden G String” is similarly soft and reflective, delving deep into Cyrus’ relationship with Hollywood society and the media’s perception of her throughout her career. 

Starting with Disney’s “Hannah Montana” in 2006, Cyrus became a household name and role model for young girls during her teen years. In an attempt to escape expectations, Cyrus started more rebellious music projects such as “Can’t Be Tamed” in 2010 and “Bangerz” in 2013.

“Bangerz” was particularly controversial at the time because of the sexually provocative nature of its promotion and Cyrus’ openness about her drug use.

The span of Cyrus’ music career has seen dips explorations into various genres, including traditional pop, country, R&B and psychedelic pop; but “Plastic Hearts” is Cyrus’ first project to experiment with punkier rock sounds. 

Looking back on her discography, including the psychedelic “Miley Cyrus & Dead Petz” (2015) and the more country-rooted “Younger Now” (2017), Cyrus has had a career post-Hannah Montana that seems like a search for identity and self-realization in a world that places her under a microscope.  

That being said, “Plastic Hearts” feels like her most realized album, hinting at Cyrus’ tremendous growth as an artist and individual — and not conforming to standards. 

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Miley Cyrus’ “Plastic Hearts” is her most self-realized and reflective album yet.