By Josh Schonfeld
If you haven’t heard, Miley Cyrus is releasing her first single since 2015 on Thursday, May 11th, entitled “Malibu” and I could not be more excited. I wasn’t always the biggest Miley fan, you know. Sure, I could groove to “7 Things” and “See You Again,” and who couldn’t escape the wrath of “Party in the U.S.A.,” but I also laughed at the train wreck that was “Can’t Be Tamed,” and was probably the biggest critic of “The Climb.” It wasn’t until I noticed her features throughout the spring of 2013 that really caught my attention. “Ashtrays & Heartbreaks” with Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion at the time) showed her maturity for the first time and then “Fall Down” with will.i.am showed her vocal prowess in the face of adversity since will.i.am is one of the worst lyricists of all time. Finally, on June 3rd, 2013, Miley Cyrus released her first single, “We Can’t Stop,” off of her fourth studio album, Bangerz, and the rest is history.
Bangerz not only showed a more mature and rebellious side of Miley, but it also showed off her vocal chops and proved that she is more than just a child star who got famous for being the daughter of a one-hit wonder. Her follow-up 2015 album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, showed her ability to go against the grain by releasing it for free without the support or editing of her label. While there were certainly tracks that were out there, her foray into psychedelic rock continued her fearlessness while songs such as “I Get So Scared” and “Lighters” took your breath away and wonder how you ever doubted Miley before.
Fast forward to today and pop music has become a male-dominated genre with the female stars of yesterday falling by the wayside. Lady Gaga’s Joanne failed to bring her back to the forefront of pop, Kesha is stuck in the lawsuit from hell, and Katy Perry has found major backlash to her recent pop outings. In fact, the past few weeks of the Billboard Hot 100 have featured male-centric top tens with Alessia Cara being the lone female for her track with Zedd called “Stay.” Who better than Miley Cyrus to get some more estrogen to the top of the charts and lead the charge for female singers to make their resurgence.
I’m sure most of you are wondering, “who cares about Miley? She’s just a gimmick.” Well, I’m here to tell you that she is more than just foam fingers and dildos. Sure, her Free the Nipple campaign was a little much and she could probably stand to quit smoking weed for about two seconds (or at least stop telling us about it), but if you really listen to her music, you’ll see that she is one of the most talented artists of our generation. Don’t believe me? Take a look at her covers and maybe you’ll change your tune. Her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” who just happens to be her godmother, shows off her range both vocally and genre-wise. You then have her cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” where Miley gives the middle finger to all those baby boomers who think she’s nothing more than what they see in the media by singing the hell out of this classic tune.
What we know about her new song is that it is a pop-rock love song that sounds nothing like Bangerz or Dead Petz which is exactly what Miley needs right now. While pop-rock has fallen out of favor in the pop world, Miley has never been one to chase trends. In fact, she thrives on going against trends and forging her own path which a breezy pop-rock song l will certainly be doing. I’m sure many of you are growing tired of the same EDM-based trop-pop songs that have saturated the market in the past year, so let’s see if Miley can show off yet another side of her artistry and usher in a new wave of pop music that doesn’t have a drop at the chorus and a rent-a-rapper tacked on.
With her hair grown out and her old flame, Liam Hemsworth, by her side again, Miley is ready to take the world by storm yet again. Hopefully this time, it will be without all the gimmicks that allow the naysayers to write her off as “oh, she’s just bein’ Miley.” While you may not agree with her antics, you cannot deny the immense talent found in Ms. Cyrus.