After years of struggling to find her sound, Miley Cyrus knocks it out of the park with her rock-pop album Plastic Hearts.
Getting to this point wasn’t a walk in the park for the former Disney star turned rebel whose albums coincided with the different phases of her life. Initially, trying but failing, to follow in her father’s – and god mother, Dolly Parton’s – footsteps in the country genre, Cyrus seemingly found her sound with the racy but ever-popular Bangerz album.
But that, just like the albums before and after, was the mark of a person still trying to find where she fits in the music industry. Because of her start as Hannah Montana on the Disney channel, people, for a long time, expected her to be something that she wasn’t – a do-no-wrong Disney role model.
But as she aged, and grew out of her Disney phase, so too did her music. Before long, her innocent country-inspired pop sound akin to her alter ego Hannah Montana transformed into racy photoshoots, videos of drug use and the next stage of her music evolution. We started to see the push back with Can’t Be Tamed before her rebellious-ness hit its peak with the twerk-heavy Bangerz album and the extremely strange and forgettable Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Pets EP.
After a quick attempt to go back to her roots with the country inspired pop album Younger Now detailing, for the most part, her married life, it was the divorce from longtime partner and the album’s inspiration, Liam Hemsworth, that finally gave her the push that she needed to find her true sound - rock.
Plastic Hearts truly is a testament to the amazing talent that Miley possesses. Her raspy but guttural voice is a perfect match for the rock genre and doesn’t get overpowered by the electric guitar and drum heavy music that would drown out many pop singers.
Miley wastes no time letting people know who she is now, starting the album off with the in your face single “WTF Do I Know” that takes shots at all the critics over the years who have judged her music, clothing choices, personality and her unwillingness to keep up the role model act that people tried to force her into.
She follows that up with the album’s title track that pays tribute to the Rolling Stones with a funky drum beat that draws comparisons to “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Beginning with “Plastic Hearts” and continuing throughout the album, Miley doesn’t shy away from drawing comparisons to other notable rockers. In fact, she encourages those comparisons in an almost “whatever you can do, I can too,” sort of way.
Songs like the Billy Idol-esque “Night Crawling” featuring – you guessed it – Billy Idol himself, Midnight Sky that drew Stevie Nicks comparisons and her collaboration with her role model and fellow bad-ass rebel, Joan Jett, on “Bad Karma,” shows that Cyrus can hang with some of the most notable rockers of all-time without getting lost in their shadows.
And almost as if to make one final argument for why rock fans should let her in to the exclusive club of rock musicians that they like to be the gatekeepers for, Cyrus ends the album with a couple unnecessary, but well-done, covers of “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Zombie” by the Cranberries, further showing her range as a musician.
Between the lyrics that pull no punches, the music that emulates rock greats and the honesty and vulnerability of Miley to address her own issues and past choices in a candid way, Plastic Hearts above all else proves one thing – Miley Cyrus is a rocker, and a damn good one at that.
For a more in-depth review of Plastic Hearts check out my album review video here!
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