Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana fame’s cover of Blondie’s 1978 hit song “Heart of Glass” became a TikTok sensation, leading longtime Miley fans and newcomers alike to beg the artist for the best of both worlds — for this pop princess to release a rock album. These hopes finally came to fruition this past Friday, when Cyrus dropped her new LP, “Plastic Hearts.”
As an artist who has been in the public eye since her Disney Channel days, Cyrus is no stranger to changing her image. This genre transition, however, is unlike anything she has ever attempted. With the release of her seventh album, “Plastic Hearts,” Cyrus was tasked with producing original rock songs that did not alienate her previous fanbase. Luckily, she was able to execute this flawlessly.
The album stands out from Cyrus’ previous radio-friendly works from the beginning of the LP. The opening track, titled “WTF Do I Know,” features the lyric “Probably not gon’ wanna play me on your station” in the intro. As soon as the chorus hits, it’s pure rock-and-roll. The explicit language and intense electric guitar set a strong precedent for the rest of the LP.
Cyrus lets her powerful, raspy vocals shine on every song on “Plastic Hearts.” The listener is drawn to every song by her voice, and it feels as though Cyrus was born to sing rock-and-roll. Whether she is nearly screaming in songs like “Midnight Sky” or letting her Tennessee twang emerge in the title track “Plastic Hearts,” the artist plays to her strengths throughout the entire LP.
One of the standout features of “Plastic Hearts” is the abundance of star-studded features that are scattered throughout the album. The first of these is “Prisoner,” featuring Dua Lipa, which is one of the album’s weaker tracks. Although most of the album deviates from a radio sound, this particular song sounds like a cookie-cutter Top 40 hit, making it stick out like a sore thumb. Dua Lipa’s smooth tones could be a great contrast to Miley’s gravelly delivery. However, the pair would perhaps be better suited together on an intentional pop song.
A far more impressive feature on the LP is the sixth track, “Night Crawling,” which features punk-rock legend Billy Idol. The song absolutely lives up to the high expectations of the feature. The chorus is incredibly catchy, with a hard-hitting beat and some ’80s-style synth throughout. The music completely drops off at the bridge, making the track even more thrilling; the song in itself is adrenaline-inducing. When Cyrus sings alongside rock icons like Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks, it brings out her best.
The central track is one of Cyrus’ lead singles, “Midnight Sky.” This song is a spiteful power ballad, and the lyrics make it an anthem of individuality and self-governance. “Midnight Sky” clearly provides the foundation upon which Cyrus built this album, as many other tracks on the LP reference the night sky as a metaphor for independence. This uniformity in theme is one of the more admirable parts of the album, and “Midnight Sky” itself is the perfect base.
Another standout factor of this LP is that “Plastic Hearts” includes multiple covers. The inclusion of “Heart of Glass” is a nod to how Cyrus originally introduced herself to this genre. The covers are also both live, demonstrating the true strength of Cyrus’ vocals.
Cyrus closes the LP with a cover of the 1993 rock hit “Zombie” by The Cranberries. The cover turns out to be an ideal conclusion to the album. Although Cyrus’ original rock songs are impressive for a first album, her covers are still superior. The inclusion of “Zombie” is no different. Closing the album on this anthem for independence is intentional and humble on Cyrus’ part.
Cyrus’ debut rock album is a thrilling debut into the genre. With a cohesive lyrical theme throughout and multiple well-executed features and covers, it is the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a successful artistic venture for the singer.