Plastic Hearts provides fresh fusion of pop and rock



Mesmerizing Miley: Under the red glow of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards stage, Miley Cyrus performs her newest album, Plastic Hearts.

Anne Ribordy, managing editor

When most people think of Miley Cyrus, what comes to mind is either Hannah Montana or when she twerked on stage and swung on wrecking balls. In her latest album, Plastic Hearts (released on Nov. 27), Cyrus emerges as more of a rock star than a pop star in her collection of pop and rock fusion tracks.

Cyrus opens the album with “WTF Do I Know”, which addresses her eight month failed marriage with Liam Hemsworth, whom she dated on and off for 1o years. The contrast in the lines “Thought that it’d be you until I die” and “Maybe getting married just to cause a distraction” highlights Cyrus’ emotional confusion. This track has a punchy, aggressive beat that effectively introduces many of the rock elements that are prevalent throughout the album.

The title track, “Plastic Hearts”, starts off with unexpected bongos and a shout, which is a nod to the Rolling Stones’ song “Sympathy for the Devil”. When the bongos fade, the song picks up with a vigorous drum beat. The guitar solo paves the way for the best song ending in the album due to Cyrus’ layered vocals and harmonies.

While her voice sounds raspy throughout the entire album, I like how she uses this vocal style in my favorite song of the album, “Angels Like You”. It starts off stripped down, but as the song goes on, more instruments gradually get layered in. Towards the middle of the song, a beautiful arrangement of string instruments make an appearance, soon followed by an unexpected crescendo of drums and guitar. The production throughout this whole album is unpredictable, making it exciting and refreshing.

Plastic Hearts contains four collaborations. “Prisoner”, featuring Dua Lipa, has a catchy chorus, but after the initial listen, it becomes slightly repetitive and lyrically lacking compared to the rest of the album. However, I like how this song blends the pop style of Lipa and Cyrus’ rock style while still being sonically cohesive with the rest of Plastic Hearts.

“Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol and “Bad Karma” featuring Joan Jett do not add much to the album, but these collaborations offer nice tributes to the two rock artists. Cyrus resurfaces another rock legend with the song “Edge of Midnight”, which is a matchup of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” and her own lead single for this album, “Midnight Sky”. This is easily the best collaboration of the album because of how seamlessly the songs fit together. The best part of this song is when Nicks and Cyrus sing parts of each other’s songs.

While a lot of the album is more forceful and assertive, the songs “High”, “Golden G String” and “Never Be Me” have a softer, more mellow tone. My favorite of the three, and one of my favorites from the entire album, “Never Be Me”, shines because of how authentic it is. It takes a lot of self-awareness to write a song that is as raw and self-deprecating as that track.

Plastic Hearts is an honest self-reflection that shreds the barrier between rock and pop. This combination of genres gave Cyrus the ability to feature more diversity within her tracks, and subsequently, none of them sound boring. Also, Cyrus removed the excess fluff from this album, so while the songs are shorter, everything in them has a purpose and contributes to the album. To anyone that was turned off by her previous works of country and pop, this album features a vastly different style and deserves a listen.