Plastic Hearts - Photo via RCA Records

On Nov. 27, Miley Cyrus released her new album “Plastic Hearts.” Featuring artists such as Dua Lipa, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks, it’s described as “‘80’s glam and punk into anthemic, electric pop” by Apple Music. The album features 12 original songs, including the single “Midnight Sky,” as well as one remix and two covers.

“WTF Do I Know” is the first track on the album. The song is rumored to be about her split with Liam Hemsworth. The two got married in 2018 and later split in 2019. The lyrics, “Am I wrong that I moved on and I / And I don’t even miss you? / Thought that it’d be you until I die / But I let go /,” coupled with the lyrics “Had to leave you in your own misery” definitely signal that it could be about her past relationship with Hemsworth. In her song “Slide Away,” (released in August of 2019, right after her split with Hemsworth) Cyrus hinted at substance abuse, which would make a lot of sense when thinking of the “Had to leave you in your own misery” lyric.

“Plastic Hearts” is the second track on the album, as well as the title of the album. The song talks a lot about the mixed feelings towards Los Angeles and California in general. It talks a lot about the idea of following your dreams in California, what fame can do to you and eventually wanting to escape it all. It also includes a lot about the negatives of fame and California in general, including the lyrics “Love you now, but not tomorrow,” and the oxymoron, “Sunrise suffocation.” Cyrus goes on with the lyrics, “I just wanna feel something / But I keep feeling nothing.” It seems that while Cyrus appreciates all of the fame and such, she just wants something real, or as she put it, “a new connection.”

“Angels Like You” is the third song on the album, and is a bittersweet love song. The song starts out with everything sounding perfect. But then the song switches when Cyrus sings the lyrics, “I know that you’re wrong for me.” And goes on to say that, “I brought you down to your knees / ‘cause they say that misery loves company.” This makes it sound like while the relationship might have been good at first, Cyrus was an unhappy person, and despite the feelings she had towards this person, she couldn’t bring them down with her. This song is rumored to be about Cyrus’ ex Kaitlynn Carter, specifically when the two went on vacation together and the feelings involved with the trip.

“Prisoner” featuring Dua Lipa is the fourth track on the album and is the first to include a featuring artist. Despite its very upbeat sound, it actually seems to be about something a little darker. The song seems to be describing being trapped in a toxic, manipulative relationship where you essentially feel like a prisoner. You know it’s not good for you, but this person keeps pulling you back in every time, but they “keep making it harder to stay,” making it sound like the “relationship” is just getting worse and worse. The song ends with part of the chorus saying, “Why can’t you just let me go?”

“Gimme What I Want” is the fifth song on the album. The song is about to want, or as Cyrus puts it, to “need a lover,” just for a night. The lyrics, “and no one likes to be alone,” signal that Cyrus just needs a lover to get her through the night. The song also shows that she doesn’t want a relationship with this person, just someone to get her through the night. She doesn’t want to get to know you, she just wants to hook up, which is made very clear by the lyrics, “I don’t need your future, I don’t need your past.” It’s more of a sexy song, but when you really think about it, it's a little bit sad.

“Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol is the sixth song on the album. While many are unsure of the exact meaning, it seems to be about being good or bad, or like the angel and devil sitting on your shoulders. It seems to be about Cyrus being at a party, and making bad decisions. This can be speculated because of the lyrics, “Craving attention / Under the disco ball,” followed later by the lyrics, “Gotta listen when the Devil’s calling.” While it doesn’t go into too much detail about what these bad or good decisions may be, it seems that Cyrus is definitely leaning toward making the “bad” decisions.

“Midnight Sky” is the seventh song on the album and was the first single to be released prior to the release of the entire album. This song is a self-love anthem. Releasing it shortly before her breakup with Cody Simpson became public, this song is about understanding that you are all you need and that you, “Don’t belong to anyone.” The lyrics, “I was born to run, I don’t belong to anyone,” followed by, “I don’t need to be loved by you,” are definitely significant to the idea of self-love, and the realization that she doesn’t need to be loved by anyone else to love herself. 

“High” is the eighth song on the album. This song is essentially written about heartbreak. Going through a breakup is one of the hardest, most confusing things you can go through. Miley articulates this feeling perfectly in “High.” The lyrics, “And I don’t miss you, but I think of you / And don’t know why,” really explain the feeling of going through a breakup, and despite the fact you don’t actually want that person back in your life, you still think of them often. You want someone to be there for you like that person was, and it just makes you think of them unfortunately.

“Hate Me” is the ninth song on the album. Similar to a lot of the songs on this album, this song seems to be addressing an ex. The song seems to be about the aftermath of a breakup, one in which the ex got more hurt than Miley, and her wondering what the ex is thinking about her. She’s wondering if something were to happen, and she did die, how would they feel? Would they cry? Would they still hate her? It’s a sad thought to think, but I think it’s one a lot of people have after a breakup because of all of the confusing feelings circling.

“Bad Karma” featuring Joan Jett is the 10th song on the album. Cyrus teased this song in May of 2019 on her Instagram story, but held back on releasing it till “Plastic Hearts.” From my understanding, the song is about just doing what you want to do, and not believing in “karma.” She sings in the chorus, “I don’t give a f---, I don’t believe in luck / It’s why I do what I wanna do.” She goes on to sing, “I’d rather just do it then I’ll think about it later.” She references being a “heartbreaker” which might mean the song is related to doing whatever you want in a relationship, but I think the overall message of the song is just doing whatever you want to do because karma isn’t real.

“Never Be Me” is the 11th song on the album. The song seems to be addressing a romantic partner. It sounds like Cyrus is having a conversation with her partner and just being explicitly honest about how she is in relationships. She sings in the chorus, “If you’re looking for stable, that’ll never be me / If you’re looking for faithful that’ll never be me.” She continues the conversation with her partner, “I don’t want to keep you in the dark / I don’t want to gamble with your heart.” By the lyrics, it seems like Cyrus is being honest with her partner saying that she’s not completely stable and faithful in relationships, and she wants to be honest about that, but that it’s not something that’s going to change.

“Golden G String” is the 12th song in the album. The song is about the idea of being a woman in a man’s world. While there are plenty of men out there that can do and say whatever they want with basically no repercussions, Cyrus is frustrated that women are not treated with that same energy. Despite this however, she’s not being any less herself, or being confined into a box of what women are supposed to be like. She describes this with the lyrics, “I was trying to own my power / I’m still trying to work it out / And at least it gives the paper / Something they can write about” continuing with, “That’s just the world that we’re living in.” I feel like this is a reference to anytime Cyrus does anything outside of the norm, she’s automatically demonized in the media, but this isn’t the same for men.

“Edge of Midnight,” the “Midnight Sky” remix, featuring Stevie Nicks is the 13th song on the album. This song has essentially the same meaning as “Midnight Sky,” but it’s interesting how Nicks adds so much to the song with a couple of new lyrics.

“Heart of Glass,” live from the iHeart Radio Festival, is the 14th song on the album. Cyrus covered this song by Blondie in early October and the song blew up on social media, especially TikTok. Whether it was originally going to be on the album or not is unsure, but it was a hit. 

“Zombie,” live from the NIVA Save Our Stages Festival, is the final song on the album. Cyrus finished the album by covering The Cranberries’ original hit. Cyrus really shows her talent for performing rock music in this song, so much for The Cranberries to tweet out their praise for the song saying, “It’s one of the finest covers of the song that we’ve heard. We think Dolores would be very impressed!”

Overall, I believe this is one of Cyrus’ best albums. It’s very different from her usual previous albums, but in the best way possible. Not only is she creating great, new music for her audience, but she’s also introducing that audience to a type of music (and even specific songs) that they might have never heard before. If you haven’t heard it yet, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

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