★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (8.5)
Miley Cyrus has been teasing us over the past few years with her capabilities in the rock genre, and she goes all in on her seventh studio album Plastic Hearts. A sharp contrast to her 2017 record Younger Now, her newest project glimmers in heavy synths and scratchy vocals in her attempt to recreate a grittier approach to the resurgence of eighties inspired music which have dominated the charts this year.
Cyrus has always been a charismatic and open performer and fans have been begging her to release a full rock project after her various covers proved popular. While Plastic Hearts isn’t all rock and roll, when she goes there, she goes hard.
Lead single Midnight Sky is a shimmering highlight which see’s Cyrus explore her new found freedom after her very public divorce from Liam Hemsworth earlier this year. ‘I don’t belong to anyone ... I don’t need to be loved by you” she sings during the incredibly catchy chorus. She’s always been a wild one and it’s hard to imagine her ever being held back by someone, which makes it more euphoric when she sings about being free and truly herself.
Miley isn’t one to shy away from collaborations and recruits pop star Dua Lipa on Prisoner, a pleasant highlight which samples Olivia Newton John’s Physical. Managing to blend both of their recent eras seamlessly, they manage to create a dark eighties disco-rock infused track. Both having low and husky vocals, the track shines as they come together to form an incredible girl band in the music video. Billy Idol also lends his vocals to Night Crawling, a nostalgic yet haunting sparring match between the two. It also completes the fantastic three track run of Prisoner, Gimme What I Want and Night Crawling.
Legends such as Joan Jett also make guest appearances on Bad Karma, a raunchy track about cheating. The Mark Ronson produced cut exudes sexiness with its repeated moans throughout. Stevie Nicks also appears in Edge of Midnight, a mashup of Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen and Midnight Sky.
However tracks such as High - a slower guitar driven ballad which vividly stands out as a weaker track should’ve clearly stayed on her scrapped 2019 EP trilogy She is Coming. Closing (original) track Golden G String is also a dud, a poor and disjointed attempt at mixing modern and older production. Seriously, that horrible trap beat ruins the song.
Having been in the game for nearly 15 years, it’s rare for an artist to produce their best work so late in the game yet Cyrus manages it. While her commercial peak may be long gone with Bangerz, artistically she’s reached new heights. Having recruited A-list rockstars and conquered another genre to cross off her list, Cyrus’ road into the Midnight Sky is a bright one.
You Have to Hear ...
Prisoner, Angels Like You and Night Crawling