The twerking, lascivious Miley Cyrus of the past few years was nowhere to be seen on stage Sunday night, May 21, 2017, at the Billboard Music Awards. In her place was a subdued Miley dressed in a beach-ready ensemble with white denim cutoffs, white crop top, and broad-brimmed hat. Backed by a stripped down band, Miley treated fans and award attendees to a gentle “Malibu,” as she debuted her new single on national television for the first time. As the song closed, Miley became visibly emotional, blinking away tears as she thanked the audience. Balloons poured down over an entranced audience who gave Miley a standing ovation as she gave a graceful bow.
Miley was introduced to the audience by younger sister Noah Cyrus and dad Billy Ray Cyrus. Noah couldn’t help but give a little dig at her older sister, introducing her and saying that it was Miley’s “first time in years with pants on.”
“Malibu” was written about her fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, who she broke up with in 2013, but reunited with in 2016. She wrote the song while riding in an Uber on her way to record a stint at The Voice. She recalls that she didn’t want to sing out loud because someone else was in the car. In a way, this new single is a clear reflection of how Miley has decided to change in an effort to reach out to her roots.
On Miley’s Changing Sound
“Malibu” is the first single from Miley Cyrus’ upcoming album. Miley wrote the lyrics and melodies to the song – and the rest of the album – herself, in an effort to return to her roots of country and pop. The title of the album and the release date haven’t been set yet. She recorded this new album with Oren Yoel, who she worked with previously on her fifth studio album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. This new album is Miley getting out of her Dead Petz phase, which featured among other things, a tour costume that involved a unicorn costume with a strap-on phallus.
The return to this stripped down and gentler sound began as an inkling of an idea when she was a coach on The Voice. During that tenure, she connected with fellow coach Blake Shelton and his fans, discovering something that took her aback. In her words, it hurt that “country music fans are scared of me.”
This revelation forced her to take a step back and look at her profile, entertainment-wise.
“I like talking to people that don’t agree with me, but I don’t think I can do that in an aggressive way. I don’t think those people are going to listen to me when I’m sitting there in nipple pasties, you know?…People stare at me anyway, but people stare at me a lot when I’m dressed as a f***ing cat.”
Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, often tells a story of country star Waylon Jennings sitting with a young Miley Cyrus at the kitchen table, teaching her guitar chords. About this album, he says that “this is Miley leaning into her roots more than I’ve ever heard.”
“For her, this is honest.”
Don’t Call This Album Political
The album does have one song for Hillary Clinton and one other for women in the workplace
She added later, clarifying the issue, “I like the way I think right now. But don’t Trump supporters like the way they think? So I’ve also got to be open with the way I approach people with my opinions. That’s the only way to make real change.”
Miley admits that her new album may come off as a little political. But she doesn’t want to be cast into that light because as soon as her album becomes politicized, she becomes the Dixie Chicks, “and I’m getting my album smashed in the streets.” That isn’t what Miley wants.
“I want to talk to people in a compassionate, understanding way – which people aren’t doing.”
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]