Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus is a nod to the eighties glam-rock experience and coated with a modern pop polish. Two of the strongest songs are found at the top of the album, with “WTF Do I Know” and the titular song “Plastic Hearts” opening as true bangers. They introduce a theme resonating through the album of holding onto the reins of a fast-paced life.
Cyrus was practically born under the spotlight. While her career has always been crowded with fans and collaborators, her life is often uprooted for the hectic demands of living as a pop star. Young and powerful, Cyrus lays out what she wants clearly in the song, “Gimmie What I Want” when she sings, “I don’t need a future/ I don’t need your past/ I just need a lover/ So gimme what I want or I’ll give it to my[self]”. Cyrus’s search for love is not about finding “the one”, it’s about finding what she wants now and following the needs of her journeying heart. While she sings longingly about losing love on “Angels Like You”, she quickly moves on to the carnal pursuits of nightlife for the bulk of the album.
In respect to the musical forebearers who came before her, Cyrus reached out to some of rock’s greatest to collaborate. Stevie Nicks has always been an inspiration to Cyrus and their remix of Cyrus’s “Midnight Sky” with Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen” is a beautiful interweaving between generations. Together they sing about the concurrent drives of being an independent badass and the search for intimacy. Cyrus also reached out to Billy Idol, and their song “Night Crawling” has the heart of a Billy Idol song, with the modern gusto of Cyrus’s powerhouse vocals.
Cyrus is an experienced performer, and her voice can alternate from pop to rock and country while still remaining uniquely hers. Plastic Hearts moves her career forwards, and she makes sure to nod to the artists who have inspired her music. Cyrus retains her touch of wild that accelerated her fame and has refined her talent to show she’ll be making hits for a long time to come. At the end of 2020, Plastic Hearts arrives as a relief, a reminder of the fun to be had and the beauty along the way.