Miley Cyrus is our most confusing pop star

About a year ago Miley Cyrus released Attention: Miley Live, an album recorded during her performance at the 2022 Super Bowl Music Fest. She promoted the project – a sprawling collection of her greatest hits and favorite covers dating back to her teenage years on Disney Channel – with the desperate hashtag #INEEDATTENTION, which managed to capture mine instantly. Soon, I’d be hearing her say those exact words on the previously unreleased opening track, “Attention,” a loud spoken-word cut that’s arguably the low point of an album that recklessly zigzags through genres and sprinkles glam-rock aesthetics into its pristine pop catalogue. “I need attention / Can I have your attention?” she keeps rapping.

Since Lady Gaga released “Applause” 10 years ago, I haven’t remembered a female pop star being so brazen in her thirst for public approval. In the case of “Applause,” however, Gaga, a then-newly established pop force, was already in the spotlight, which she considered her lifeblood (despite the song coming in a “flop era” many would eventually call her) . Cyrus, on the other hand, seemed to be singing about something she deeply yearned for, given her paradoxical position in pop culture as a household name and underappreciated entertainer still searching for her definitive sound. Overall, that explanation felt fitting for a live album designed to showcase Cyrus’ underappreciated brilliance and crystallize her oeuvre – albeit at the least talked about Super Bowl.

A year later, shortly before the release of their eighth studio album, Endless summer vacation, I can’t help but wonder if that nagging feeling for Cyrus still lingers — if it ever did. The hype that led to this album initially led me to believe otherwise, especially given the amazing, continued success of the album’s lead single, “Flowers”. In its first week on Spotify, the disco-tinged self-love track surpassed Adele’s “Easy On Me” as the most-streamed song in the platform’s history before eventually beating its own record. The single also debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it returned last week.

Confusingly, however, her fans were far less enthusiastic about the body of work that “Flowers” appears on. Endless summer vacation debuted at only #3 on the Billboard 200 chart, one spot down from her 2021 album plastic hearts– hardly a failure, but certainly a shock considering this was going to be a blockbuster album. Even pink has recently appeared trust casean album that is being discussed on the internet mainly in relation to the alleged insignificance of the veteran singer was able to crack the first two.

It’s not just that Endless summer vacationThe commercial performance of was overwhelming; Social media discourse surrounding Cyrus’ new album has also plummeted, despite her having been a household name for well over a decade. For comparison, when SZA released their second album in December, Twitter was filled with memes reacting to their brutally honest and occasionally embarrassing lyrics. Caroline Polacheks Longing, I want to transform myself into you is still an inescapable online presence after its release in February. And for the past few days, my Twitter timeline has been flooded with streaming links and rankings of Lana Del Rey’s fan-favorite songs Did you know there is a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard?published last Friday.

Conversely, when I ran to Twitter to proclaim my adoration Endless summer vacation hours after it fell, I found myself strangely alone among my pop-obsessed mutuals. It certainly has its fans, especially smileys, and critics have given it moderate to positive reviews. But it’s odd that an album so primed to be a hit, thanks to its moody, summery dance tracks and its post-breakup themes that hint at her much-publicized relationship with Liam Hemsworth, doesn’t even seem to be to make a cultural wave.

Granted, longtime fans of Cyrus are accustomed to assessing her success with a sense of wonder, given that much of her post-Disney career has been defined by quests. In just a decade, their spirit of turmoil and constant evolution has manifested itself in a psych-rock collaboration album with the Flaming Lips, a return to their Nashville roots younger nowthe new wave and punk rock inspired one plastic heartsand, most controversially, a foray into hip-hop on bangerz, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

“The divide between Cyrus as a viral sensation and respected singer and the kind of megastar whose original work has had a lasting impact on pop culture remains.”

For a while, it was hard to tell if the pop singer saw herself as a Madonna-like chameleon or if she was simply hopping on trends and searching for a sound that the general public could fully appreciate. It’s fair to assume a mix of the two, considering the transition from her drug-laden twerking era to a more “healthy” image continues younger now felt partly influenced by the public scrutiny. Added to this is the tonal leap younger now To plastic hearts felt like the result of some savvy audience testing after being widely acclaimed for her stream of surprising rock cover performances during the EP’s promotion SHE COMES.

Cyrus has found by far her greatest success as an adult artist by riding the nostalgia wave, whether it’s the persistence of “Party in the USA” or her 20th-century country and rock covers that inevitably go viral — on best-known Dolly Parton “Jolene.” Likewise, Cyrus’ interest in performing the works of other musicians – including Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, Hole’s “Doll Parts” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” – has helped older and formerly disinterested fans embrace them in a new light: as a vocal technician in awe of real music legends. Most recently, she propagated this reputation during her sophomore year Miley’s New Years Eve Party at NBC, where she stunned audiences with her renditions of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” and Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” alongside her famous godmother.

Still, the disconnect remains between Cyrus as a viral sensation and respected singer and the kind of megastar whose original work has had an enduring impact on pop culture. And over the years, it seems like her identity as a shapeshifter has come at the expense of any intrigue in her authorial voice.

I’ve often reflected on Cyrus’ relatively modest presence as an A-list celebrity Bangerz and her high-profile relationship with Hemsworth and how that may have created ambivalence about who she is or what she has to say. She’s certainly not a pop star in the Ariana Grande or Lady Gaga vein, whose distinctive personalities, intriguing romantic life and sense of humor captivate her fans as much as her music. Even someone as low-key as Dua Lipa has a string of online memes following her and an admirable reputation as a politically conscious pop star. In contrast, few clips of Cyrus not being strapped into a microphone have gone viral in recent years (other than that Hannah Montana farewell sceneNaturally).

Despite a tepid early reception, Endless summer vacation could find its wings and attract more fans once we all experience warm summer weather together. Still, it’s certainly not the stepping stone to pop supremacy that some fans were hoping for — and the rest of their admirers apparently didn’t want so much. However, since she knows Cyrus, she will try again in a few years. Miley Cyrus is our most confusing pop star

Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Rick Schindler joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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