I was one of those people in middle school who mercilessly ridiculed Miley Cyrus’ music because I was an edgy quote machine that craved to be unique and different and yet simultaneously accepted all at once. If that young sire could see the absolutely atrocity of a man he became (Listening to an entire Miley Cyrus album), I have no doubt that he’d want to commit seppuku, right there, on the spot. I mean, it’s Miley Cyrus for chrissakes.
But here’s the thing. Believe it or not, Miley’s voice actually suits the ’80s rock sound she’s trying to emulate, and it fits surprisingly well. The woman’s talking voice sounds like a 40-year-old gas station attendant who’s spent the last 20 years chain smoking cigarettes, so yeah, I’d say she’s got the grunge needed to truly elevate pop rock—to rock pop.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of missteps on the record. And when I first heard “Midnight Sky” I feared this was going to be another one of those “Look at me! I can do ’80s!” records of 2020, which have become all too common in our ever-derivative mainstream pop scene (thanks Carly!). But Miley leans fully into the mosh pit pop rock persona, and it yields pretty damn exciting results.
For starters, I’d say that a large majority of this tracklist bangs. It’s just straight-up enjoyable music. The grungy ’80s throwback works for Miley, because she’s not afraid of embracing her influences. I didn’t like the original “Midnight Sky” much, because of how glossy it felt, but the remix? With Stevie Nicks? Man, the campy guitars add a brand-spanking-new layer of awesome.
There are a couple of missteps—I’d say the slower songs like “High” compromise the rhythm of the album quite a bit. The production on “Hate Me” and “Gimme What I Want” feels a little overblown. The hook on “Prisoner” also sounds very familiar. Listen to it, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
However, despite its occasional mistakes (which can be forgiven, because after all—it is the former Disney star we’re talking about here), “Plastic Hearts” is a whole lot more enjoyable than I ever thought it would be. I highly recommend this album to anyone who’s been enjoying the ’80s kick that’s been thrumming through the pop sphere right now. This album should be right up your alley.