Miley Cyrus and Old Shadows

Without trumpet or drum, one of Disney’s biggest icons has just returned with the single “Used To Be Young”. This is not really an ordinary song, but a song of gratitude for the old person that the female singer once became.

March 9, 2023 by Minh Anh


Whenever Miley Cyrus is mentioned, what do people often remember? It must be the controversial album “Bangerz” with the nude swing on the iron ball in “Wrecking Ball”, or the previous period with the supposedly sexual performance during “Party in the USA”. … Those are the things that have obscured the “Hannah Montana” who was once a symbol for millions of teenagers around the world.

Frankly speaking, Miley is a vocalist with a lot of potential. Not counting “Hannah Montana” as the first launching pad that forced the female singer into the “good girl” image, her subsequent albums were all a step forward. The third album – “Can’t Be Tamed” released in 2010 switched to Pop-Rock, marking the first steps to “destroy” the “good girl” image. From then until “Younger Now” (2017) were all provocations of the hypocrisy of the American entertainment industry.

At the age of 15, she appeared half-naked on magazine covers, releasing a chaotic album in tribute to her puppy. Then came the “Bangerz” era with a constantly shaking ball… Miley revealed everything, she was not reserved in storytelling, but lived as herself. That’s the wildness and desire to prove youth. Now 30, she’s looking back at it all again in a completely calm and deftly restrained single, titled “Used To Be Young.”

In the officially released MV, we can see many images worn by the female singer. There’s a Mickey-print shirt reminiscent of the Disney era, the iconic “Bangerz” strapless dress, dark red colors like “Plastic Heart” and the curly hairstyle that appears throughout “Endless Summer Vacation.” There were no effects or complicated movements, here it was just Miley standing under the stage in the middle of an almost dark hallway with tears filling the corners of her eyes.

Musically, with a not too complicated structure, you can hear many traces from albums that have been released in this song. From the slow piano sound of “The Climb”, the Country rhythm guitar sound of “Hannah Montana” or “Younger Now”, the rhythmic drum beat of “Plastic Heart” as well as the vocals that have many ups and downs in previous albums.. It can be said that she has mixed everything that used to be her.

Miley shared:

“This song honors who we were in the past, as well as loving who we are about to become. I feel proud when I look back at the old days, and then dream optimistically about the future. I feel grateful to the fans who made my dream come true. Thank you for that support. This song is for everyone.”

For that reason, in her lyrics, she has a truly tolerant view of previous mistakes or shortcomings. Wildness, failure, resistance, controversy… in the end, because everyone had a time when they were young. In a relatively recent interview Miley also said: “I carried a feeling of guilt and shame for many years for causing so much controversy and discomfort. Now that I’m an adult, I realize I’ve been judged harshly, and I wouldn’t judge a child harshly.”

A journey of speaking

Therefore, girls in their 30s are no longer full of desire to prove themselves, but slow down and listen more. After “Flowers” became the national song in the second half of 2022 and the album “Endless Summer Vacation” attracted attention, the female singer seemed to “disappear” and did not participate in any tours. Responding to these doubts, she simply said that the idea of ​​performing was no longer suitable and natural for her.

Looking at it another way, this is also the female singer’s introspection. After two decades of playing the role of the most controversial person, she knows how to find balance. So when the extremely excellent rock album “Plastic Heart” failed to win any Grammy nominations, she simply shared the list of great legends who missed nominations. When “Flowers” ​​gained great influence, Grammy tried to invite her back but the singer refused it.

In the end, “Endless Summer Vacation” only had a “Backyard Session” series like “Plastic Hearts” had before. This is both suitable for Miley – someone who is tired of touring, as well as satisfying for her fans, when they have the opportunity to see her sing live songs from her new album. As she shared on social networks, “To be clear, I can see the connection with my fans right now, because when I’m okay, they’re okay too. Even if we don’t see each other on the big stage, they and I are still deeply connected.”

Before “Used To Be Young”, the audience also expected an extended version of “Endless Summer Vacation”, because the appeal of this album is still too great. It is a fact that the female singer’s series of projects including 3 EPs “SHE IS COMING” has been canceled, and this is quite unfortunate. However, one can still see the female singer’s tireless working energy. 

She also wrote that “I am constantly creating and innovating ways to create beautiful sounds that connect with my audience, without sacrificing what I believe is important.” Before the single was released, the audience also saw the image of the cheerful and happy female singer participating in her mother’s wedding.

Miley trong “Backyard Session”

Another event that also surprised the audience was the tribute to the legendary Sinead O’Connor in the performance of “Wonder Woman” from “Backyard Session”. Previously in 2013, Sinead sent a letter to Miley with advice about the singer’s overly sexy image in the album “Bangerz”. At that time the advice was not answered, because of the ideals of youth. However, Sinead as well as Miley are both strong people, challenging limits and constantly finding creative ways to express their own voices through music.

At the 1991 Grammy Awards, Sinead refused to accept the award for “Nothing Compares 2 U” because she believed that this major award did not reflect the true quality of music. Miley also refused to perform a year ago even though it was a good opportunity to maintain the heat for “Flowers” alone. Sinead is also very famous for her shaved head, while her short hair during “Bangerz” was a mark to remember the Miley of the Pop music era… No matter what, the two images went together and left a mark. beautiful marks.

Sinead passed away from serious mental illness, while Miley is still overcoming it day by day. It’s truly fortunate that adulthood gives her many things. After “Used To Be Young”, after “Endless Summer Vacation”, we can be sure that there will be many more quality products that not only mark Miley’s own musical personality, but also her personality and her personality.

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