You remember Miley Cyrus. She’s the one who came in like a wrecking ball, naked, and also partied in the USA. She also buys herself flowers.
Cyrus has a new song out right now called “Used to Be Young.” The entire song is Miley Cyrus complaining about all of the things she has spent her entire life promoting and doing which were very bad for her — and have now left her single and alone at the age of 30.
What’s amazing about this is the song was written by the same songwriting duo who created “Flowers,” a song about how she went through a breakup and can now buy herself flowers. She sang, “I can love me better than you can.”
As I said when I first saw the video, she looks like a sad person — literally a person alone, by herself running around an empty city in what felt like an emotional, post-apocalyptic hellscape.
In the new song, she says that out loud. She’s wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt to signify a time when she was on Disney’s “Hannah Montana” at the age of 13. She’s wearing a red dress and crying into the camera for roughly three minutes about how she’s made all these mistakes and doesn’t have a lot to show for it.
I don’t understand how a person can make the songs “Flowers” and “Used To Be Young” in the same year. Perhaps they are related to one another. Perhaps the way to avoid regrets of the past is to live a fulfilling and purpose-driven present.
When you spread the message that “You are enough for you; live your life, single ladies, you don’t need a husband; you don’t need kids; you don’t need meaning; you don’t need purpose, you don’t need church; you don’t need a community, you don’t need any of those things, it’s just you, Girl Boss,” and then you turn out like this — perhaps those two messages are related.
The entire message of the new song is, “I know I used to be crazy. That’s because I used to be young.” The contrapositive is that she’s not crazy anymore because she’s not young anymore. And maybe it’s time to grow up. The song is being interpreted by some in the media as an anthem to “I don’t regret my past.”
Except for this: She’s crying during the entire song. The entire song. She sings, “Open bars lead to broken hearts and goin’ way too far.” Yup.
If I thought this was the new Miley Cyrus and that she was actually going to embrace a purpose-driven life, I’d be a little bit more charitable. I hope she does. I hope the next thing she embraces is singing messages that people in their 20s should hear, such as: “Life is not about partying in the USA” and “You can’t buy yourself flowers.” Or this: “You should try to be a better person so you can find Mr. Right and then settle down, build an actual family structure and then do something for the world.” That would be a great message.
I don’t trust pop music to do that, though. Pop music is the most narcissistic form of music. The messages in rap right now are full-on destructive, but pop is insanely narcissistic, just about “me and my feelings” in front of a giant mirror all the time.
She finishes the song:
“I know I used to be crazy
Messed up, but, God, was it fun
I know I used to be wild
That’s ’cause I used to be young
Those wasted nights are not wasted
I remember every one
I know I used to be crazy
That’s ’cause I used to be young”
Here’s the thing: You shouldn’t waste more nights like that, even if what you want to say is “I’ve made mistakes in my past and that’s what made me what I am.” Be something more or you’re going to end up at 40 singing the same tune.
She’s still young. There’s no reason she can’t put together a successful life and be useful; create a purposeful, meaning-driven life, not one where she’s coming in like a wrecking ball, naked.
I hope this is the beginning of a rethinking for Miley Cyrus.