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Breakout (Miley Cyrus song)

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Song by Miley Cyrus from the album Breakout
Released July 22, 2008[1]
Format Digital download
Recorded March 2008; Annetenna Studios
(Los Angeles, California)[2]
Genre Pop rock, teen pop
Length 3:24
Label Hollywood
Writer Ted Bruner, Trey Vittetoe, Gina Schock
Producer Scott Cutler, Anne Preven
Breakout track listing
"7 Things"

"Breakout" is a pop song by American recording artist Miley Cyrus. It was released to Radio Disney as promotion for Cyrus' second album of the same name. It was originally recorded by American pop singer Katy Perry as a demo track for her debut album One of the Boys but due to not being included in the album, the song was passed on to Cyrus. "Breakout" is a dance-pop whose instrumentation includes keyboard, guitar, and drums while lyrics discuss growing up and being carefree.

Contemporary critics received "Breakout" very well, appreciating its lyrical content. Digital downloads began immediately after the Breakout's release on July 22, 2008, and led to commercial success in Australia, Canada, and the United States; its highest international peak was at number forty-five on the Canadian Hot 100. Cyrus performed the song in several venues; her first, in the 2008 Disney Channel Games was used as a promotional music video and on her first world tour, the Wonder World Tour, it was the opening number.


"Breakout" was written by Ted Bruner, Trey Vittetoe and Gina Schock of the Go-Go's. It was first recorded by American pop singer Katy Perry, recording the track as a demo for her debut album One of the Boys,[3] though it was never fully executed for the album and was passed to Cyrus, on whose version Perry sings backing vocals, soon after a leaked version of Katy Perry on the Internet.[4] Perry discussed her role with Bliss magazine: "My vocals are actually on Breakout. I thought, 'Yes, I'm singing on a Miley single'."[3] Cyrus said naming the album Breakout was influenced by the song as it was "one of [her] favorite songs" on the album; this was because the song is feminine but has appeals to different age groups: "Moms, dads, sisters, brothers can, you know, relate to it. And it's basically because you just want to go out and have fun with your friends and sometimes, you know, go out dancing and let loose once in a while."[5]


A sample of Miley Cyrus' "Breakout". The song is a dance-pop number with lyrics about being carefree. It features background vocals by American pop singer Katy Perry.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Breakout" is a dance-pop song with a strong use of pop rock elements,[6] lasting three minutes and twenty-six seconds.[1] Written in the key of E major, it follows the chord progression G5—Dsus—Csus2—Dsus,[7] beginning with a fast beat, composed of chiming electric guitar and drums and later progressing to "the snares skip and the keyboards shimmer".[8] In the view of Chris William of Entertainment Weekly, "Breakout"'s lyrics are "a harangue against life's cruelest inequities", drawing attention to the opening verse, "Every week's the same/Stuck in school's so lame/My parents say that I'm lazy/Getting up at 8 a.m.'s crazy/Tired of bein' told what to do/So unfair, so uncool,"[9] though adding that the song was a sign that the "little girl isn't growing up".[9] However, Mikael Wood of The Los Angeles Times said the song was indeed about growing up fast, referencing the lines "It feels so good to let go" and "Wish it would never end"[10] and Jodi Rosen of Rolling Stone also believed "she's venting the frustrations of a teen who's too grown-up to submit to her parents, teachers or anyone else" with the lines "tired of bein' told what to do".[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Cyrus breaking out of a crystal-ice dome to perform "Breakout" in the Wonder World Tour.

"Breakout" received positive responses from contemporary critics, with Chris William, writing for Entertainment Weekly stating that Gina Schock left influences from The Go-Go's' 1982 hit single "Vacation" with "just the right amount of maturing".[9] Mikael Wood of The Los Angeles Times called the song "a slightly tougher, more guitar-based sound than last year's Meet Miley Cyrus",[10] while Bill Lamb of said the song was one of the "top tracks on Breakout"[12] and Heather Phares of Allmusic said the song's "school girl rebellion" was "designed to present the feisty, carefree Miley".[13]

According to Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe, "Breakout" is "pure pop realm with the Go-Go's-style fizz"[8] and Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone called the song "a more self-possessed [...] sophisticated pop record under her own name".[11] Ash Dosanjh of Yahoo! Music said, "You can forgive Cyrus's lack of poetic profundity because this is a dancefloor smash complete with ecstatic beats pummelling throughout."[14] Along with "7 Things", Robert Christgau called the song "one of the best of Breakout".[15] Ben Ratliff wrote for The New York Times that "Breakout" "appeals to both age groups", adding, "it’s a girls-only call to fun, but it hints at a decadent, school-free future."[16] However, Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described "Breakout" as a "noxious Avril Lavigne knockoff— an anti-education screed filled with declarations".[17]

Chart performance[edit]

As it was not released as a single, "Breakout" received exclusive airplay on Radio Disney, thus its chart appearances consisted mainly of digital downloads.[18] On the week ending August 9, 2008, "Breakout" debuted and peaked at number fifty-six in the Billboard Hot 100 where it spent seven consecutive weeks.[18] In the same week, "Breakout" was placed at number twenty-seven on Hot Digital Songs[18][19] and entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number forty-five, where it peaked,[18][19] spending three consecutive weeks on that chart.[18] "Breakout" also debuted and peaked at number ninety-four in the Australian Singles Chart.[20]

Live performances[edit]

Cyrus performing "Breakout" as the opening number of the Wonder World Tour.

Cyrus premiered "Breakout" at the opening of the 2008 Disney Channel Games, held on May 4, 2008 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as part of Disney Channel's summer-season activities.[21][22] During performance, a recording of which was aired as a promotional music video on the Disney Channel, Cyrus was dressed in a short, sequined black dress with a red tee shirt and black leggings underneath.[22] On May 17, she performed the song at the 2008 Zootopia[23] and, on July 25, in New York City, at the Rockefeller Center, which was broadcast by The Today Show.[24] On June 7, 2009, Cyrus performed the song at twentieth annual A Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival, an outdoor carnival supporting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.[25]

"Breakout" was on the set list of Cyrus's 2009 Wonder World Tour, her first world tour. Cyrus performed the song as the opening number at each venue while wearing a black leather tank top and hot pants and a white fur vest.[26] The performances began with Cyrus trapped in a huge, crystal-like ice dome which emerged from the bottom of the stage.[26] As she breaks out of the cocoon, Cyrus begins to sing "Breakout", gradually switching from slow to upbeat tempo and, towards the end of the performances, she and the backup dancers perform on movable scaffolding.[26] Melinda M. Thompson of The Oregonian reported that, in the September 14 concert in Portland, Oregon, at the Rose Garden Arena, drew a large response, bringing "screaming teens to their feet as she hit the stage ready to party".[26] Lael Loewenstein of Variety stated that the performance in the September 22 concert in Los Angeles, California, at the Staples Center, touched "on the theme of self-reinvention", a theme which Loewenstein thought was to "announce her image reboot".[27] She later performed the song at the Rock in Rio concerts in Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain.[28][29]


Chart (2008) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[20] 94
Canadian Hot 100[18] 45
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[18] 56


  1. ^ a b " Breakout: Miley Cyrus: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ Breakout liner notes [CD] Hollywood Records (2008).
  3. ^ a b "Katy Perry singing backing vocals for Miley Cyrus". Thaindian News. March 1, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Breakout > Credits". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Walmart Soundcheck: Interview - Part 2". Walmart Soundcheck. Wal-Mart. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Breakout > Overview". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Digital sheet music - Miley Cyrus - Breakout". Music Alfred Publishing. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Rodman, Sarah (July 22, 2009). "With her new CD, Miley Cyrus breaks out -- a little". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c William, Chris (July 18, 2009). "Breakout (2008)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner, Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (July 21, 2009). "Miley Cyrus' 'Breakout': A long way from Montana". The Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Rosen, Jody (August 21, 2009). "Breakout: Miley Cyrus: Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 12, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  12. ^ Lamb, Bil. "Miley Cyrus Breaks Into Her Own Identity". The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  13. ^ Phares, Heather. "Breakout > Review". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  14. ^ Dosanjh, Ash (September 4, 2008). "Miley Cyrus - Breakout". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Breakout". Robert Christgau. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  16. ^ Ratliff, Ben (July 21, 2009). ""Breakout" (Hollywood)". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  17. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (July 20, 2009). "Miley Cyrus - Breakout". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Breakout". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "Miley Cyrus - Breakout - Music Charts". Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "ARIA Charts" (PDF). Pandora Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  21. ^ Harris, Chris (May 5, 2008). "Miley Cyrus Thanks Fans For Their Support During Disney Games Set". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Miley Cyrus". The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  23. ^ Futterman, Erica (May 19, 2008). "Jonas Brothers, New Kids on the Block, Miley Cyrus Earn Fans’ Shrieks at Zootopia". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  24. ^ Zfat, Natalie (July 25, 2008). "Miley Cyrus Headlines Biggest Concert in Today Show History". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Miley Cyrus - A Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival". InStyle. IPC Media. June 8, 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b c d Thompsen, Melinda M. (September 15, 2009). "Review: Miley Cyrus Rocks the Rose Garden as She Kicks off Tour in Portland". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  27. ^ Loewenstein, Lael (September 23, 2009). "Concert Review: Miley Cyrus". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  28. ^ "My oh Miley! Disney star struts around on stage in a VERY racy costume". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. May 30, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  29. ^ Llewellyn, Howell (February 5, 2010). "Miley Cyrus To Play Rock In Rio Madrid". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 

External links[edit]