Plastic Hearts

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Plastic Hearts
Miley Cyrus - Plastic Hearts.png
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 27, 2020 (2020-11-27)
Genre
Length38:15
LabelRCA
Producer
Miley Cyrus chronology
She Is Coming
(2019)
Plastic Hearts
(2020)
Singles from Plastic Hearts
  1. "Midnight Sky"
    Released: August 14, 2020
  2. "Prisoner"
    Released: November 19, 2020

Plastic Hearts is the seventh studio album by American singer Miley Cyrus, released on November 27, 2020, by RCA Records. It marks a departure from Cyrus' previous releases, featuring a sound steeped in rock, pop, synthpop, and glam rock, with influences from country, punk, new wave, arena rock, industrial, disco, and power pop.[4][5] Most of the album was produced by Andrew Watt and Louis Bell, with further collaboration with Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. Guest vocals include Billy Idol, Dua Lipa, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks.

"Midnight Sky" was released as the lead single from the album on August 14, 2020. "Prisoner" featuring Lipa was released as the second single on November 19, 2020.

Background and production[edit]

"[Younger Now] was obviously a little bit more country influenced, but I still really love pop music and I love music that can be played at the club."

— Cyrus discussing her shift in musical direction since Younger Now (2017)[6]

Cyrus grew distant from the mainstream hip hop culture she was involved with while working on her albums Bangerz (2013) and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015), and leaned towards "rootsy" country music elements while making her sixth studio album Younger Now (2017).[7] The album was released on September 29, 2017 to lukewarm critical and commercial performance. It received an average score of 58 out of 100 on Metacritic,[8] and charted at number five on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 33,000 copies and 45,000 overall album-equivalent units.[9] Its lead single "Malibu" became her ninth top-ten single on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the title track peaked at number 79.[10] Cyrus confirmed there would be no further singles only one month after the album was released and that she would not be touring for it.[11]

Two weeks prior to Younger Now being released, Cyrus claimed that she was "over [the album]" and was "already two songs deep on the next one";[12] however, she later said that she began working on the album in early 2018.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] In December 2019, Cyrus acknowledged that the musical direction of Younger Now "wasn't exactly the home for [her]" and credited Ronson with "[helping her] carve out [her] sound, where [she] could do everything that [she wanted], which is more modern."[6] Cyrus later cited Britney Spears and Metallica as musical influences on the album.[22]

Release[edit]

"My record is called She Is Miley Cyrus. 'She' does not represent a gender. She is not just a woman. 'She' doesn't refer to a vagina. She is a force of nature. She is power. She can be anything you want to be, therefore, she is everything. She is the super she. She is the she-ro. She is the She-E-O."

— Cyrus describing the meaning of the album's original title[23]

In November, Cyrus announced she was collaborating with Ronson, and continued work on her forthcoming record.[24] Cyrus and Ronson told Matt Wilkinson of Beats 1 that they were "80% done" with their albums, and tentatively planned for Cyrus' project to be released in June 2019.[25]

Cyrus held a private listening session of the album for iHeartRadio executives upon announcing its completion in May.[26] On May 9, Cyrus announced on social media that she would be releasing new music on May 30,[27] and later stated that the rollout of her new music would be "unconventional".[28] On May 31, Cyrus tweeted that the album would be titled She Is Miley Cyrus, and that it would be preceded by three six-track extended plays: She Is Coming on May 31, She Is Here in the summer, and She Is Everything in the fall.[29][30] Cyrus described the three EPs as "different [chapters] to a trilogy" that together would form the full-length album.[31] Their track listings were to be "seasonal" in nature; she related She Is Coming to "[wanting to feel] light and feel the warmth" of early summer, and She Is Here and She Is Everything to being "colder and a little darker" as the release cycle was to extend into the fall.[13] She Is Here was inspired by "the present of where [Cyrus is] at", while She Is Everything was to be comparatively more ballad-driven.[13] She later explained that the "she" pronoun in the album title described the "most confident version of herself".[23]

Cyrus continued work on the record following her split from then-husband Liam Hemsworth in August.[32] The following month, it was reported that Cyrus was undecided between updating the existing album that was completed before her divorce or scrapping that version of the record altogether.[33] On October 20, it was speculated from Cyrus' Instagram Live video that the release date for the full-length album was scheduled for her birthday on November 23, 2019.[34] On November 3, Ronson stated that Cyrus' collaborations with him were tentatively planned to be released before the end of that year.[35] On November 9, however, it was reported that Cyrus' new music would be delayed until early 2020 due to her vocal cord surgery earlier that month.[36]

On New Year's Day 2020, Cyrus uploaded a highlight video of the past decade and announced that "[the] new era starts now".[37] She stated that "[she was] getting super close [and was] feeling the urgency" during an interview with DJ Smallzy on March 4.[38] She tweeted a clip of the music video for her 2007 song "Start All Over" with the hashtags "#sheiscoming" and "#butforrealthistime" on August 4.[39] With the release of the single "Midnight Sky" on August 14, Cyrus confirmed the cancellation of the She Is Here and She Is Everything EPs, citing that "this year has been extremely unexpected [and] I guess I was feeling like it didn't make sense for me to continue the next two projects."[40] She stated that she did not have plans to release the full-length album in the near future because "when you write a record, a lot of the time, you're writing your experiences, and then by the time the record comes out, you've evolved past that experience" whereas releasing standalone singles "allows you to talk to your fans in real time". She later stated that she would wait until she could tour again to release the record,[41] however the album was later reported to be released in November.[42] On October 23, Cyrus announced that the album would now be titled Plastic Hearts and would be released on November 27; it became available for preorder that day.[43]

Artwork[edit]

The album artwork for Plastic Hearts was photographed by Mick Rock, who is widely known for his work with artists including Joan Jett and Debbie Harry.[44] The standard cover applies a pink filter to Cyrus' image, while limited edition copies from Cyrus' website feature black-and-white and full color variants.[45] Cyrus is pictured on the cover with a blonde mullet, wearing a Jean Paul Gaultier sleeveless black-and-white shirt with the word "censored" printed on it,[46] and accessorized with gold jewelry.[47]

Singles[edit]

Plastic Hearts was made available for pre-order on October 24, 2020, with three songs available to download. These were lead single "Midnight Sky", live covers of "Heart of Glass" (originally released September 29, 2020) and "Zombie".[43] "Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)", a mash-up of "Midnight Sky" with Stevie Nicks' song "Edge of Seventeen" was released as the fourth pre-release download on November 6, 2020, and released to radio in Italy on November 9.[48][49] "Prisoner", featuring Dua Lipa, was released as the album's second single on November 19, 2020.[50] The music video was released the same day.[51]

Promotion[edit]

Cyrus was interviewed by Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1, which was released on November 23, 2020.[52] Cyrus previewed the album for video-sharing service TikTok's "Watermarked" series on November 26,[53] and featured on Dua Lipa's Studio 2054 livestream concert on November 27.[54] She performed on the first episode of the Amazon Music Holiday Plays digital concert series on December 1.[55]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.0/10[56]
Metacritic75/100[57]
Review scores
SourceRating
Clash8/10[58]
Exclaim!7/10[59]
The Guardian3/5 stars[60]
The Independent4/5 stars[1]
The Line of Best Fit8/10[61]
musicOMH4/5 stars[62]
NME4/5 stars[63]
Pitchfork6.4/10[64]
The Telegraph4/5 stars[65]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[66]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 75 based on 19 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews"; it is the highest Metascore for any of Cyrus' albums.[67]

Katie Tymochenko of Exclaim! described Plastic Hearts as "Cyrus' gateway into the world of rock", but stated that "although she's proven herself to be a musical chameleon throughout all aspects of her career, Cyrus still caters to her pop following that's been with her since day one".[59] El Hunt of NME said that Cyrus was reflecting her Black Mirror character Ashley O in her transition from teen pop star to rock star, and complimented the "glam-rock tendencies" of "Prisoner" and "industrial undercurrent" of "Gimme What I Want".[63] Elly Watson of DIY praised her new musical direction saying "Overall, Miley's seventh era seems to be the one that suits her best".[68] Bella Fleming of The Line of Best Fit also praised Cyrus's new found independence and passion, saying "with Plastic Hearts, comes a wonderful album about life as a fiercely independent woman. Cyrus has found the perfect balance of pushing her own musical boundaries whilst proving she’s one of the strongest and bravest names in the constant celebrity whirlwind."

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, physical copies of Plastic Hearts were unavailable on the release date due to major retailers' stock limitations of physical music in anticipation of Black Friday, on which the release date fell. Cyrus stated that she and her team were not informed of these expected distribution disruptions upon selecting "the suggested [November 27] date" and was "equally/if not more frustrated" than her fans' disappointment.[69]

Track listing[edit]

Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."WTF Do I Know"
2:51
2."Plastic Hearts"
  • Cyrus
  • Tedder
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Bell
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:25
3."Angels like You"
  • Cyrus
  • Tedder
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Bell
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:16
4."Prisoner" (featuring Dua Lipa)2:49
5."Gimme What I Want"
  • Watt
  • Bell
2:31
6."Night Crawling" (featuring Billy Idol)
  • Cyrus
  • Billy Idol
  • Tedder
  • Pollack
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Nathan Perez
  • Taylor Hawkins
  • Watt
  • Happy Perez
3:09
7."Midnight Sky"
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:43
8."High"3:16
9."Hate Me"
  • Cyrus
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Bell
  • Watt
  • Bell
2:37
10."Bad Karma" (featuring Joan Jett)
  • Cyrus
  • Juber
3:08
11."Never Be Me"
  • Cyrus
  • Juber
  • Ronson
  • Ronson
  • Brandon Bost[a]
3:35
12."Golden G String"
  • Cyrus
  • Wyatt
3:55
Total length:38:15
Digital edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
13."Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)" (featuring Stevie Nicks)
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:40
14."Heart of Glass" (live from the iHeart Festival)Stacy Jones3:33
15."Zombie" (live from the NIVA Save Our Stage Festival)Dolores O'RiordanJones4:50
Total length:50:18
Apple Music Backyard Sessions Edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
16."High" (Backyard Sessions)
  • Cyrus
  • Decilveo
  • Smith
Ronson3:18
17."Plastic Hearts" (Backyard Sessions)
  • Cyrus
  • Tedder
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Bell
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:22
18."Golden G String" (Backyard Sessions)
  • Cyrus
  • Wyatt
Wyatt3:53
19."Angels like You" (Backyard Sessions)
  • Cyrus
  • Tedder
  • Tamposi
  • Wotman
  • Bell
  • Watt
  • Bell
3:17
Total length:64:08
Japanese edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
16."Who Owns My Heart" (live from the iHeart Festival)
 

Notes

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[71]

Musicians

  • Miley Cyrus – vocals, background vocals
  • Andrew Watt – background vocals (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9), bass guitar (1–7, 9), drums (1, 3–5, 7, 9), guitar (1–7, 9, 15), percussion (1, 3, 9), keyboards (2, 4–7), piano (3, 6, 9), programming (7)
  • Louis Bell – keyboards (1–3, 5, 7, 9), programming (1, 3, 5, 9), piano (2)
  • Chad Smith – drums and percussion (2)
  • Will Malone – strings (3)
  • Dua Lipa – vocals and background vocals (4)
  • Jon Bellion – background vocals (4)
  • Michael Pollack – background vocals (4), keyboards (6)
  • The Monsters & Strangerz – background vocals and keyboards (4)
  • Majid Jordan – background vocals (5)
  • Paul Lamalfa – programming (5)
  • Ali Tamposi – background vocals (6, 7)
  • Billy Idol – vocals and background vocals (6)
  • Taylor Hawkins – drums (6)
  • Happy Perez – keyboards and programming (6)
  • Ilsey Juber – background vocals (7)
  • Jennifer Decilveo – acoustic guitar (8)
  • Leo Abrahams – acoustic and electric guitar (8)
  • Mark Ronson – keyboards (8), percussion (8), programming (8), synthesizer (10, 11), guitar (11)
  • Take a Daytrip – keyboards and programming (8)
  • Riccardo Damian – programming (8)
  • Andrew Wyatt – keyboards (8), strings (12)
  • Ben Lestersteel guitar (8)
  • Homer Steinweiss – drums (10, 11)
  • Angel Olsen – guitar (10)
  • The Picard Brothers – programming (10), synthesizer (10)
  • John Carroll Kirby – synthesizer (10, 11)
  • Brandon Bost – keyboards (11), programming (11)
  • Teo Halm – keyboards (11)
  • Justin Cantor – cello (12)
  • Emile Haynie – programming (12)
  • Mario Gotoh – viola (12)
  • Christina Liberis – violin (12)
  • Marc Szammer – violin (12)
  • Joe Ayoub – bass guitar (14)
  • Stacy Jones – drums (14, 15)
  • Jamie Arentzen – guitar (14, 15)
  • Max Bernstein – guitar (14)
  • Mike Schmid – keyboards (14, 15)
  • Josh Moreau – bass guitar (15)
  • Jaco Caraco – guitar (15)

Technical

  • Mark "Spike" Stentmixing engineer (1–3, 5, 6, 9)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing engineer (4, 7, 8, 12, 13)
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixing engineer (10, 11)
  • Brandon Bost – mixing engineer (11), engineer (10)
  • Paul David Hager – mixing engineer (14, 15)
  • Randy Merrillmastering engineer (1–12, 14, 15)
  • Paul Lamalfa – mastering engineer (13), engineer (1–6, 9), recording engineer (7, 13), vocal engineer (10)
  • Geoff Swan – engineer (1–3, 5, 6, 9)
  • Louis Bell – engineer (1–3, 5, 9)
  • Michael Freeman – engineer (1–3, 5, 6, 9)
  • Andrew Dudman – engineer (3)
  • Ryan Carline – engineer (3)
  • John Hanes – engineer (4, 7, 12, 13), assistant engineer (8)
  • Jacob Munk – engineer (10–12)
  • Todd Monfalcone – engineer (10), assistant engineer (11)
  • Andrew Wyatt – engineer (12), recording engineer (8)
  • Riccardo Damian – recording engineer (8), engineer (10, 11)
  • Lizzie Arnold – assistant engineer (8)
  • Tileyard – assistant engineer (8)
  • Matthew Scatchell – assistant engineer (10)
  • Tyler Beans – assistant engineer (11)

Release history[edit]

Release history for Plastic Hearts
Region Date Formats Labels Refs.
Various November 27, 2020 RCA [72][73]
Japan December 16, 2020 CD Sony Music [74][75]

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