After all, there might be something to be said about modern music television. Last Friday, MTV aired a special “MTV Unplugged Backyard Session” featuring Miley Cyrus – the latest episode in a long history of collaborations between Cyrus and the TV station. Over the years, the “Unplugged” series has produced many notable covers of Cyrus, including her crooning cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” which went viral in 2012. Every new “Backyard Session” with Miley Cyrus serves no purpose. only to present his new artistic style. and the image, but also his very last adventure in the genre. This most recent opus is a testament to his glam-rock personality, mature voice and genuine appreciation for good music. In these homecoming times, Cyrus heads to his glamorous backyard to share these covers, with a backing band dubbed “Miley Cyrus and the Social Distancers”, and invokes nostalgia for a more colorful era.
Despite this new direction, pop music is still at the heart of Cyrus’ work. After strutting around in a glamorous black and white outfit in the daylight shining above her Los Angeles home, she kicks off the session with a rock-infused cover of Britney Spears’ iconic pop track “Gimme More “. Later, his pop-rock ballad “Midnight Sky”, which appears on his next studio album, punctuates the end of the special. In between, however, there are even more genius moments of the genre. With heart-wrenching passion and a gritty vocal inflection, Cyrus covers “Communication” from Swedish rock band The Cardigans, exploding into a final chorus worthy of a rock star. Another highlight includes a heartfelt cover of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” as the sunset casts a golden tint on Cyrus’ funky jungle-themed stage.
Perhaps the best moment of the show comes once Miley is joined by a special guest – younger sister and fellow musician Noah Cyrus. Despite wearing a sleek black outfit, sparkling green eyeshadow and a bold red lip, nothing separates Miley Cyrus from her family country roots. His southern twang is found in most of his vocal performances, but it finds its most comfortable place in the pop-country genre of “I Got So High That I Saw Jesus” by Noah Cyrus. The duo reflects not only a harmonious fraternal bond, but an equality between two musicians having imposed themselves. Noah is by no means overshadowed by her superstar older sister – her effortless high notes, perfect pitch, and pop star image solidify her as a legitimate counterpart to Miley’s well-established stardom. The acoustic song is the perfect showcase of their respective talents, as Noah softly hums lyrics about spiritual awakening and Miley harmonizes with her classic vigor and perfected twang. The resulting musical moment is fluid and serious.
“I Got So High That I Saw Jesus” transforms nicely into Miley’s last performance of the night, a bouncy and relaxed take on her new single, “Midnight Sky”. She’s dressed appropriately in a dazzling, eye-catching lime green dress, and we again remember Miley’s latest reinvention of rock and roll and sparkly glam – with the matching mullet. Layered disco balls float around the screen as she sings the electro-pop-rock anthem with breathtaking ease. Although Miley Cyrus is the queen of covers, you might have recently heard her viral performance of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” or “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” by Arctic Monkeys. speed on TikTok – she proves that her artistry and prowess also extends to her own creations.
Raw talent and full screen versatility, this episode of “Backyard Sessions” was one of the best Cyrus has played. Completely reversing the stereotype of the downfall of the child star, Cyrus only seems to be getting better at his craft. By pursuing a rock character who deviates significantly from what other pop stars are doing in 2020, the ever-evolving Cyrus only solidifies his status as an original and fearless artist with a wide range of talent. We can only speculate where it might go next.