Miley Cyrus has explored a vast variety of genres and music throughout her career – she’s had her pop and country-twang Disney days, her rebellious and ballad incorporated self discovery and her more recent dark electric pop era. However, one thing that has stayed pretty consistent over the years is her ability to put her own spin on classic songs.
She is a cover queen.
Over the past two months, Cyrus has performed eight covers of songs originally by popular artists like Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe”, The Cure’s “ Boys Don’t Cry”, Billie Eilish’s “My Future”, and Brittney Spears’ “ Gimme More”.
Then, the cover that has gained her the most attention is Cyrus’ take on “Heart of Glass,” a 70s anthem originally performed by Blondie. A short clip of the performance from the iHeartRadio Festival on Sept. 18, 2020 went viral on TikTok. The video and audio circulated with constant shock and praise for this rock side of Cyrus and the new rock version of the classic song.
There was so much commotion and love for this performance as proved by 1.5 million likes on her 30 second Tik Tok clip, the cover was released on music streaming platforms on September 29.
This current wave of cover songs is not new for Cyrus. She has been known to outdo herself time and time again with other artist’s work. Here are some of her most memorable and iconic covers:
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” originally by Cyndi Lauper
Cyrus’s youthful and more playful attitude shines through in this performance. Her voice is still strong and powerful, but it is obvious how young she sounds.
“These Four Walls” originally by Cheyenne Kimball
This song also shows how talented of a singer Cyrus was from the beginning.
These two songs are some of Cyrus’ first released singles. Both can be found on her debut album “Breakout,” which came out when she was just 16. The song choice and sound of her voice make it clear that this was early in her career and tailored to her young and Disney-related following.
“Jolene” originally by Dolly Parton
This beautiful song is originally sung by her godmother and was not underdone by Cyrus. She has the vocal strength and emotion to back it up.
“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” originally by Bob Dylan
Cyrus performed this song with Johnzo West and really got to show her country roots while proving how dynamic her voice is – with smooth transitions to belting it out to delicately singing.
Cyrus proves clear maturity in her repertoire in these versions. There is a notable change in the style of music she decides to cover and the way she approaches them. These are two incredibly powerful and robust tunes that Cyrus covers with ease.
“Summertime Sadness” originally by Lana Del Rey
A more spunky Cyrus sang this song beautifully. She was able to add her own edge to it that could make the audience question if it was an Del Rey original.
This was one of the most popular songs worldwide in the spring of 2013, despite the title’s clear connection to summer. Cyrus added her own raw guitar and percussions to this dark pop ballad. This cover has racked up nearly 60 million views on Youtube over the last seven years.
“Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds” originally by The Beatles
This cover, made with The Flaming Lips and Moby, is incredibly different from the original. This version starts off with a soft and delicate voice by Cyrus, that leads into a chorus overpowered by an immense amount of instrumentals. The entire energy of this song version is shifted to a different universe, one where The Beatles are far far away.
“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” by Arctic Monkeys
This 2014 take on the 2013 alternative rock song by the british Arctic Monkeys has also recently resurfaced on TikTok. Two million likes on the short TikTok video led to MTV reposting the performance on Youtube Oct. 15, 2020. The video now has 2.4 million views.
Although the cover has a pretty mundane and anything but outrageous start, Cyrus really shows the strength in her voice, and what a first-class performer she is, in the songs last 45 seconds. Even though the MTV Unplugged performance is what has been talked about most recently, she also has a terrific performance of this song from her Bangerz Tour.
“Happy Together” originally The Turtles
Cyrus did not make this cover particularly personal, but she still made it memorable. Her talent and passion for music is shown throughout the performance through her singing and behavior.
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” originally by Crowded House
This cover was performed for Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation. This cover is sung by both Cyrus and Ariana Grande. It is a beautiful listen and enjoyable watch, as it is filled with show quirks and dialogue between the two.
“Wildflowers” originally by Tom Petty
Shortly after the passing of Tom Petty, Cyrus and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, performed this cover on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The duet of the “hopeful” song is a beautiful tribute to the musical legend. She previously performed the song, and talked more about her opinion on the song and Petty’s death, on the Howard Stern Show.
“No Tears Left To Cry” originally by Ariana Grande
Two years ago, in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Cyrus did a wonderful rendition of this pop hit accompanied by well-known music producer Mark Ronson and a string quintet. This take on the poppy original really showcases Cyrus’s fierce and raspy voice.
“Black Dog” originally by Led Zeppelin
Moving away from the last pop cover, Cyrus took a swing at the rock band Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival. Her incredibly dominating and well-fitting vocals are displayed so nicely in this cover. Her outfit, showmanship and voice all add to the rock-and-roll effect of this performance.
“Wish You Were Here” originally Pink Floyd
While everyone was still at home closer to the start of quarantine, “Saturday Night Live” was “SNL at Home.” Cyrus performed this cover, and despite not being on a stage and in front of a live audience, she maintained the enthralling and captivating energy found in all of her performances.
These two covers are from Cyrus’ recent performances for MTV’s Backyard Session. The two more gentle songs are very drastic from her recent rock vibe. They really show the dynamic Cyrus talent and career hold.
“Zombie” originally by The Cranberries
Save Our Stages Fest was recently held and helped raise around $2 million for concert venues to aid relief during the COVID-19 shutdown. Some other artists included were Phoebe Bridgers, The Lumineers, Leon Bridges, Foo Fighters, and obviously… Cyrus. She performed a few different covers during the festival, but “Zombie” is one that noticeably stands out. The emotion in her voice and strength in her singing cannot be overlooked.
Recently, Cyrus told Interview Magazine that she is working on another new cover project.
“We’ve been working on a Metallica cover album and I’m here working on that,” said Cyrus.
Now, this would not be the first time she has pursued a Metallica cover. Back in 2019, when live shows were still being held and festivals were not virtual, Cyrus tackled “Nothing Else Matters” at Glastonbury.
Now, Cyrus’ newest album “Plastic Hearts” was released November 27, 2020. According to an Instagram post, Cyrus “began this album over 2 years ago” and it will be her seventh studio album. It will include her recent single “Midnight Sky,” and her covers of “Heart of Glass” and “Zombie.”