Rocking ball: why ultimate badass Miley Cyrus is the rock star we need in 2020

She's covered Metallica. She's loved drugs and gone teetotal. She's teamed up with Stevie Nicks. She's made Robin Thicke look like a twat. Need we go on?

Miley Cyrus turns 28 next week. How is that possible? She has lived so many lives already. She’s been a Disney star, a pop singer, an actor, she had her rebellion and went a bit wild for a few years, she’s dated models, she was on and off and then married and divorced with a Hemsworth brother, she was in Black Mirror, her seventh studio album, ‘Plastic Hearts’ is out soon and the first track with Dua Lipa drops at midnight (November 19). 28.

READ MORE: Miley Cyrus: her best rock cover songs, from Blondie to Nine Inch Nails

What’s more, she’s been consistently firing out banger after banger and has suggested that the new record will be her rock album. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of your Dad sighing, saying it won’t be as good, that she’s a pop star, and nobody will care. This attitude was summed up last when Cyrus covered some big rockers and the YouTube channel Rock Feed earnestly asked, Miley Cyrus Covers Metallica: True Metal or Cringeworthy?, with the host fretting, “Does she listen to Metallica? Does she listen to Nine Inch Nails?”

Tell your Dad – and that dude – to watch some videos of her live rock covers and then come back to you. Cyrus’ voice is absolutely incredible. It sounds like she might be overdoing it on the Marlborough Lights, sure, but if that’s what makes it sound like that, I’ll light her next one myself.  I fell deep into a YouTube hole listening to her cover Metallica, Led Zeppelin and Blondie, Amy Winehouse and Arctic Monkeys, and I’d encourage you to do the same. Plus, I’m now desperately trying to achieve wet look hair and digging out my long gloves and PVC trousers. She’s very fucking cool.


Think about what comes to mind when we think of a rock star: great voice (tick); iconic video (tick – you’ve all donned a white vest and pants and climbed on a boulder a la 2013’s ‘Wrecking Ball’); vocal about a love of drugs (in the past – tick); exciting love life (tick); the press are faux worried about them (always); and controversial behaviour at an awards ceremony. Well who can forget twerking against Robin Thicke at the MTV VMAs in 2013? (he has not fared well since then). And of course now she’s teetotal. It’s rock star 101!

She’s worked with an envious list of collaborators for Plastic Hearts’, which is partly produced by Mark Ronson, who couldn’t contain his excitement about it when they released the track listing this week, insisting that one song features “one of the most beautiful vocals/melodies I’ve ever recorded”. Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Angel Olsen and Dua Lipa all feature on the record. Cyrus recently released a mash-up of her summer banger ‘Midnight Skyand Steve Nicks’ 1981 classic ‘Edge of Seventeen’ and named it ‘Edge of Midnight’. Nicks, who sings the chorus, told Cyrus, ‘You can borrow from me any time. ’Another collaboration would give the world a reason to be cheerful in 2021.

If that wasn’t enough, when Miley announced she would release an album of Metallica covers, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford came out in support of the project, saying “I can’t wait, – that’s going to be great. She has an extraordinary voice. Like [Lady] Gaga, the voice is everything, and she’s a metalhead, she’s always throwing the horns up. She’s someone I’d love to meet if the stars ever aligned.” Which is all the blessing you ever need, really.

I have to admit that for years, I thought of Miley as a teeny bopper following the usual path of rebelling against a privileged upbringing (she’s ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ singer Billy Ray Cyrus‘s daughter) in the public eye, who had a bit of talent but was mostly there to make the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Actually, this was just her metamorphosis into the star she is today. She’s stood up for what she believes in when it comes to LGBT issues, herself identifying as pansexual. She explained that her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, a low-key ceremony, came about after their house burned down in the California forest fires made her think, “No one is promised the next day, or the next, so I try to be ‘in the now’ as much as possible. If I ever find myself thinking too far ahead, I acknowledge that anxiety and bring myself back into my body and out of my head.” And in 2020, this quote makes more sense than ever.


Above all of this, the global fame and the talent, the voice, the looks, the mistakes, the circus of it all, you get the feeling that Miley Cyrus would be great to just go and have a pint with – even if she’s on the zero per centers – and see where the night goes, and that’s the most rock’n’roll thing of all.