With 'Flowers,' Miley Cyrus Ushers In an Assured New Era

miley cyrus
Miley Cyrus Ushers In an Assured New EraEsquire

When it comes to Miley Cyrus, you should always expect the unexpected. Since departing her reign on Disney Channel, she’s delivered one curveball after the next—and her latest single, “Flowers,” is no different.

Before we dig into the new single, which debuted Thursday night, let’s rewind a bit. Sonically, Cyrus has taken us on a journey without a roadmap. No signals or clues. Just a series of pitstops here and there. It all started in 2010 when she dropped Can’t Be Tamed, right before the final season of Hannah Montana debuted. The edgy album assured listeners her beloved character was purely fiction. Hannah was gone, and this was the Miley we ought to know. Then, three years later, she chopped her hair off, dyed it blonde, and released Bangerz. To many listeners' delight, the album was filled with party anthems that screamed, I just turned 21 and I’m making it everyone’s problem.

Cyrus kept that going for a few years, with various experimental EPs and singles. But in 2017, she flipped the script with Younger Now, a saccharine record full of whimsy and romance. And of course, just when you thought you had her figured out, Cyrus returned in 2020 with Plastic Hearts—a rock-inspired album that would make any Hall-of-Famer proud. Even Stevie Nicks gave her seal of approval, recording a remix of “Edge of Seventeen" for the record. It was the perfect revamp for Cyrus, who’d been trying to clean up her image. With that? I thought we’d finally met our destination. As it turns out, Cyrus had other plans.

“Flowers” marks an entirely new era for the singer. Miley Cyrus is all grown up—and it shows. At 30 years old, she clearly has a newfound confidence. You can hear it in her voice as she smoothly wades through the track; you can see it in her eyes as she struts around a mansion in the music video. Lately, her aura is less look at me, and more, here I am. Like a person who doesn’t need your approval, because they never thought to ask.

Thematically, “Flowers” is a classic breakup anthem where Cyrus realizes she’s fine on her own. “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand,” she sings over a groovy beat. “I can take myself dancing / And I can hold my own hand / Yeah, I can love me better than you can.” Unlike Plastic Hearts, this track has no trace of rock and roll. That’s not to say Cyrus’s next album, Endless Summer, out March 10, will abandon the gruff melodies we grew to love—but I wouldn’t count on them either.

If my suspicions are correct, Endless Summer will mark a new era for Cyrus: one of healing, renewal, and perhaps, a bit of revenge. If you haven’t already, I suggest giving the song a listen. It’s best experienced at full volume—and with a drink in hand.

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