Sunday, April 10, 2022

‘Attention: Miley Live’: A Love Letter to her Fans

Miley Cyrus loves ‘Attention’ was all over the superstar’s social media while she was performing the Lollapalooza Festivals in South America. Everywhere was ‘I want Attention’, ‘Give me Attention’ ‘I love Attention’ - then on the last day in Brazil, Cyrus announced ‘Attention: Miley Live’

She announced the surprise live LP stating:

“My fans have been asking me for a live album for a long time & I am so [excited] to give it to them…I asked my audience what songs they’d like to see me perform at upcoming shows and this is the setlist YOU created! From fan favorite covers to some of my oldest songs, newest songs & original unreleased songs…Thank you for all of your loyalty and support over the last 16 years! This record is the least I can do to try and show my appreciation for your dedication! We’re in this together forever.”

The last two years she has been performing rock covers, a new glam rock style sound and even embracing her old music. This record is delivering it all and even unreleased singles. It’s been clear since the start of the ‘Plastic Hearts’ era that Miley is focusing on her relationship with her fan base. She’s incredibly active on her social platforms now and has been doing a ton of shows recently, starting from the TikTok Tailgate for the Superbowl 2021 pre-show and nonstop since doing almost the entire music festival circuit.

You notice that she is incredibly happy as she’s performing, more so than ever. Her stage presence feels 100% authentic, like ‘she’s just being Miley’: funny, chaotic, loud, emotional and vulnerable. Overall, she’s been honest about her anxieties on stage, emotional about her losses and the abundant love she has for her fans is clear. 

This live album feels like the perfect move for her. It perfectly captures her journey from being a double-life popstar to the experimental phases and her return to her country and now rock and roll roots. The LP feels like her love letter, a symbol of her devotion and appreciation to the fans that have been by her side for over a decade, and this is a great way to embrace her past eras, show her performances of her current album and tease what's to come.

The majority of ‘Attention: Miley Live’ was recorded at a gig in Los Angeles on the 12th of February. The track list “curated BY the fans FOR the fans” actually starts off with the new/unreleased song ‘Attention’, which is very 80s, Madonna-esque. It’s spoken and screamed with some hyper beats. A perfect show starter and prelude for the era that’s ahead for fans. Officially opening her show with her popular hit ‘We Can’t Stop’ mashed up with Pixies’ hit song ‘Where Is My Mind?’. This is how Miley has been opening her shows for a while now, as a perfect way to show her old self with her new self. The setlist here goes on to include her title track of previous album ‘Plastic Hearts’, the incredibly famous Blondie cover that is now basically Miley’s, ‘Heart of Glass’ and some deep cuts of hers from years ago like ‘(SMS) Bangerz’, ‘4x4’ and ‘Dooo It!’.

In between here she takes a beat to talk with her fans, expressing her gratitude. She’s addressing them directly, pointing out shirts she sees claiming “I’m 13 years old on your shirt…I’m 22 on yours”, and thanking them for being there with her through the 15 years of her career and the “million different identities” she has tried. This moment on the live recording that runs for 4 minutes of the vulnerability and honesty that Miley has delivered lately. From talking about the 15 years of performing, she then discusses how different it feels for her now after not being on a stage for two years. She calls it terrifying, anxiety inducing but exciting because of the new chapter it’s introducing for her life. From this monologue she delivers ‘Never Be Me’ which is the most intimate and emotional song on her last album, ‘Plastic Hearts’, and she states she can only perform it now because she’s being honest.

She later performs ‘Maybe’, a Janis Joplin cover which really shows off her pipes with her raw vocals. Afterwards she thanks the crowd again saying she’s “grateful for each and everyone” and to prove it she dedicates the next couple songs to them. These include the breakup anthem of a generation, ‘7 Things’ and the teen love song that preceded it ‘See You Again’, which was mashed up with Frank Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’. This leads right into ‘Jolene’, the tribute to her godmother, Dolly Parton, that she is very famous for covering. Miley has another little monologue here stating that no one ever needs to hit into a certain guideline or boundary, stating “we’re all evolving ourselves in front of yourselves”, an ode to her constantly changing personas and expressing hope for a more understanding world where everyone can be whoever they want to be without judgment.

Later, Miley performs another new/unreleased song, ‘You’. This song was teased at her New Year’s Eve show, and this is the first time anyone heard the whole thing. The performance is very stripped down, sounding like it’s just piano and some acoustic guitar for this sweet song about everlasting and reckless love with that specific person. Here she performs a cover of Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ but her take on it feels a bit more rock and roll. She then smoothly transitions into the ‘Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)’, the famous remix of her first rock hit and Stevie Nicks’ ‘Edge of Seventeen’.

Miley closes the show by hitting the nostalgia note performing her older music such as ‘The Climb’, as well as 'Wrecking Ball’ which is mashed up with Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and finally ‘Party In The USA’. The final words the listener hears on the live record is her screaming “goodnight everybody”, which hit the 7 year old Hannah Montana fans right in the face. This feels like we’re getting the soundtrack of Miley Cyrus’s life here, we hear her sing covers from artists she admires, her old stuff from age 13 up until now. While there have been a lot of different versions of her, this somehow feels like the real end of a chapter for her, she seems dedicated to her music in a completely different way than ever before and more authentically herself than ever before.

Miley is currently working on her 9th album to follow ‘Plastic Hearts’ which will be her first with new label, Columbia Records. She’s been teasing this new era since October 2021 with the relaunch of, back from the Hannah Montana days and photoshoots. This era seems to be a combination of her rock image and 1970s disco. With the new songs on this live album, we can’t wait to see what’s to come from the rock star.

Hope Orr


Image: Vijat Mohindra

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