Miley Cyrus’ Best Videos

Everyone remembers when they were first shocked by Miley Cyrus. Was it the time that she twerked at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards? Was it one of her scandalous social media posts? Or was it one of Miley’s music videos?  There is a good chance that it was the latter. Miley is a true auteur of the music video and we are counting down her best work.

Miley Cyrus in Madrid, Spain | Photo by Fotonoticias/WireImage

‘Wrecking Ball’

If one Miley Cyrus video has made an impact, it’s the video for “Wrecking Ball.” The image of the singer nude atop a giant wrecking ball as it swings back and forth is one of the quintessential elements of 2010s popular culture. It is to this decade what Michael Jackson dancing with zombies was to the 1980s, or what Kurt Cobain playing at a pep rally was to the 1990s. Lady Gaga had upped the ante earlier in the decade with her shocking music videos, but Miley may have created the shocking video to end all shocking videos.

Miley Cyrus with the VMA trophy she won for “Wrecking Ball” | Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Questions about the video remain: should it be considered titillation for its own sake or is it a bold display of vulnerability that fits with the themes of the song? The sequences in the video that show Cyrus crying directly in front of the camera point towards the latter, but the video has inspired myriad interpretations. Regardless of whether you like the video, few music videos have sparked as much interest as this one.

‘We Can’t Stop’

Miley Cyrus performing | Photo by Sam Emerson/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images & Hollywood Records via Getty Images

“We Can’t Stop” gave the world an inkling that Miley might be the sort of artist to create a video like “Wrecking Ball.”  Both the videos for “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” include strange, striking tableaux and a celebration of Cyrus’ independence from the image she cultivated as Hannah Montana.

Cyrus might not be considered a modern artist, but the clip for “We Cant Stop” owes a debt of gratitude to the silent films directed by Salvador Dalí. Like his films, the video for “We Can’t Stop” is a collection of images that ask you to figure out why they are connected. Why did that man eat a sandwich? What is the purpose of the screensaver that speaks with a deep voice? Why is Miley’s alphabet soup telling her to twerk?

It’s unclear what exactly Cyrus and her collaborators were thinking when they put this video together, but they certainly succeeded at creating a unique mood. No other mainstream music video is this willfully, cheekily disjointed. Whatever is going on at the party in the video, it’s certainly a party that we’d all like to attend.

‘Can’t Be Tamed’

LAMiley Cyrus performs onstage during the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

As a song, “Can’t Be Tamed” works on two levels. It’s a fierce, uncompromising anthem of individuality that can apply to the lives of numerous people, but it’s also specifically about Miley. This was the moment when the singer made her intentions clear: she’s interested in following her muse, not fitting into any conventional mold of stardom, Disney stardom or otherwise.

The video for the song depicts Cyrus as a humanoid rare bird who breaks free of her cage. It’s certainly on the nose, but the outfits that Cyrus and her fellow escapees wear caused the Internet’s collective mouth to drop. Cyrus and her backup dancers look like they’re acting in an alternate universe version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats that’s about pigeons, or like they’re birds from the same planet as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Cyrus certainly knows how to make a fashion statement.