‘Plastic Hearts’: Miley Cyrus Says 1 Song ‘Erases That Divide Between the Artist and the Audience’

Singer Miley Cyrus debuts her 2020 album, Plastic Hearts, on November 27, 2020. The record arrives after one of her most extended musical breaks ever, but it’s as much a love letter to her fans as her previous releases. Discover what one track means to her and how it might be about.

Miley Cyrus’ album ‘Plastic Hearts’

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In October 2020, Cyrus announced her seventh studio album, Plastic Hearts. “I began this album over 2 years ago,” she wrote. “Just when I thought the body of work was finished it was ALL erased,” she continued of the fire that destroyed her Malibu home. “Including most of the music’s relevance,” she added, a nod to her divorce from Liam Hemsworth.

The next month, Cyrus revealed the album’s tracklist. Comprised of more than 12 tracks, Plastic Hearts includes her first single, “Midnight Sky,” her collaboration with Dua Lipa, “Prisoner,” and the long-awaited “Bad Karma,” on which rock star Joan Jett joins the former Disney star.

She cited ‘Never Be Me’ as a ‘moment’

Cyrus spoke about several Plastic Hearts tracks, including “Never Be Me,” in an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music. She noted that frequent collaborator Mark Ronson “kind of challenged” the song, for which he “made the most beautiful arrangement.” Of the lyrics, the artist said, “The words just literally started getting pulled out of me.”

“When I write a song like that, I capture something that’s inside of me,” said Cyrus. “I get to capture it and honor a moment. She cited the line “Is it wrong that in my mind I walk the line, I lay with fire,” saying, “I felt that way right then. And I got to capture it, and I didn’t have to take it with me anymore.”

Cyrus says her fans ‘know me pretty well’

Miley Cyrus Surprises Fans at Nordstrom The Grove to Celebrate Converse X Miley Cyrus Pop-Up Shop at The Grove on May 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Miley Cyrus surprises fans to celebrate Converse X Miley Cyrus Pop-Up Shop at The Grove on May 1, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Nordstrom

“Never Be Me” is vital to Cyrus because of its honesty. “You feel less alone when you listen to songs like that,” she said. “You say, ‘OK, this is human. I’m human; she’s human.’ It erases that divide between the artist and the audience.” She explained that she doesn’t “like that barrier at all.”

“I don’t even really like the word ‘fans,'” Cyrus continued. “This career has been so long, from the age that I started. Who you are from the time I was introduced to ‘my audience’ at 12 to who I am now. They really know me pretty well.” She added, “I don’t like the idea of an audience,” noting, “I am my audience.”

Is ‘Never Be Me’ about an ex?

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth on March 4, 2018
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth on March 4, 2018 | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

But being that open isn’t always easy. “Writing a song like ‘Never Be Me,” it’s a sacrifice too,” Cyrus told Lowe. “It’s a choice that I commit to because some of the songs that I write, I am not ignorant to the pain that they can cause to the subjects,” she added, though she didn’t drop any names.

“A lot of the time, I have to choose again — is it worth it for me to release this?” Cyrus asked. “And I mean not release it to everyone else, but to me,” she continued. “To allow this thought, this feeling to come out. Because it gives it power… It’s real now. It’s something more than the thoughts in your head.”