Music

Miley Cyrus, Holiday Plays Amazon Music, review: A pre-recorded performance can’t do Plastic Hearts justice


Releasing a loud, unapologetic glam rock album at a time when no-one can gather in a sweaty room to mosh out might not be ideal, but Miley Cyrus went ahead and did it anyway. The 28-year-old has had to funnel her newfound riot grrl persona down the lens of a camera, her raucous new songs beamed to phones and laptops via live streams; the latest of which have proven the pandemic’s alternative to gigs is already becoming tired.

Kicking off the 20-minute show with Prisoner, Cyrus’s latest single featuring disco lover Dua Lipa, the pop star quickly proved her raspy, often gutteral vocals were in fact live – a relief following the entirely lip-synched dance number performed by host Lil Nas X to open the stream. Not that the actual show was live – a pre-recording doesn’t exactly invoke the unpredictable danger Cyrus is trying to sell.

Still, there’s no denying the star’s chameleonic talent. Performing the title track Plastic Hearts, Cyrus, decked out in leathers and gunmetal jewellery, launched into exhibitionist mode for the first time. Shooting sultry looks to an imagined audience and playing with the props around her – a Hannah Montana-esque wig on a nearby mannequin was thrown out of shot in an accidentally symbolic move – she never looked choreographed yet knew exactly how to keep attention firmly on her.

Arresting as Cyrus’s presence was, by the time we reached the fourth song of the set – the successful lead single Midnight Sky which has recently been rehashed into a duet with Stevie Nicks – it was clear something was missing. Perhaps a band would have helped Cyrus elevate the experience to something more than just another recorded performance, not that she needs the extra support.

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Cyrus also sang Wham’s Christmas song, Last Christmas (Photo: Amazon/Alana O’Herlihy)

Despite the singer’s protestation that Christmas doesn’t fit with her vibe, her closing cover of Wham’s Last Christmas was killer, perfectly mixing her newly rasping tone with the sickly sweet Disney protégé she has long eschewed. Cyrus may not embrace Christmas in her new rockstar guise, but it certainly suits her.

Cyrus is making the best of a difficult situation, giving her music and performances to fans in any way she can during the pandemic. But until she does so on her own terms – in her own show as opposed to a four-song set for Amazon, iHeart Radio, or MTV Unplugged – Plastic Hearts won’t ever take its place as an album to be heard live. If her efforts so far are anything to go by, the wait to see Miley Cyrus live in concert will definitely be worth it.

Miley Cyrus’s performance is available to watch on demand on the Amazon Music UK Twitch channel



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