Vanity Fair

On "Slide Away," Miley Cyrus Reclaims Her Broken Heart

Enchanting, emotional, and magnetic—Cyrus may have finally found her sound.

"Slide Away" sounds like it will be the last song dedicated to longtime love Liam Hemsworth. 

Their on-and-off partnership finally led to marriage last December. But eight months later, the pair announced their amicable separation and described their relationship as "ever-evolving, changing." On "Slide Away," Cyrus mystifies with her enveloping voice to break our hearts for the first time since "Wrecking Ball."

"Ever-evolving, changing" is also what Cyrus is as an artist. No one can ever predict her sound. From hip-hop to country to psychedelic-pop, she's always seemed elusive, too "wild" to ever find a lane she can thrive in. But recently, with "SHE IS COMING" and now "Slide Away," she seems to have landed in a middle ground perfectly suited for her—pop-soul.

"Slide Away" is gut-wrenching. Its quiet, contemplative, and bursting production pairs magically with her emotive voice. The ballad is as unique as Cyrus: devastating, frustrating, and full of expression. The powerhouse singer details the evolution of a couple's growing pains, a future lost, and finally acceptance. The lyrics describe the shore and the sea, where Cyrus's inspiration seems to be.

The tragic song is not a breakup song; it's a woman's painstaking reflection of the past and recognizing when to let go of it all, no matter how committed she used to be. Since last week, publications have speculated that Cyrus's separation occurred because of Hemsworth's excessive drinking and "use of certain drugs." Cyrus seems to confirm that, singing, "I don't want the whiskey and pills." The cover art corroborates the lament, as she reclaims the narrative of her own broken heart. Cyrus takes authority by belting, "Move on, we're not 17 / I'm not who I used to be / You say that everything changed / You're right, we're grown now."

The declaration doesn't give much hope for a reconciliation, but "Slide Away" speaks for itself: Cyrus is only getting started now that she's finally found the sound and style to match her controlled, magnetic voice.

Listen here:

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