Miley Cyrus doesn’t hold back any punches. That energy can be traced back to her 2010 album
Can’t Be Tamed, an electro-pop record that boldly diverted away from her polished Disney image. At the time, she was ready to reintroduce the world to the real her, and she slipped off her Hannah Montana tresses to unveil her edgier side. Over a decade later, that audacious flare is seemingly the main character in her music videos.
Whether she’s released a teaser or a fully fleshed out visual, Miley’s unapologetically herself in front of the camera. She’s daringly gliding across the screen, strutting as if the entire world is watching, and commanding attention with a snap of her fingers. Those unforced moves are the highlights of her visuals, and it feels natural. As she once famously cooed, “she’s just being Miley.”
From her tongue-wagging, IDGAF attitude during her
Bangerz era to her recent unfiltered rockstar persona, here are nine music videos that ooze Miley’s badass energy.
It’s astonishing to think
“Can’t Be Tamed” set the tone for Miley’s career. The singer was eager to fly away from her iconic Hannah Montana persona; however, she didn’t embark on this departure quietly. Miley came on the scene with hardcore energy and gave the girls a bop that she herself is still obsessed with to this day. The track’s entire video feels cathartic yet so campy. As Miley claws away at her gilded Disney cage for freedom, she flaunts her large black wings until she’s officially flown from the coop. Talk about a rebellious era.
Miley was in her full “middle fingers to the sky” form during her
. That largely showed through her tongue-out twerking antics, unfortunately culminating in the fever dream that was her Bangerz era 2013 VMAs performance and her culture vulture controversies. That said, there were some memorable highlights from this period, such as her appearance in Mike WiLL Made It’s “23” video.
Miley’s presence in this video is pretty unforgettable, and it’s all thanks to her reworked Michael Jordan “23” Bulls jersey-and-shorts combo. While rapping about “not giving a f*ck,” she wreaks havoc in several locations at a random high school, including the girls’ bathroom, locker room, and the gym.
“We Can’t Stop” was another treasured hit from her Bangerz era. Still flaunting that “f*ck it” aura, the track is a raucous anthem about being young, wild, and unapologetically free (no pun intended, Wiz Khalifa). The music video for the single embodies that, and it sees Miley flashing her gold grills and twerking with teddy-bear backpacks while her friends nosh on a human skull made out of French fries. Yeah, it’s a lot.
To this day, “Don’t Call Me Angel” is a
misunderstood bop. However, what I can’t deny is the quality of its music video, which sees Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lana Del Rey teaming up for some fallen angel fun. In this era, Miley was in the early throes of her mesmerizing rockstar alter ego. That aura glimmers in the video for “Don’t Call Me Angel,” where she suits up in the boxing ring against her tied-up beau.
Beaming with sweat and a couple bruises, Miley looks like a champion who doesn’t take defeat or disrespect lightly. That’s likely the case, being that she’s demanding respect throughout her entire verse.
“Nothing Breaks Like A Heart”
Miley and Mark Ronson did what needed to be done on
“Nothing Breaks Like A Heart.” The music video for the track is pretty impactful, and brims with political notes and still-timely societal issues. Within seconds of the video, viewers are thrown in Miley’s televised “car chase,” eerily similar to that of OJ Simpson. From there, the singer drives by several disheartening scenarios, including children playing with firearms. By the end of her cruise, she and Ronson get into a car crash but emerge unscathed.
There’s something so mesmerizing about Miley’s
era. The singer was already steadying her pop-rockstar persona in 2019. However, once Plastic Hearts Plastic Hearts bursted onto the scene in 2020, Miley practically embodied this personality for her single, “Prisoner.” Serving as unnamed (yet still, iconic) rockstars, the visual sees Miley and Dua Lipa driving a tour bus and roughly spilling red cherry juice on each other before delivering a head-banging performance at a night club.
Visually, Miley tapped into her inner Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett for
“Midnight Sky.” While smizing in the camera, Miley twirls her mic cord and rhythmically coos about her newfound independence from her partner. “It’s been a long time since I felt this good on my own,” she opens the track, later spewing, “I was born to run, I don’t belong to anyone” in the chorus.
Self-love is a profound love, and Miley made that clear in her latest
“Flowers” video. This wide-shot video captures the singer in a lone setting; however, she’s feeling anything but lonely. Miley reflects on the end of a breakup, which many seem to think is about her divorce from ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. She then sends a hearty middle finger to that relationship by becoming her own confidante, and it’s so thrilling to see. She happily drinks in this newfound alone time, takes a dive in the pool, does a little yoga, and slips on her sharpest black suit for some carefree dancing.
When you begin a track with
“Hallelujah, I’m a freak, I’m a freak, Hallelujah,” you know you’re entering into iconic territory. Fresh from her 2019 SHE IS COMING project, “Mother’s Daughter” is a feverish nod to female and gender-nonconforming empowerment. Clad in a cherry red “Oops!...I Did It Again”-inspired latex suit, Miley delivers fiery confessionals about women’s rights and how no one can “f*ck with her freedom.” Her presence is unabashedly bold and fierce in this visual, so much so that you want to slip on your own latex ‘fit and scream the lyrics. Don't miss a thing
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