It feels like we haven’t heard much from Miley Cyrus in the past few years (her last full-length album came out in 2017), but the pop superstar has been busy during the pandemic and has cooked up a few covers of classic songs, and they’re all really incredible.
There is no doubt that Cyrus has an incredible singing voice, but some of her past songs (like “We Can’t Stop”) don’t really let her showcase her range, while other songs (like “Wrecking Ball”) show all of her true power.
That’s why it was super exciting to notice that she was doing socially distanced performances of songs that aren’t her own.
Cyrus has never been shy about covering a song (she’s done “Jolene” by Dolly Parton and “Cherrybomb” by The Runaways before), but with a new look and in a pandemic, these covers seem even more special.
“Heart of Glass” by Blondie
Miley debuted this cover at this year’s audience-less iHeart Radio Music Festival, and by popular demand, she released it as a single. Nothing can beat the original version, sang lusciously by Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, but Cyrus takes the rock song and makes it even edgier by singing the lyrics with a growl and raw edge, where as Harry sounds lush and demure on the original version.
“Sweet Jane” by The Velvet Underground
This one just seems right up Cyrus' alley to cover -- and it’s shocking she hasn’t done it before. Her raspy vocals are perfect for this Velvet Underground classic. Ever since the “Heart of Glass” cover, Cyrus did an MTV Unplugged Session, and this is one of the songs she performed. Cyrus and her band don’t change much from the original, and sometimes, you don’t really need to.
Cyrus lets the music and lyrics speak for themselves, and the result is truly wonderful and very chill.
“Zombie” by The Cranberries
This song was just made for Cyrus to cover, right? It’s really a shame that Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan passed away in 2018, because the Cranberries were an incredible group, and O’Riordan had one of the most recognizable voices in ’90s alternative music.
Cyrus certainly does the band justice with her cover of “Zombie,” staying true to its sound, and honestly, she is rocking harder than the Cranberries might have back in the day. If she could just put out an entire Cranberries cover album, that would be really great, thanks.
“Gimme More" by Britney Spears
Now THIS is how you cover a song, ladies and gentlemen.
Cyrus took a popular song from Britney Spears and turned it into something completely cool, new and very unusual. Instead of a pounding beat and flashy synths, Cyrus turns up the twang with acoustic guitars and a slowed-down beat. It’s not a rock song, but she certainly turned it into one.
Cyrus grew up singing country music, so any time she can get back to her roots and sounds like she’s playing inside of a saloon, the result is going to be iconic. Oh, and how great is her outfit in the live performance, too?
“Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam
As you can see by this list, Cyrus has a deep catalogue of artists and songs that she takes influences from, and while Pearl Jam might sounds like a surprising choice for Cyrus to cover, this version of “Just Breathe” is seriously stunning, and it really showcases her voice is such a special way. She doesn’t have to do much to make this song her own, and she really gives Eddie Vedder a run for his money.
“my future” by Billie Eilish
Honestly, if I had not known that this song belonged to Billie Eilish, I would have thought it was a Cyrus original. She really takes this coming-of-age track by Eilish and makes it her own. Instead of Eilish’s breathy and subdued voice, Cyrus lets the vocals soar with her big voice and a faster tempo. The result is wonderful to listen to, and Cyrus should cover more of Eilish’s songs in the future.
Luckily for Cyrus fans, the singer announced a new album, “Plastic Heart,” will debut Nov. 27. The album will feature her covers of “Heart of Glass” and “Zombie,” as well as her single, “Midnight Sky.”