If the lady’s feelin’ just like the moon she loves, then Miley Cyrus is lighting her path beneath the “Midnight Sky” with the brightest, fullest moon possible. The 27-year-old Disney darling-turned-pop provocateur has returned with yet another bold reinvention, looking to the raw arena rock vocals and the pristinely glossy production of the era for her new single. Channeling Stevie Nicks at her solo Eighties peak, “Midnight Sky” is “Stand Back” 2.0: a Prince-esque come hither full of biting, bewitching heartbreak confidence that Nicks invented.
“Midnight Sky” follows “Slide Away,” Cyrus’ grunge-y and urgent post-mortem on a rocky long-term relationship. Her latest arrives after some time left to simmer in her newfound freedom: “See my lips on her mouth/Everybody’s talkin’ now baby,” she sings, tongue firmly in cheek as she references her much-covered romantic life of the last year. The song itself notably steers clear of any empower-power corniness: she’s not trying to reassure herself that she doesn’t belong to anyone, she is simply stating a fact for all to hear.
The Stevie Nicks influence runs deepest in Cyrus’ vocal delivery. Having covered Poison and fronted Temple of the Dog, she has always toyed with the natural rock ‘n’ roll essence of her raspy, bellowing range. Free of her often over-zealous desire to hop around cultures, genres and trends, she lets that very voice finally take the lead and shape the persona. And with a voice like that, the crystal visions are limitless.
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