Noah Cyrus’ The End of Everything EP will be available on Friday via RECORDS/Columbia and to preview its release, the singer unveiled a new animated visualizer for the single “Young & Sad.” The clip opens with a message from her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus.
She tells Rolling Stone it was important “to start the song with a voicemail my dad had sent me a while ago during a dark period in my life reminding me to keep ‘smiling’ because at the time that he sent that, a smile seemed impossible for me to give,” she says. “I mean shit, I wasn’t even able to pick up the phone.”
The contemplative track’s visualizer opens with Cyrus’ father’s words of encouragement while the animated version of Noah is lying in bed with tears streaming down her cheeks. Over a reflective guitar melody, she sings about grappling with all-consuming sadness as she rides a horse by city skylines, rainy meadows and mystical landscapes.
“I feel like a lot of artists these days are riding a bit of a trend of being sad. Like that it’s ‘cool’ to be sad,” Cyrus says of the song’s lyrics, which she reworked to find a more positive outlook in the midst of feeling very low. “I was writing this song with two friends and originally the lyric was ‘I wanna be young & sad a little while longer,’ but something just wasn’t sitting right with me when I listened back. Like, I don’t want to be sad. It’s OK to struggle, but it’s not ‘cool’ to struggle. So I sat with it for a while and eventually rewrote it and flipped the lyrics to say ‘don’t want to be…’ once I figured out that that was what was really bothering me.”
The eight-song set features previously released singles “I Got So High That I Saw Jesus,” “Lonely” and “July” along with five new tracks, which includes her collaboration with Ant Clemons, “Wonder Years.” She also worked with Peter “PJ” Harding (“I Got So High That I Saw Jesus,” “July”) and Mike Sonnier (“July”). Cyrus details the EP’s songs track by track exclusively for Rolling Stone.
I’ve kept this record in the archives for a special project and that project is finally here. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really happy to see it come out with the EP. It’s such a brilliantly haunting song with an array of meanings. I can’t help but see my younger self so hollow and sad filled with hatred towards herself. I’ve dealt with depression since I was 11-years-old and always felt so uncertain with myself. I remember experiencing such, such sadness all the time. When I picture little me, I just see her needing a pair of arms around her; someone to let her know she’ll grow up and be OK, and that one day the mirror won’t be her enemy.
“I Got So High That I Saw Jesus”
This song started with a dream PJ had. He literally woke up singing the title of the song, and it took us three months to finish. We knew we had something special but that it could be taken in a lot of different ways, and even be somewhat controversial, mixing Jesus with drugs, so we didn’t want to rush the writing. Religion or spirituality can mean many different things to many different people. This song is not about or for one religion or belief system. Jesus basically represents a greater understanding and knowledge — that everything has its purpose and everything will work itself out the way it’s supposed to. It will be OK, so long as we are guided by compassion and community. Both are needed more than ever right now. I was born and raised Christian with strong beliefs, and still hold those values. I was also smoking weed one night and had this epiphany around the same time that PJ dreamed the chorus. I hope this song resonates with people, especially with all that is going on in the world right now.
This one is a really close and personal record for me. I think everyone can relate to these lyrics in one way or another. I worked on this song soon after getting off my tour in 2018 and I was in such a terrible place mentally. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t go to social things like my friends’ birthdays. I’d get there and feel like I needed to throw up from social anxiety. I was sitting with my therapist one day and he said to me, “You know what I think you are? You sound lonely.” And he was so right. People were seeing me, but they weren’t listening. My whole life peoples’ words have taken such a huge toll on my mental health … But it’s bittersweet because when this song comes on for me now, it reminds me of how far I’ve come with that struggle and to encourage others to speak up. Of course there are some bad days, but I’ve learned to speak up.
This song just makes me bleed internally. My heart aches when I hear it. It’s about the point of no return once the trust and the bond in a relationship have been broken. Even if it was just once. When I think of this song, I think of a specific someone who really liked me and treated me really kindly, but I took them for granted and I think about it pretty often.
I was thinking about a relationship I was in for a few years that ended on the Fourth of July. That’s kind of what had been on my mind the past couple of days and once we started the words just flowed. It’s probably the most revealing I’ve been with any of my songs. It’s a beautifully sad thing to see that so many people connect and relate to this song.
Ant’s my guy and so beyond talented. We were working together one night and he pulled up this melody he’d been working on that was an interpolation of “With A Little Help From My Friends” by the Beatles and I was like, “WOAH, shit.” I went in the booth and hummed some melodies of my own, and then we just worked on the lyrics, production, structure, etc. It’s funny because I don’t think we ever knew how this song would even come out. Like, who gets a Beatles record cleared? Us I guess…
“The End Of Everything”
The inspiration behind this song changed my life, honestly. It’s all inspired by a time-lapse video of the universe I saw by John Boswell, who also directed my video … For me, it really put into perspective how shortly lived our moments here as humans are … I realized I needed to appreciate the current moment more, and to let the ones I love know I love them with every ounce of my body … So, from the moment I saw the video and this day forward, I really think of everything and life as we know it so much more complex, but also so much simpler now that I know what is actually important to me. To sum it up: myself, my family, my friends, and time itself at the end of the day is meaningless and everything will die. It sounds depressing and it is depressing, but there’s some sort of comfort in the greater message, too. The message that what we have RIGHT NOW is what matters. Nothing else. It’s a deep message that needs five more hours for me to explain, but I hope I summed it up enough in the two or so minutes that the song plays.