Two years ago today, the 14-day countdown to Miley Cyrus’ musical comeback ended and “We Can’t Stop” reintroduced the child star as a party-loving, molly-popping, extremely talented 20-year-old that was about to become the world’s biggest star all over again.
The song was the first single from Miley’s fourth record but was felt like a new artist’s debut rather than a return. Its release followed a break from the public eye where her name only made headlines because of her hair and twerking in a onesie.
In the months leading up to “We Can’t Stop,” fans had no idea what to expect from the new music, only knowing that Pharrell Williams and Mike Will Made It were co-helming the project. Expectations were high but she delivered beyond them.
“We Can’t Stop” was amazing when it premiered and it still is – everything about it sounds as fresh today as it did on first listen. The production is absolutely timeless and Miley sang incredibly on the track, showcasing her previously muted vocal range. It truly is a great song and set the tone perfectly for “Bangerz” – not to mention that it gave us the iconic line…
Although, what fans (and the rest of the world) couldn’t predict was the accompanying visuals and antics that came along with the music. Miley set out to rewrite her own history and there was no way to prepare those who cried when her bun was cut off.
“We Can’t Stop” kickstarted what made 2013 the year of Miley Cyrus: the GIF-ready record-breaking video, the tongue, the onstage joint smoking, the Robin Thicke performance, the Halloween costumes (guilty!) the wrecking ball, the hip-baring leotards, the Terry Richardson photoshoots, the foam finger, the “twerking,” the constant nudity, the overexposure.
The world’s infatuation turned to saturation by the new year as her wild behavior diverted her original M.O. of releasing every song from “Bangerz” and she cut the explosive era short after the disappointing single choice of “Adore You.”
It wasn’t all bad, though: she put on an incredible show for thousands around the world with the Bangerz Tour, which was an assault on all senses and brought the outrageous era to life on a magnified scale.
Since then Miley’s time has been divided between partying, charity work, Instagram and the studio, and her fans find themselves in a similar position to just over two years ago before “We Can’t Stop.”
Her musical direction appears to be shifting as she records with rock and indie acts, like Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, but she’s also teased a very Bangerz-sounding track and been working with Mike Will again. I mean, all speculation comes from her Instagram account so that’s why we know barely nothing – she’s the one in control.
That’s the thing, even throughout the occasionally great, very messy and always entertaining “Bangerz” era there was one consistency: Miley was always the one pulling the strings.
Whatever Miley does musically, there is nothing to worry about. “Bangerz” is a testament to her musical talents as since its initial release – and beyond the promotion – it has lived on as an incredible collection of songs and the beginning of a legacy.
The music was never the issue with Miley, as we experienced on June 3rd 2013 when “We Can’t Stop” premiered, and considering that she’s already retired the twerking I hope that she can be a star without the gimmicks this time around.