Miley can buy herself flowers, Miley can go dancing alone, and Miley can love herself a lot better anyway. Miley can write her own name in the sand, Miley can have hours of conversation with herself, and Miley can hold her own hand. By the way, Miley can also sing pretty well, dance alone through some half-glass mansion, Miley can do almost everything – even land the latest and viral break-up hit.
“Flowers” is the name of the piece, it’s Miley Cyrus’ first number one hit in the German charts and has broken other records: “It’s official,” announced the Spotify streaming service on Twitter at the end of January. “The record was broken by Miley Cyrus personally.” Meaning: Cyrus broke the record she previously set herself a week later, with the same song: “Flowers” is therefore the most streamed song in one week the history of Spotify. He was the week before that too.
Musically, the song is quite catchy, reminiscent of Dua Lipa’s 2020 dance album “Future Nostalgia”: There is a dominant bass line, everything is upbeat, then a few jamiroquaiesque strings that accompany the song – and the hit is done. So what makes the song so successful? It’s not just about separation, about celebrating being alone, some say, but about revenge – many a medium has already proclaimed the comeback of revenge songs.
After all, superstar Shakira has just released a song that was extremely successful right away. And in which she rather unadornedly sings about the separation from her former partner, the footballer Piqué. Shakira sings that he swapped a Casio watch for a Rolex, probably meaning Piqué’s much younger new girlfriend, i.e. the new Billo watch on his ex’s arm. And he swapped a Ferrari for a Twingo – a fast super noble model against measly rust bump. (Piqué countered humorously, by the way: He promoted Casio and drove to training in a Twingo. And posted the obligatory revenge selfie of himself with a much younger girlfriend.)
But Cyrus’ lyrics aren’t that obvious. Superficially, “Flowers” is not just about her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, with whom she had an on-off relationship between 2009 and 2019 – celebrity style; they ended up being married for eight months. It’s about: Miley Cyrus, who can do everything alone (see above). The mantra of the independent, tough young woman who is also worth millions – it pulls. And is perhaps more credible than ever these days. And the self-love at the end (“I can love me better”) makes the song a self-love anthem to sing along to. For everyone who has been abandoned before – and everyone else too.
The burnt down mansion in Malibu – an allegory that only life can write
But of course it’s also about the separation, Cyrus sings, for example: “We were good / We were gold / Kind of dream that can’t be sold”, so that they were a good, yes golden couple, it was like a dream been, the sort of guy you can’t buy (or sell). In fact, Miley Cyrus had already sung about her breakup with Hemsworth in her 2019 single “Slide Away,” released not long after the breakup. A forgiving song with Cyrus singing about it’s time to move on, she needs to get back to the city lights. In addition, dreamy e-guitar, Miley’s voice, which developed more and more into rock at this time. At the MTV Video Music Awards she stood alone in front of an armada of strings, the picture was black and white, she was in a black dress, and at the end she sang: “It’s time to let go of you.” More closure isn’t possible, is it?
Oh yes, and how! A good three and a half years and a few successful hits later, nobody expected that Cyrus would have to nibble on any breakup at all, then came “Flowers”. Less forgiving, more personal: “We built a home and watched it burn down.” Indeed, Cyrus and Hemsworth’s Malibu mansion burned down during the 2018 Woolsey fire in California — an allegory that might just be life can write.