Currently working on a Metallica covers album, the singer has shared banging takes on Billie Eilish, Blondie, and the Velvet Underground in the last few months alone
If theres one silver lining to lockdown, its that many of our fave musicians have been churning out new music and inventive performances while theyre stuck in quarantine with nothing better to do. Maybe its the casual nature of sharing songs in an Instagram livestream, or a deeper need to take comfort in the familiar, but cover songs seem to have flourished in particular over the last few months.
To name just a few, Christine and the Queens has shared some stellar versions of other artists tracks from her studio (see: her cover of Travis Scotts Highest in the Room), while Hayley Williams has shared an acoustic version of Bjrks Unison, and James Blake has covered Joni Mitchell, Frank Ocean, Radiohead, and more.
But its Miley Cyrus who truly deserves the pop queen of lockdown crown, to sit atop that iconic mullet. Over the past few months, shes performed songs by musicians from Billie Eilish to Blondie, and the Cranberries to Hall & Oates. As she recently told Rick Owens in Interview, theres also a whole Metallica cover album on the way. Of course, this is nothing new for Cyrus, either. Covers spanning various genres have been a notable part of her catalogue for years, especially since her Backyard Sessions series kicked off in 2012, and her Live Loungeappearances have made waves on more than one occasion.
Given that theseBackyard Sessions have been revived in 2020 seeing her play alongside a fittingly-named backing band, The Social Distancers and some new bangers from the Whiskey a Go Go fundraiser, now seems like a good time to look back at the best covers Miley has performed over the years.
The Jolene is an iconic cover from the 2012 iteration of Backyard Sessions, regularly revisited by the singer at live shows (remember those?). This set followed a year that saw Cyrus lean more into unruly, dance-oriented tunes with her Cant Be Tamed era and slightly more controversial (though well get to more of those later) live performances. So Miley stripped it back and got closer to her roots once more, to a rapturous audience bonus points for the fact that Dolly Parton is Mileys godmother, which surely elevates the songs status in the covers hall of fame.
Performed as part of a fundraiser for grassroots venues affected by the pandemic, Cyruss uninhibited Zombie cover earned her praise from the Cranberries themselves, who called it: one of the finest covers of the song that weve heard. The late Dolores O'Riordan, frontwoman of the band, was known for her stunning tone and the biting grit of her delivery, and Cyrus brings her own raspy flair.
Cyrus earned a shoutout from Blondie for her cover of the groups Heart Of Glass, with Debbie Harry telling NME: Im really proud of the fact she did our song and made it uniquely hers (which involved belting out Harrys comparatively restrained vocals). Many covers of the iconic song tend to slow it down and go for the more emotional depth, but Miley brings a raw, full-bodied rendition that drips with the attitude of 80s New York when new wave blossomed.
In another offering from this years Backyard Sessions, Cyrus covers Britney Spears Gimme More with an unexpected (but not unappreciated) country slant, because why not? Its Miley, bitch.
Cyruss Sweet Jane is a downtempo take on the Velvet Underground song, via Cowboy Junkiess Lou Reed-approved cover from 1988. Though its decidedly less raucous than the original, Cyrus once again manages to find room for some big vocal moments.
Aesthetically, the set for Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grandes 2015 rendition of Dont Dream Its Over is a kind of cross between a campfire singalong and a cosy sleepover, with the two singers perched on an inflatable sofa in (you guessed it) Cyruss backyard. When theyre not chatting about their onesies in the instrumental break, theyre trading lines from the Crowded House track, which they would later revive at Grandes One Love Manchester concert. Grandes honey tones meld perfectly with Cyruss gravelly voice.
Stepping into the BBC Live Lounge all the way back in 2013, Miley Cyrus accompanied her Bangerz hit Wrecking Ball with a more pared back, intimate track in the form of Lana Del Reys Summertime Sadness. Its in live performances like this that her pitch and control really shine. AKA, a truly iconic meeting of minds.
Returning to the Live Lounge in September this year, Cyrus transformed Billie Eilishs sparse, introspective my future into a jazz-infused rock ballad. Topping it off, she sings Eilishs lyrics Im in love, but not with anybody else / See you in a couple years before sticking her tongue out and saying but probably not, proving that no matter how versatile she can be, theres always a healthy dose of Miley Cyrus attitude to be found in the tunes she takes on.
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero