Miley Cyrus has always asked for attention — now, she pays it all back to her audience.
Cyrus dropped her first-ever live album “ATTENTION” on April 1, most of which was recorded at her Los Angeles concert this February. Performing for the first time since the pandemic, her album is a gift to all the fans screaming for more of her powerful signature vocals.
The tracklist was based entirely on fans’ requests, featuring everything from covers of classic hits to the jewels of her discography, both new and nostalgic. She even sings a few from her days as Hannah Montana, thanking listeners for remaining loyal throughout all the transformations of her identity.
Cyrus promises the crowd that her evolution will always be authentic with a vulnerable rendition of “Never Be Me” off her latest studio album, “Plastic Hearts.” The ballad is her confession that no matter where it leads her career, she continues feeling compelled to explore new versions of herself.
Cyrus has faced many controversies throughout her life. With “The Climb,” she preaches that even the worst parts of her journey were essential to her success today. In this intimate performance, she inspires her audience to be grateful for every experience in the pursuit of their dreams.
Cyrus reminds people to appreciate life, rather than being hung up on the past or worrying too much about the future. The pandemic showed the world how much it took for granted, and the spectacle of live music was one Cyrus quickly realized she could hardly live without.
Celebrating her hometown’s return to normalcy, she ends the concert with American banger “Party in the USA.” She seems freer than ever before, handing the microphone over to a chorus of patriotic partiers for the best parts of the song.
While moments like these must be cathartic for those in-concert, outside listeners may be turned away by the lack of Cyrus’ voice. She relies on audience participation too often throughout the album, and that musical disconnect is often the downfall of live recordings.
When Cyrus actually does sing, she sounds great, smoothing her lyrics over every breath. She gradually warms up to the stage, consistently slowing her phrases until she feels comfortable in her body. Listeners never notice how nervous she is, because she takes so much care in calming herself.
She admits her stage fright in the one spoken track, “23,” saying “I'm just finding my feet up on this platform again, and I know that all of us are going through that same experience.” This is one of the most relatable sentiments shared by a celebrity in a while — the pandemic made something as natural to her as breathing become scary all over again, proving she was just as damaged as her fans.
Cyrus’ speech reveals the human behind the superstar, poking fun at how long she has managed to stay relevant. She points out the various merchandise she spots in the crowd, some of which is printed with the young face of her Disney years.
Cyrus’ life has been in the public eye since she was only a teenager, but on this album she finally accepts that the scrutiny knows no end. In fact, she begs for more of it, immediately introducing her latest self with the first song, “ATTENTION.”
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Its heavy metal drum set makes this brand new title track anthemic, but the repetition of the word “attention” becomes incessant. The material is some of Cyrus’ weakest, but it was clearly intended for the sole purpose of opening the concert.
Cyrus never wastes a beat, telling audiences exactly how she wants to be perceived now that the world’s spotlight has turned back on. The live album was released alongside a few videos of the concert, reminding everyone of her presence as a talented performer.
Fans will enjoy “ATTENTION” for its re-ornamentations of their favorite songs. The instruments electrify Cyrus’ voice, solidifying her as a musician that deserves to be heard live.
Cyrus’ new album signifies that outside all the drama, she was born for the stage. She needs it to keep doing what she loves, and will sing no matter who or what tries to shut her down.
Cyrus knew her fans were still listening – on this album, she returns that trust with her attention.