When chatting with Flaming Lips singer-songwriter Wayne Coyne in September about the band’s then-upcoming date at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in March, Coyne’s pal, Miley Cyrus, entered the conversation.
Cyrus, 28, veered in another direction after befriending the Flaming Lips in 2014. The provocative pop star and the Flaming Lips wrote and recorded as Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. An eponymous album filled with psychedelic rock surprised the mainstream, which had received a steady diet of Cyrus’ sheen-covered pop.
“There’s no one like Miley,” Coyne said. “She a great singer who surprised a lot of people with that album. She can do whatever she wants to do. She’s that talented.”
Since Cyrus can make such choices, was there a chance the megastar could pop in on the Flaming Lips tour and possibly appear at the Fox in March? Coyne loves working with Cyrus and will not close any creative doors.
It’s all moot, however, since the Lips tour, including its date at the Fox, was canceled last week. It’s not surprising since nobody knows when live shows will happen again.
Cyrus isn’t making her Spokane debut yet, but her latest album, “Plastic Hearts,” drops Friday. “Prisoner,” Cyrus’ duet with fellow pop star Dua Lipa, is one of the finest singles of 2020. The anthemic pop-rock song is full of hooks and attitude.
“Midnight Sky,” which is propelled by 1980s-styled synths, is a baroque throwback to the ’80s, which effectively samples Stevie Nicks’ 1981 smash “Edge of Seventeen.”
Cyrus also includes a slightly revamped bonus cut, which turns the clock back even further. Her cover of Blondie’s 1978 smash “Heart of Glass” is reverential with the exception of Cyrus’ fiery vocal.
The bouncy and catchy collection is a welcome diversion to the novel coronavirus and the array of mandates. Cyrus is the perfect pop star of this time since she’s clever, daring, amusing and sexy.
Cyrus has long distanced herself from her Disney vehicle “Hannah Montana,” which remains one of the most entertaining Disney sitcoms, so Cyrus can make stimulating videos and provocative creative choices. Give Cyrus credit for taking sonic chances and being so prolific.
“She’s fun, and she has so much energy,” Coyne said. “Part of her is very normal, but she was Hannah Montana. No matter what anyone says, Miley has an amazing voice. She has a great tone to her voice, and she can nail just about anything in one take.”
When Coyne was asked if he would make another album with Cyrus, he is uncertain if it will happen.
“She’s always looking for a new trip,” Coyne said.
But that’s part of Cyrus’ appeal, since she is constantly taking chances. Many of her peers play it safe, but Cyrus is curious, and it shows throughout “Plastic Hearts.”
The only drag is that Cyrus, who is good live, will not be performing in front of an audience anytime soon. Her shows are filled with glitz and endless eye candy, but what has always been most compelling about Cyrus live are the simple moments.
The highlight of her 2007 concert was a solo acoustic take on “I Miss You,” which was written for her late grandfather, Ron Cyrus, who was a Kentucky politician. Cyrus was all glammed out for her Dead Petz tour in 2015, but what was most memorable was when she took a breath, slowed it down and addressed her fans.
The actress and philanthropist, who has helped raise money and awareness for children’s charities and the homeless, is a welcome larger-than-life figure. There’s a dearth of charismatic stars who are thoughtful and eloquent. Cyrus checks all of those boxes and is a strong writer with a clarion call for a voice.
But nobody would expect anything else from the goddaughter of Dolly Parton, who obviously rubbed off on Cyrus.
Hats off to Cyrus for successfully graduating from child star to adult sensation. Cyrus, who has released seven albums, is still younger than 30. Who knows what the prolific star will do next?
“I’m always curious about what Miley will do,” Coyne said. “I’m always willing to bet that it will be something extraordinary.”
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