Miley Cyrus is NOT making a 'comeback'
Updated: Jan 15
When we describe a ‘comeback’, what are we really acknowledging? For Robert Downey Jr, it marked a return to the spotlight following multiple arrests and a drug addiction, whilst Matthew McConaughey was described as having a ‘McConaissance’ simply because he branched out from romantic comedies (what?? the??? fuck??). Closer to home, Australian swimmer Grant Hackett’s ‘remarkable’ comeback featured some mediocre swimming performances following significant allegations of domestic and family violence. When Miley Cyrus announced the release of her eighth studio album ‘Plastic Hearts’, to be released November 27th , it was promptly labelled a comeback. Riding on the coattails of her two most recent studio albums, which both received overwhelmingly positive reception, it’s only fair to ask, what the fuck is Miley coming back from?
The ‘comeback’ of a female entertainer centres their defining characteristic as that of a slain reputation, emphasising that in order to be worthy of our time and attention they must claw their way back to the spotlight. They must re-invent themselves again and again until we deem them sparkly and clean enough to take up space once more. Having suffered at the hands of rampant slut shaming and receiving more than her fair share of blame following the announcement of her separation and subsequent divorce from husband Liam Hemsworth (and the additional two very public relationship breakdowns with Kaitlynn Carter and Cody Simpson) it’s fair to say that Miley’s success has been measured against two factors exclusively for almost a decade: her relationships and her nudity.
The release of Miley Cyrus’s 4th studio album, ‘Bangerz’ in October of 2013 was arguably the turning point of her career. Following a provocative performance at the VMA’s in which the inventor of the foam finger described her use of the icon as being ‘degrading’, Miley made a lot of people (read: Karen’s) very upset. To say that this moment, however, was the defining moment in her transition from tween star to sex symbol would be reductive to Miley’s carefully plotted timeline of transformation. A 2013 Rolling Stone interview with Cyrus emphasised that she had been sowing the seeds of this development for half a decade, ‘She was 15 when she weathered her first scandal, posing for Vanity Fair wearing a sheet that made her look topless.... A year later came a pole-dancing stunt at the Teen Choice Awards and at age 17, TMZ posted a video of her taking a rip from a bong.’
"The whole show's premise was that when I had my normal hair and looked like myself, no one gave a shit about me. And then when I got all dolled up and put a wig on, all of a sudden, you know, I'm being chased by people chasing mytour bus...that's a lot to put on a kid. To go, 'When you're yourself, no one gives a fuck.' But then when they go and kind of groom you to look like something else, something that you're not."
- Miley Cyrus on The Howard Stern Show
Miley was recently diagnosed with Reinke’s edema, a condition which is characterised by a sac-like appearance of the vocal folds due to excess fluid, causing distension. Undergoing surgery for the condition in late 2019, Miley discussed the impacts of the surgery on the Joe Rogan Experience, describing the procedure as the catalyst for her sobriety and a way to hone in on her instrument, following weeks of vocal rest. If anything, this vocal operation is at the crux of any claims of a comeback, however, media coverage has virtually ignored this pivotal moment for Cyrus as a musician in favour of heightening tensions regarding her potential relationships.
She is undoubtedly one of the most versatile artists of our generation, with a number of genres under her belt and no signs of slowing down. Her releases and performances over the past decade have been both versatile and consistent, which further adds to her immeasurable talent. Now with the #1 rock album in the U.S, which features the highest calibre of rock artists including Stevie Nicks and Billy Idol, it becomes painfully clear that Miley Cyrus is not making a comeback, she's finally claiming what was always rightfully hers.