Just 24 hours after Shakira released her new single with Bizarrap, full of explicit references to her breakup Gerard Piqué, Miley Cyrus surprised fans with the release of her latest single, Flowers. The song, a taste of her new album Endless Summer Vacation, has become a hymn to empowerment. In it, Cyrus exchanges bitterness for self-love, and the thirst for vengeance to an homage to herself.
The Tennessee singer sings about the arduous process of moving forward with nothing but the commitment to one’s own happiness. “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand / Talk to myself for hours / Say things you don’t understand / I can take myself dancing / And I can hold my own hand / Yeah, I can love me better than you can.”
Miley Cyrus has created an ode to finding happiness without a romantic partner. It is a defense of self-sufficiency on the path to fulfillment.
Flowers comes two years after she announced she was divorcing actor Liam Hemsworth. The couple were married for just a year, but they had been together for a decade. The song has clear references to their love story, the subject of much media commentary, long identified as passionate and problematic. They met when they were young and married on December 23, 2018 in Nashville with a small group of close friends. Miley Cyrus confessed that during their years together, she had problems with anxiety, depression and alcohol addiction. She has also said that Liam Hemsworth’s tendency to go out and return home high and drunk didn’t help the situation at home.
After only a year of marriage, Liam Hemsworth asked for a divorce. It came amid constant rumors of jealousy and speculation about his supposed excessive control over the singer’s lifestyle. In Flowers, Miley makes clear references to the relationship and the tragic episode when the couple’s home in Malibu was destroyed by the 2018 California wildfire. “We were right ‘til we weren’t / Built a home and watched it burn,” Cyrus sings in the song, which also makes references to Bruno Mars, the artist behind one of the couple’s wedding songs.
It’s been a heartbreaking few days. This is what’s left of my house. Love. Many people in Malibu and surrounding areas in California have lost their homes also and my heart goes out to everyone who was affected by these fires.— Liam Hemsworth (@LiamHemsworth) November 13, 2018
To help: https://t.co/YQCE1cLaej & @happyhippiefdn pic.twitter.com/vtLFytFmNw
But even though references to Liam are clear, the lyrics don’t focus on him. Instead, they center on how Miley has responded. The artist seems ready to turn the page.
The messages about empowerment in Flowers go beyond the lyrics. Cyrus also uses fashion to express that she feels complete. As a Twitter thread points out, in the music video, she begins the song dressed in a golden Saint Laurent creation from 1992, the year she was born. Then she takes a dip in a pool and exercises, dressed in black underwear, in a clear metaphor for working to feel stronger. And she ends the song in a masculine suit for a cathartic dance that has been compared with the Joker’s. A perfect ending for a story of recovery. The post-breakup song we needed.
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