These days, it seems that you can’t have a discussion of Miley Cyrus without getting into her public persona – the twerking, the outfits, the drug references, Liam Hemsworth, and so on and so forth. If there’s any discussion of artistry, it’s from the perspective of performance art, of people wondering whether her antics are just a part of the brand she’s trying to sell. But the fact of the matter is that she’s mastered a degree of artistry beyond that, and the attention surrounding her persona only serves to add a layer of depth to any sincere performance she might give.
That’s precisely what happens on her cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Summertime Sadness.” Cyrus’s voice channels the characteristic sultriness of the original, but overlays a degree of sheer power and emotion that Del Rey often lacks. She adds layers of twang and folksiness that quickly allow her sometimes-forgotten Nashville side to resurface, and her backup singers pick up a sound reminiscent of ’50s pop toward the end, all of which show us that, real or not, celebrity antics will be secondary to talent as long as that talent remains. And that’s a good thing to be reminded of.
Miley Cyrus – Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey Cover)