In 2020, Miley Cyrus has spent lockdown reinventing herself, unleashing new old-school rockstar personal on her recent performances on MTV Unplugged and the Save our Stages Festival on Youtube. She covered a whopping seven songs over both performances – five in Unplugged and two in the SOS performance, her choices signaling her current touchstones.
Amigo the Devil – Before He Cheats (Carrie Underwood cover)
When we last heard Amigo the Devil, he was stripping down a Tom Jones song to create a haunting murder ballad. Now he does the same to another highly polished pop song – but a much more recent one. “[The original is] this very confidence-boosting, really good-feeling, power-infusing song,” Amigo’s Danny Kiranos told Rolling Stone. “I was curious what it would sound like if you took away the positive nature of it and kept the lyrics, essentially the emotions they are portraying.”
Miley Cyrus’ latest image reinvention has taken the tough, spunky ’80s frontwoman (think Pat Benatar) and thrust it into the 21st Century. So it’s very appropriate that she’s covered several turn-of-the-’80s songs for recent TV appearances.
Miley Cyrus covered Billie Eilish’s “My Future” kicking off BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month starting this September. The Live Lounge is closed because of the pandemic. So Cyrus created a set full of tiny glowing candles and a backing band. The band all following social distancing precautions and covering their faces with masks. The overall spacious warm stage area and red-carpet recall images of old-time starlets in jazz lounges.
Cyrus’s captivating performance includes her belting out the lyrics from the start, while Eilish sounds like she is holding back something in the first verse. There is a grittiness to the way Cyrus sings. This turns the song from a slow cool, crisp, beautiful ballad, into something reminiscent of a lively pop-tune. The overall feeling is a faster and brighter song.
The original, as well as the cover, begin with only a piano accompaniment. Halfway through, drums, guitar, and the rest of the band jump in changing the direction of the song. The piano in the beginning of the cover is already bright sounding. It blends smoothly when the rest of the instrumental voices kick in, after a stark dramatic pause between the sections.
Overall, the performance is a lot of fun and Cyrus clearly got into the show. She finishes with a flourish after the last line “see you in a couple of years,” adding a spoken line “but probably not” and sticking her tongue out, making the last line a whole lot less ambiguous.
The Band Of Heathens ft. Margo Price – Joy (Lucinda Williams cover)
Promoting her new album That’s How Rumors Get Started, Margo Price has been on a great covers kick. She recently tackled a political country classic at the Grand Ole Opry, Bob Dylan on CBS, and John Lennon from her house. Now she’s teamed up with Band of Heathens to cover a Lucinda Williams classic. To quote Lucinda on Instagram, “Get to Slidell, girl!!”