Life is hard; it’s that simple. And sometimes you’re just going to need some sad songs to validate your pain and allow you to feel what you do. Luckily, Noah Cyrus has blessed us with exactly that – her debut album, “The Hardest Part,” released Sept. 16, 2022.
The tracks reveal that the 22-year-old has recently endured a lot: heartbreak, substance abuse, loss and hopelessness. It’s almost as if this album is Cyrus’ personal diary that she has published for the world.
One of the most valuable qualities in an artist is relatability. We need words that resonate with our own experiences and to feel understood. But it is just as important to grasp an understanding of the musician we are opening ourselves up to. This beautiful connection is built through authenticity, which is sustained throughout all 10 songs in Cyrus’ new album.
With vulnerability embedded in every lyric partnered with authentic Nashville instrumentation, this record radiates Cyrus.
The first single Cyrus released back in April of this year, “I Burned LA Down,” introduces us to the heartbreak she suffered.
“Ooh, embers in the dark / Can look just like shooting stars / To a bitter, broken heart / Oh, I wish I hadn’t burned this city down / ‘Cause you didn’t care / No, you didn’t care / Yeah, I burned LA down, and you left me there / Oh, you left me there,” Cyrus sings.
The metaphorical flames Cyrus ignites represent how betrayal can lead to destructive desires.
More of this relationship dynamic unravels in the next single, “Mr. Percocet,” where Cyrus sings about how substance abuse can pose as an extreme complication when it comes to love.
“I barely recognize you when you wake up in the morning / Must be someone else’s eyes that I look into every night / You’re only kind when you’re all f***ed up / You’re only mine till your high is gone / But I wish you’d still love me when your drugs wear off in the morning,” Cyrus sings.
I love the lyrics in this song because they also parallel how love is an addiction in itself, how even when your lover feels like a stranger, you only crave their approval even more.
Lyrics aside, Cyrus makes deliberate musical choices that just make sense. If you’re similar to me and appreciate a song with satisfying harmonies, “The Hardest Part” has you covered, especially with songs “Unfinished” and “I Just Want a Lover.”
She also utilizes her tone to accentuate her message, like her fragile delivery of “My Side of the Bed,” representing her insecurity.
“You shifted your weight in the seat / I thought you were leaving me / But I’m just too fragile to speak / There’s something broken in me,” Cyrus whispers.
Cyrus’ vulnerability in this song gave me chills.
“We all want the same thing / To love and be loved / It’s a hard pill to swallow / That you’re not enough / So I put on my coat / The world’s cold, and it’s rough / And if you’re gonna make it / You gotta be tough / But I’m not,” she sings.
During this period of weakness, Cyrus, fortunately, was able to rely on none other than the “father of the century” Billy Ray Cyrus. We all know and love him for the wise words he shared in the hit sitcom “Hannah Montana,” and now he enlightens us with more in Noah’s opening track, “Noah (Stand Still).”
“Just stand still and watch the sunset bleed / With only dirt under your feet to feel, just stand still / 67,000 miles an hour around the sun / And that is how it feels, just stand still,” Noah sings.
This song stopped me in my tracks and reminded me to breathe.
Cyrus grounds herself by relying on loved ones, something we all should do more. She reminds us progress is cyclical and during hard times it is crucial to “just stand still.”