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The 50 Best Miley Cyrus Songs

She can’t stop, she won’t stop — from Hannah Montana to Bangerz to “Flowers”

The 50 Best Miley Cyrus Songs


Miley Cyrus has lived a hundred musical lives since she burst onto the scene at 13 years old as the titular star of Hannah Montana. Born into a country-music dynasty (her dad is, of course, Billy Ray Cyrus and her godmother is Dolly Parton), the budding teen idol fused her Southern upbringing with the Disney pop needed to make the fictional Montana successful. But it takes a true star to shine brighter than her alter ego, and Cyrus met the challenge with ease, transitioning quickly into a pop force in her own right.

Since 2007’s Meet Miley Cyrus, she has been in a constant state of musical evolution. Her journey has brought her to Eighties pop, metal pastiche, trap music, psychedelic art rock,and even back to country. But within all her eras, she can’t (and won’t) stop just being Miley.

Ahead of her eighth album, Endless Summer Vacation (out March 10), we compiled the top-50 Miley Cyrus songs. This includes material she recorded as fictional characters, as well as officially released covers she couldn’t help but make her own.

From Rolling Stone US



The punchy title track from 2008’s Breakout has New Wave cred — among its co-writers is Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock, and if you listen hard enough, you can hear strains of that band’s 1982 smash “Vacation” in this song’s cascading chords. Cyrus sells her frustration with being stuck in school, even though the travails she was weathering at the time as a 15-year-old, which included controversy over a risqué Vanity Fair photo shoot, were a bit more complex than navigating boring homework assignments and early-morning wake-ups. —M.J.      


‘Nothing Else Matters’ feat. Elton John, WATT, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, and Chad Smith

Cyrus, Yo-Yo Ma, Elton John, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith performing a Metallica power ballad was, well, unexpected. Yet they all sound pretty spectacular together. For Cyrus, interpreting James Hetfield’s ode to tour misery seems to have shaken something out of her already massive vocal range. On “Nothing Else Matters,” her subtle twang is undetectable. Whether or not that was a conscious decision on Cyrus’ part, letting her vocals scratch and soar made this cover a reckless thrill no one saw coming. —S.G.


‘Rock Star,’ Hannah Montana

Cyrus’ TV alter ego had a ton of catchy songs herself. Between the cheer claps and theatrical guitar riffs of Hannah Montana’s “Rock Star” is a pop-punk anthem about self-confidence that goes beyond her musical ambitions. “I’m unusual/Not so typical/Way too smart to be waiting around,” she sings, realizing she’s too good to waste her time needing anyone else’s approval. By the end of the track, she’s convinced herself: Hannah really is a rock star. —I.K.


‘Rooting for My Baby’

Like the rest of humanity, Cyrus loves Fleetwood Mac. One of her many fine covers is a reverent version of the Mac’s 1975 classic “Landslide.” On this deluxe-edition offering from Bangerz, she and co-writer Pharrell Williams try their hand at adding to the California soft-rock canon with this well-turned, light-touch ballad, a digital-pop-age iteration of vintage Maction. The fragile lovelorn hopefulness evokes Christine McVie, while Cyrus’ vocal performance exudes Stevie Nicksian grandeur. —J.D. 


‘Dooo It!’

Cyrus announced the release of her left-field collaboration with the Flaming Lips,  Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, while hosting the 2015 VMAs, where she closed the show by performing the project’s opening track, “Dooo It!,” with the Lips’ Wayne Coyne on hand. “Yeah, I smoke pot,” she brags before the music kicks in, and the stoner-trap ruckus that follows drives home that point. “We’re so much alike in believing art is supposed to be fun,” Coyne told Rolling Stone of working with Cyrus. ”She’s just a freak. I love her to death.” —J.D.



“High” showcases what Cyrus does best: let vulnerability push her gravelly vocals to delicate heights. The stripped-down song is a metaphor for the singer’s intoxicating and addictive approach to love and relationships. But it’s also literally a reference to the drinking and drug use she indulged in when she was “playing house” with Liam Hemsworth — a reality she revealed in her 2020 Rolling Stone cover story. —M.G.


‘Hoedown Throwdown’

“I”m gonna add a little hip-hop to this hoedown!” Cyrus announces to the crowd at the start of this pivotal scene in Hannah Montana: The Movie. She brings down the house with “Hoedown Throwdown” at the barn party, a benefit to save the local Crowley Meadows from getting turned into a mall. Cyrus mixes up a country line dance with some old-school rap, leading the crowd in a soul clap and giving the banjo player some, chanting, “Pop it, lock it, polka dot it!” The song turned into a Top 20 hit. That was quite some barn party — Taylor Swift also showed up to sing “Crazier.” —R.S.


‘SMS (Bangerz),’ feat. Britney Spears

“SMS (Bangerz)” is a bombastic club-ready anthem featuring two of pop music’s biggest stars. But the braggadocious hip-hop-meets-pop track is also enjoyably messy and weird, which might be why it wasn’t released as a single from Bangerz. However, punchy empowerment lines like “They ask me how I keep a man?/I keep a battery pack!” are the song’s saving grace. That, and Britney Spears, of course. —I.K.  


‘WTF Do I Know’

On 2008’s “Fly on the Wall,” Cyrus boasted about all of the sweet secrets the media wished they could get their hands on. There wasn’t nearly as much to criticize as there would be by the time she recorded “WTF Do I Know” for Plastic Hearts more than a decade later, but she’s still 10 steps ahead of them anyway. “I’m completely naked, but I’m makin’ it fashion/Maybe gettin’ married just to cause a distraction,” she teases. “Here to tell you somethin’ that you don’t know.” —L.P.


‘Younger Now’

2017’s Younger Now was meant to be a return to Miley’s country-pop roots. She was only 24 years old at the time, but successfully inhabited the nostalgic folk-rock mood of its title track. Cyrus meditates on her many shape-shifting eras with a mea culpa shrug (“Change is a thing you can count on”). But what really puts the song over is the singer’s powerhouse vocals as she reflects on her own growth. —I.K.


‘On a Roll,’ Ashley O

In 2019, Cyrus made a well-received turn in Black Mirror as the fictional Ashley O, a pop star with no creative or personal freedom whose personality is cloned into a popular doll. Of course, returning to her roots (playing a fictional pop diva with a secret) meant she released music as this new alter ego. This time, Ashley O’s songs were adaptations of Nine Inch Nails tracks, now with capitalistic, upbeat spins. “On a Roll” is an empowering inverse of NIN’s aggressive, anti-establishment hit “Head Like a Hole.” Cyrus has fun with this juxtaposition, which turned the track into a bit of a cult hit. It’s so fun even Trent Reznor enjoyed the poppy take, with NIN releasing “On a Roll”-themed merch after the song dropped. —B.S.


‘Start All Over’

“Start All Over,” and its accompanying music video, is Disney-pop rock at its finest. Cyrus’ edgy look in the clip — complete with a band tee, chunky highlights, and chipped black nail polish — changed many tween lives. It makes sense that the punk-tinged song was co-written by pop-punk pioneer Fefe Dobson, who lent backup vocals to the track as well. —M.G.


‘Gimme What I Want’

On “Gimme What I Want,” Cyrus channels Nine Inch Nail’s stone-cold “Closer” horniness, as well as Billy Idol, as she sings, “I just need a lover/So gimme what I want or I’ll give it to my-/Self-inflicted torture.” Backed by vocals from co-writer Majid Jordan, it’s a prime example of Cyrus giving fans exactly what they wanted with the criminally underrated glam rock of Plastic Hearts. —T.M.


‘Something About Space Dude’

“Something About Space Dude” is one of Miley’s loneliest songs, a highlight of Dead Petz, with the Flaming Lips. It’s full of acoustic guitar and her synth-filtered voice singing about the deep isolation of being in love with a “space dude” who’s beautiful but too distant. As she sings, “Something in the way you fuck me/You’re never fucking there,” it’s like Miley’s perfect version of a David Bowie song, right before Bowie’s final farewell. She’s always been a fan of the Starman — on her New Year’s Eve special, she teamed up with David Byrne of Talking Heads to do Bowie’s 1983 classic “Let’s Dance.” —R.S.


‘Before the Storm,’ Jonas Brothers feat. Miley Cyrus

This wrenching country-ballad duet between Cyrus and Nick Jonas played off the real-life dissolution of their Disney-era relationship, and even though that breakup was two years before this track’s release, it added extra emotionalism to both sides’ vocals. “At that point she was 16 and she was singing her ass off,” Nick Jonas told Apple Music in 2019. “So, it’s no surprise now that people are coming around to [her talent]. But I’m sitting around going, ‘Told you so.’” —M.J.


‘Can’t Be Tamed’

Cyrus turned to the stompy electro-pop that was all the rage in the early ‘10s for the title track from 2010’s Can’t Be Tamed, a broadside aimed at anyone who would try and pigeonhole her. The contrast between its spat-out verses and wailed chorus (which rhymes “tamed” with “blamed” and “shamed”) adds tension, while the insistent synths make “Can’t Be Tamed” feel like a dispatch from Cyrus’ even more unbridled future. —M.J.   



Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz was all about experimentation — an ode to 1970s psychedelia, hallucinogens, and just vibes. “Lighter” is perhaps one of the less heady tracks from the album — a downtempo love song dipped in shimmering sincerity and drug metaphors. “You wanna get higher/And when I need the fire, you’re always my lighter,” she sings lovingly. —I.K. 


‘When I Look at You’

“When I Look at You” is arguably the best thing to come out of Cyrus’ first non-Disney leading role, in the film The Last Song. While it wasn’t originally written for the movie, the 2010 track was featured in the movie’s trailer and soundtrack. With evocative piano and cinematic violins, it feels tailor-made for an adaptation of a heart-tugging Nicholas Sparks novel. Cyrus even said, “We ended up listening to it, and we’re like ‘Oh, my gosh, this could not go more perfectly.’” —M.G.


‘Heart of Glass’

Debbie Harry’s vocal on Blondie’s 1979 New Wave hit is cooler than cool, allowing her romantically disenchanted lyrics to come off as a sighed lament about love’s vagaries. Cyrus took the opposite tack when she performed it at the 2020 iHeart Music Festival, flinging herself into the song’s frustration with gusto and a hearty vibrato — and even though it resulted in the track having a more delightfully defiant feel, Blondie themselves approved. —M.J. 


‘Never Be Me’

On the Plastic Hearts deep cut “Never Be Me,” Cyrus rejects the notion that she or anyone else can ever be certain about who she will or will not be in the future. “If you’re looking for stable, that’ll never be me/If you’re looking for faithful, that’ll never be me,” she sings, her raspy voice soaring over an Eighties power-ballad track. She’s neither saint nor savior. Although she’s attempted to fill both roles, she’s failed every time. “Hard as I try,” she ad-libs quietly beneath her roaring vocals on the chorus. “I play with fire.” —L.P.


‘Mother’s Daughter’

“Mother’s Daughter” — the standout from 2019’s She Is Coming — served as a powerful ode to women’s liberation, with Cyrus declaring, “Don’t fuck with my freedom.” The track’s visual served as a feminist protest to the anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” passed in Georgia in 2019, and was dedicated to her mom Tish, who “always told me that I’d make it.” She Is Coming was made of tracks that would’ve gone on She Is Miley Cyrus, a project the singer scrapped to make Plastic Hearts. “Mother’s Daughter” lets us imagine how good that LP might’ve been — “Cattitude,” her sad attempt at camp with Ru Paul from She Is Coming, makes us glad it never happened. —T.M. 


“Fly on the Wall”

“‘Fly on the Wall’ was really about the media at that time,” Miley told Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos in 2020. “They were already starting to label me as ‘America’s Sweetheart Gone Wrong.’ I was thinking, “If you could only be a fly on the wall. It’s worse than you can imagine. Or better, I guess.” She sends up her public image in this hit, with a horror-movie video where she’s running from the paparazzi. “Don’t you wish that you could be a fly on the wall?” she chants over heavily distorted electro-glop. “A creepy little sneaky little fly on the wall?” —R.S.



Across Bangerz, Cyrus is relentlessly strong-willed. It’s her party, she can do what she wants. She’ll always want the love that crushed her heart. She adores him. But on the stormy, hard-hitting ballad “Drive,” she offers an intense image of what it looks like when your confidence falters. Cyrus sings about compromising her own desires to appease someone else’s. “I always knew I never wanted this,” she admits, her tone stinging with regret and disbelief. “You acted like you wanted this, but then you led me on.” It’s a lesson she won’t have to learn twice. —L.P.


‘He Could Be the One,’ Hannah Montana

Cyrus’ power on Hannah Montana was her ability to elevate what would technically be children’s music into formidable Top 40 cuts. This 2008 track was co-written by Kara DioGuardi and Mitch Allan and features a country-rock edge, perfectly showcasing the unique voice and style beneath Montana’s blond wig. It’s an outright pop jam that further blurred the lines between what makes a great Hannah Montana song and what works perfectly fine as a Cyrus single. “He Could Be the One” would become the highest-charting single from the Hannah Montana collection, peaking at Number 10. —B.S.


‘Angels Like You’

The Plastic Hearts cut “Angels Like You” is a somber stunner that features Miley at her most introspective. On the Eighties-style rock ballad, she is full of self-loathing as she recounts her own shortcomings, which have led to the downfall of her past relationships. “It’s not your fault I ruin everything/And it’s not your fault I can’t be what you need,” she sings with a twangy lilt. —I.K.


‘Adore You’

There are very few moments of restraint on Bangerz, but opener “Adore You” shines as the most important. The synth-and-piano ballad is an ode to the overwhelming feelings and moments of love and intimacy. It is as all-encompassing and satisfying as being in love can feel and as naked-feeling as “Wrecking Ball,” though it serves as the hit single’s polar opposite in both mood and sonic approach. While serenity is not always her preferred creative mode, it is certainly an underrated part of some true gems in her canon. —B.S.


‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,’ Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus

In 2018, British producer Mark Ronson helped create Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s award-magnet A Star Is Born duet “Shallow.” But Ronson stayed in that deep end a little longer for his 2019 solo track “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” — this time with Ronson on guitar and Cyrus as his modern-world girl, channeling the spirit of her real-life godmother Dolly Parton’s classic ballad “Jolene.” The supple anxiety of Dolly’s original pulses through the song. You hear it in Ronson’s ruminative fingerpicking and the varied pacing of the verses. Though Cyrus’ voice is fathoms lower than Parton’s, they both can flutter down several octaves on a single word. —S.G.



“Malibu” is without a doubt one of the most conventional pop songs of Miley Cyrus’ post-Bangerz era, but that doesn’t make it any less great. The breezy pop-radio hit is an unabashed love song teeming with jangly guitars that sees Cyrus basking in her mellow side and evoking the sun-kissed anthems of Sheryl Crow. Still, the weight of what it took to get to Cyrus’ version of contentment is underscored in the grittiness of her vocals as she mines her disbelief. As she said, “I never would’ve believed you if three years ago you told me I’d be here writing this song.” —I.K.


‘See You Again’

The song that introduced Miley Cyrus, untethered from her Hannah Montana persona, to the pop world is a spiky cut that Cyrus worked on with her frequent early-career collaborators Rock Mafia. If it were only the vehicle for her eventual catch-all phrase “She’s just being Miley,” this crushed-out jam would be worthy of inclusion on this list. But it’s also a fine launching point for her post-Disney career, and one of the stronger entrants in the late-aughts microgenre of growing-up pop; Cyrus’ serpentine voice curls around its verses’ chugging guitars, and its jump-and-shout-along chorus takes all the right lessons from the emo-pop boom that was cresting around that time. —M.J. 


‘7 Things’

Breakout was Cyrus’ first solo album not associated with the series Hannah Montana, and she came out swinging with “7 Things.” The guitar-driven power-pop track has the singer listing out all the things she hates (and then likes) about her ex. It’s as catchy as it is biting, perfectly addressing the Disney drama around the demise of her relationship with fellow teen idol Nick Jonas. It would become a huge hit, helping establish that Cyrus would do just fine without the help of her fictional alter ego. —B.S.


‘We Can’t Stop’

In another world, “We Can’t Stop” could have been a mess. Instead, it was an EDM/hip-hop-tinged party ballad with depth. The first single from Bangerz, “We Can’t Stop” paid homage to the hedonism of party culture: making out, MDMA, red cups, sweaty bodies. But layered beneath the wistful piano ballad’s excitement for the glory days of kegs and bathroom lines is the idea of how consuming and addictive the lifestyle can be; there’s tension between the redundancy of lyrics like “We can’t stop” and “We won’t stop” that allude to the tedium of the cycle Cyrus was currently living. It’s perhaps one of the most profound odes to drunken nights ever recorded. —I.K. 


‘The Climb’

As the standout single of the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, “The Climb” has lived on as one of the most poignant songs in Miley’s discography. At the time, the country-tinged power ballad was an introduction to her genre-spanning abilities. But it’s since had an enduring legacy as one of the pop star’s most beloved songs — an aspirational anthem with a Christian-lite message that highlights her rootsy vocals and striking falsetto. It’s impossible to hear her sing “Ain’t about how fast I get there/Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side/It’s the climb” and not get chills. If there were any doubts about her vocals before, they were immediately quelled by “The Climb.” —I.K.



On “Flowers,” co-written with Gregory Hein and Michael Pollack, Cyrus sings, “I can take myself dancing/And I can hold my own hand.” She inverts every clichéd line about buying flowers and holding hands in the rain, all while gliding to the beat Gloria Gaynor gave us on “I Will Survive,” and the Pet Shop Boys reimagined with “It’s a Sin.” Cyrus’ resilience cuts through time and space to complete a glorious trinity with those defiant jams. Autobiographical flourishes like “built a home and watched it burn” — a reference to the home she and her ex built and lost to the Woolsey fire — add surprising depth. —S.G.


‘Midnight Sky’

Cyrus channeled solo Stevie Nicks on “Midnight Sky,” the shiny lead single of her 2020 album, Plastic Hearts. Her foray into the the leather and glitz of L.A.’s more-debauched past was a brilliant fit, especially as she was embracing the fun and freedom of single life as a more-mature and empowered adult. Above the glamorous synths, Cyrus’ raspy belt is a rock lover’s dream, transforming her into a smokey siren as she gives the ultimate kiss off to a range of exes while reining the night. As an added bonus, she would remix the song with Nicks herself, making a mash-up single of “Midnight Sky” with “Edge of Seventeen,” with new vocals from Nicks. —B.S.


‘Slide Away’

Following the release of her domestic-bliss album Younger Now, Cyrus was prepping a light return to the hard-partying anthems of her early twenties. But life and her music took a sharp turn following the She Is Coming EP. In August 2019, she dropped a one-off track that addressed the end of a relationship that defined a decade of her life. The mood was as resigned and somber as one would expect to feel in a moment like that. On “Slide Away,” a grunge-y slice of late-Nineties alt-rock, Cyrus serves up brutally honest confessions: “I want my house in my hills/Don’t want the whiskey and pills/I don’t give up easily/But I don’t think I’m down,” she sings on the first pre-chorus. Referring back to the ocean-driven love story of “Malibu,” Cyrus lets her past love “go back to the ocean,” as she heads toward the city’s lights on her own. The track is as potent as it is unforgettable. —B.S.


‘Party in the U.S.A.’

Cyrus took a song originally written for British singer Jessie J and turned it into a calling-card anthem, and her first classic hit. She gets off the plane at LAX with nothing but her dream and her cardigan, but that’s OK because in Miley’s America there’s room at the party for everyone. She subversively celebrates Jay-Z and Britney Spears with equal love; she sings, raps, and gets down as the guitars rock out over a hip-hop-pop beat. The result was a utopian notion of an optimistically inclusive U.S.A. perfectly timed for the early days of the Obama era. The song has become more resonant as the years have passed by. When Joe Biden was elected president in 2020, huge joyous crowds sang “Party in the U.S.A.” — just like they’d sung “Don’t Stop Believin’” when Obama won in 2008 — sending the song back onto the charts more than a decade after it came out. —J.D.


‘Wrecking Ball’

The Bangerz era was meant to upend Cyrus’ career. It was bold, brash, and abrasive in its delivery, from the first tongue-out twerk. But beneath the surface was a big broken heart, mending itself together again. “Wrecking Ball” serves as the emotional core of Cyrus’ fourth album and a true turning point in her pop career post-Disney. Though the song was originally written for Beyoncé, Cyrus meets its vocal challenges with both flourish and theatricality. Above a wash of moving, neon synths, she belts out a power ballad about the end of a relationship she can’t quite shake, one that has left her demolished. Her natural twang gives the song a great country essence, like her godmother Dolly Parton’s original take on “I Will Always Love You.” In an era focused on shocking visuals, Cyrus made sure that big voice of hers was heard. And it was loud and clear. —B.S.