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Miley Cyrus trailblazes on the iTunes charts

January 14, 2022
Illustration by Maddie Monroe.
Illustration by Maddie Monroe.

Miley Cyrus made history in the music industry this week by becoming the first female musician to ever receive number one ratings on every single track of her album, "Plastic Hearts," on the iTunes charts.

With major hits from her rock-inspired album like "Plastic Hearts" and "Angels Like You," Miley Cyrus has continued to be the face of the industry and mainstream pop music, biomedical laboratory science freshman Sydney Cramer said.

"She has this really nostalgic sound while still being present and still being the type of music people want to listen to," criminal justice senior Saanya Advani said.

Starting out as the blonde-haired child star, Cyrus has changed her sound from teen pop to raspy-voiced rock. Cyrus growing with her audience has led to her continued success, Advani said.

“We grew up with her,” journalism junior Norene Bassin said. “We watched her start on Disney. We watched her go through her trying to break out of the Disney phase. We watched her find herself.”

Bassin, who was so inspired by the artist that they named their dog Miley, said the pop star is able to hold onto her relevancy in the ever-changing industry by knowing how to follow trends from her early 2010s pop and rap style to her new rock revival showcased on Plastic Hearts.

"It’s not like anything she has done before,” Bassin said. “I see it as kind of a statement in a way. She’s making her statement that this is her music. This is her life. This is how she wants to do her art.”

With the success of her classic rock covers like "Heart of Glass," her fans asked for more rock music from the star, and she answered with "Plastic Hearts." Her fans were enthralled by the sound and sent every single song to the top of the charts.

"She has the perfect voice for that type of rock music," Advani said.

However, with many female artists rising to stardom over the years such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Taylor Swift, music fans wonder how Miley was the first one to break this record.

More heinous allegations suggest nepotism and the simple acclaim of being a Cyrus being the answer, Cramer said.

"She just has family in the business … Isn’t Dolly Parton her godmother? That helps a ton with a drop of nepotism,” Bassin said.

However, Advani said this is simply due to her music appealing to more audiences, being able to change her music fast and the change being welcomed by the music community.

While passing the success of other artists, Cyrus also pays homage to those who created the sound that she has honed as her own now. Singer Billy Idol is one of the many features on "Plastic Hearts," only encouraging a broader audience such as fans of older rock to listen to the tracks while also recognizing those who came before her in the industry.

While her album was centered on finding herself and her own style, Cyrus found much more than that: A platform to prove that women are just as relevant on the charts in today's age.

“It's super big, especially as a woman,” Cramer said. “It shows girl power.”

While this is a large step, it has uncovered yet another layer of the glass ceiling that still needs to be broken down in influential media companies, Advani said.

"It's sad, but it's also the reality,” Advani said. “It's a welcome change that there are more women in the industry that are absolutely killing it. We need more.”

Breaking away from her Hannah Montana persona, Cyrus has now created a space for herself as a role model to the next female superstars.

"She’s inspiring the next wave of female pop stars by being like, even if you start out all commercialized and Disney-fied, you can break that image. You can come into your own at your own time," Bassin said.

The "Plastic Hearts" album has gained so much success because it paints the story of a girl who learned to express herself through her art without restrictions from male artists to the industry normalcies.

"She’s completely herself," Advani said. "She doesn’t try to change for anyone and she does what she loves and I think that's really inspiring for young girls to see that you can say what you want, do what you want. You don’t have to conform to anyone's ideals or back down just because you’re a woman."

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