On comeback single "Midnight Sky," released late Thursday, Miley Cyrus once again shows off a new sound while also giving fans an intimate glimpse of her life.
The disco-tinged song was inspired by Cyrus' at times tumultuous past year. Chiefly, the media attention surrounding her separation from actor husband Liam Hemsworth ("The Hunger Games" franchise), less than a year after they wed. The pop star's subsequent relationships with reality star Kaitlynn Carter and singer Cody Simpson were ravenously followed and picked apart on social media, but Cyrus takes back her narrative on "Midnight Sky."
"See my lips on her mouth, everybody's talkin' now, baby," Cyrus sings, appearing to reference Carter. "I was born to run, I don't belong to anyone, oh no / Don't need to be loved by you."
Cyrus looked to musical icons Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett and Debbie Harry as she created "Midnight Sky," which she co-wrote with Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), Andrew Watt and Louis Bell, according to a press release. It also marks the first time she has directed a music video on her own, after co-directing four videos with Diane Martel for songs including "Younger Now" and "Dooo It!"
The retro video features Cyrus singing in front of a wall of mirrors, rocking jewel-studded gloves and glittery makeup. At one point, she lies in a colorful ball pit almost naked, calling to mind her iconic "Wrecking Ball" video from 2013.
The same night her new track was released, she further addressed reports about her split with Simpson on Instagram Live, clips of which have been shared on social media.
— born 2 run (@oskihicar21) August 14, 2020
"A year ago, almost to this exact date, the media tried to tell my story for me and control my narrative, and I'm just not accepting that," Cyrus says, referring to her previous relationship with Hemsworth. "So today, it came out that me and my boyfriend have broken up, it was confirmed by a 'reliable source' even though no one is reliable in a relationship except the two individuals that are participating in it."
She said that while "two halves can't make a whole," she and Simpson are still friends and "just working on ourselves to become the people that we want to be."
Cyrus, 27, is no stranger to deeply personal music. Last fall's heartbreaking "Slide Away" was an unsubtle ballad about her breakup from Hemsworth, while more amorous tracks such as "Malibu" and "Adore You" seemingly described their off-and-on relationship. The singer has frequently played around with new sounds and styles as well, from her hip-hop-indebted "Bangerz" album in 2013, to her psychedelic 2015 effort "Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz."
With the exceptions of posts supporting Pride Month and Black Lives Matter, Cyrus has been mostly silent on social media this summer. But the star has seemingly been everywhere this past year. She hosted her "Bright Minded" quarantine talk show on Instagram, collaborated with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey on a song for the "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack, and most memorably, played Hannah Montana-like pop star Ashley O on "Black Mirror." She also released a six-song EP, "She is Coming," last summer.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Miley Cyrus 'Midnight Sky': Listen to her disco-tinged comeback song