Like her or loathe her, there’s no denying that Miley Cyrus is a huge part of modern pop culture. Since bursting onto the scene on “Hannah Montana,” she’s gotten married, gotten divorced, gone from Disney’s sweetheart to the tabloid’s plaything, and re-invented herself more times than we can count. When she’s not been doing that, she’s been proving herself as a remarkably talented artist who knows exactly how to craft a top pop tune and who never fails to do it. Maybe that’s a perk to being Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter. Here’s our take on the 10 best Miley Cyrus songs of all time.
Kicking off our list of the 10 best Miley Cyrus songs of all time is 23, a collaboration with Mike Will Made-It that also features some slick support from Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa. It’s as catchy as anything she’s ever done, with an infectious hook and a big beat. Her rapping skills might leave a lot to be desired, but you’ve got to give her kudos for stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something new. The song peaked at No. 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs component chart.
9. When I Look at You
Next up is When I Look at You, an early number from back when Miley was more concerned with dazzling us with her big voice than her stage antics. Taken from “The Last Song” (the film where Miley and Liam Hemsworth met for the first time), there’s nothing challenging or edgy about the song – as Marie Claire says, it’s simply a good, old-fashioned love song sung with heart. What more could you ask for?
8. Adore You
If anyone has cornered the market in break-up songs, it’s Miley Cyrus. Here, we get another one. Taken from the 2013 album Bangerz, Adore You is deeper and more mature than some of her earlier tearjerkers, with a sultry, easy-going charm and some hugely impressive vocals. It may have been one of the album’s most conservative moments, but that clearly didn’t put off her fans – released as its third and final single in December 2013, it peaked at number 21 on the Hot 100.
Malibu finds Miley at her sweetest. An epic love letter to Liam Hemsworth, there’s no edge, no grit, and if you didn’t get the feeling she meant every word (at the time, at least), it’d be too sugary for words. As it is, it’s hugely likable. The good girl image would soon be yesterday’s news, but it was nice while it lasted. Released in May 2017, the song became her ninth top-ten entry on the Billboard Hot 100, climbing to No. 10 in the US and No. 11 in the UK.
6. Slide Away
Slide Away may have come at a low point for Miley personally, but her break up with husband Liam Hemsworth did wonders for her music. A co-writing project between Miley, Alma, and producers Andrew Wyatt and Mike Will Made It, Slide Away tackles the deterioration of a relationship. Considering it was released on the same day as the news of her marriage breakup hit the headlines, it obviously drew comparisons with what was happening behind the scenes. Whether it was true to life or not, the somber, introspective quality of the lyrics represented a huge leap forward in her songwriting abilities.
5. We Can’t Stop
When Miley wants to party, she does. When the press was having a field day with her increasingly provocative image and ‘spiraling behavior,’ she took the negatives, turned them into a positive, and crafted the ultimate party anthem. The references to casual drug use may have left parents tutting, but you can’t fault the exuberance. Released on June 19, 2013, it hit 10.7 million views on YouTube within just 24 hours, broke the record for the fastest music video to attain a Vevo certification, and peaked at No. two on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. The Climb
Next up, it’s The Climb, an expertly crafted ballad from back in the days when Miley was young and cute and so Disney it hurt. Recorded for “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” it’d be a forgettable piece of tween pop puffery if it weren’t for the big lyrics and the even bigger vocals. it broke the Top Ten in Australia, Canada, Norway, and the United States, certifying triple platinum in the US within just 5 months of its release.
3. Wrecking Ball
Sure, the video might be regrettable, but at least it’s got the backing of a sensational song. Miley absolutely crushes the vocals, delivering lines like “I never meant to start a war / I just wanted you to let me in” with enough strength to floor an army. Add to that the heartbreakingly vulnerable lyrics and the soaring melody, and we’ll happily overlook the video to call it one of the most epic pop-culture moments of the 2010s.
2. Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
As theinterns.net writes, with Nothing Breaks Like A Heart, Miley put aside the gimmicks and stepped forward as an artist defined by her own talent. Nothing Breaks Like A Heart is Jolene for the 21st century, only this time around, it’s darker, more intense, and it’s got Mark Ronson doing something awesome with the production. There’s a bit of country, a smattering of disco, and some of the punchiest, most impassioned vocals Miley has ever delivered.
1. Party in the U.S.A.
Back in 2009, this was the song that everyone was listening to. It may have been held back from the No.1 spot by Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, but of the two, it’s Party in the U.S.A.’s huge hook and danceable beat that’s weathered the best. If you want to take a trip down nostalgia lane to your teens, this is the song to do it to.