Cyrus’ ‘Plastic Hearts’, Grammy’s, and More…

I have two separate topics today that I would like to discuss, since I have been busy finishing school and haven’t had time to do much writing or whatever. Firstly, I do have a fun deep dive review coming this next week so watch out for that. Secondly, I need everyone to give a moment of silence for Miley Cyrus — and not because she’s dying, but because she’s once again changing the game and proving her talent. Not only was it Thanksgiving yesterday, but we also received Miley’s new album ‘Plastic Hearts’ which I have been anticipating for quite some time. I’d argue ‘Midnight Sky’ is one of the top five best songs of 2020, so of course I expected the album it’s in to be just as spectacular. ‘Plastic Hearts’ features Cyrus exploring the (much needed) world of rock n’ roll mixed with pop and country, with artists such as Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks (I mean, c’mon that’s a stellar line-up). I would say Cyrus’ past records have been very hit or miss for me — ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ is such a trip in the best way possible, ‘Bangerz’ is definitely a staple from its time, ‘Younger Now’ is an oddly charming yet forgettable strip-down, and ‘Dead Petz’ is definitely something else (but again, oddly entrancing). Of course the Hannah Montana years are timeless. Regardless, Cyrus once again knows how to transform both her sound and her image to fit her creative ideas. ‘Plastic Hearts’ comes across as incredibly raw and vulnerable, while simultaneously unapologetic and dangerous. I find this sound much more palatable and authentic to Cyrus, to be honest. Production aside, lyrically she has always had a knack for impacting audiences, and she continues that trajectory here. I appreciate how different this record is from the rest of the 2020 line-up. My personal favorites are ‘Plastic Hearts’, ‘Night Crawling’, and ‘WTF Do I Know’, as well as ‘Midnight Sky’. Read this carefully — all of the tracks are great, but these four are quite possibly some of her best songs yet. I’m possibly still in the honeymoon phase, but so far this album is incredibly cohesive, narratively-sound, and bad-ass. Now, I mention this because I find it hilarious how this came out right after the absolute shit-show that is the Grammy Nominations for 2021.

Ok, let’s get it out of the way. The Grammy’s are a joke, and I mean I thought we all knew that but apparently they needed to remind us just one more time. There’s much to discuss, but first I’d like to talk about what the f*ck Justin Bieber is doing in so many of the leading categories. I know he went on some rant about how his album, ‘Changes’, was released and intended to be consumed as an R&B album and thus should have been nominated in the R&B categories, which okay… kudos to him, I guess. It’s clear he won’t take Pop Vocal Album or I think Song of the Year (because… neither ‘Intentions’ or ‘Yummy’ is good, let’s admit it). I will say — Bieber’s ‘Journals’ is fantastic, and I don’t think his craft is necessarily bad. This year has been packed with fantastic releases, and his in my opinion is below many, many others. So, to me the most impactful music represented this year was by Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe x Halle, and The Wee- oh, wait. I… need to preface this by saying I’m not shocked he got left out of the nominations. NOT because of him and his music, though. The Grammy’s have quite the reputation about leaving certain popular artists out of their line-up or leaving many deserving individuals empty-handed — I think of Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Diana Ross, Queen, I mean the list goes on. The Weeknd has been nominated before, but to me the most shocking thing is that ‘After Hours’ is clearly his best record to date, and everyone has remarked how impactful it has been in 2020. I think it’s outrageous, truly. There have been many significant male artists throughout time, and I think he is slowly achieving that status; so this “decision” or whatever to leave him completely in the dark comes across quite intentional and almost consequential? There’s reports that they gave him the ultimatum between the Super Bowl and the show, which if that has a shred of truth would be both shocking and realistic at the same time. This isn’t a hot take whatsoever, and I recommend you head over to Abel’s page or other artists’ and see everyone’s opinions because it’s quite telling how maddening this is. As far as the nominees go, I believe that ‘Future Nostalgia’ deserves AOTY, Pop Duo will go to ‘Rain on Me’, Record of the Year will go to ‘Don’t Start Now’, Megan deserves Best New Artist, ‘folklore’ will take Pop Vocal, Tame Impala should take Best Alternative, ‘Do It’ needs to take Best R&B Song, and so on. Not sure those are groundbreaking, but I fear this show may be even more upsetting as time goes on. Oh well. Let me know what you all think of this mess!

A post from The Weeknd’s instagram following the release of the Grammy nominations.

Business of Cinematic Arts student at USC. I talk about film, TV, music, entertainment. Follow for opinions and information. Letterboxd: @henrykorneffel.