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Music Video Analysis: Flowers by Miley Cyrus

Was it another scandalous presentation from Miley Cyrus or a meticulously thought-out art piece?


Miley Cyrus's latest single 'Flowers' was released on Jan. 12th, and like Jojo Siwa, it has been stuck in my head ever since. Watching the video for the first time, I caught many nuances in the lyrics and imagery.


I've always been a fan of brilliant wordplay, storytelling, and the use of pop culture references in music, and 'Flowers' delivers just that.


The first few lyrics reference the 2018 California wildfire that burned Cyrus's and then-husband Liam Hemsworth's home.



The song's chorus responds to other famous pop songs; 'When I Was Your Man' by Bruno Mars and 'Treat You Better' by Shawn Mendes.


'When I Was Your Man' chronicles the mistakes made during a failed relationship. Miley's chorus is a direct response to Bruno's mournful ballad.



Meanwhile, the prechorus and the final lyric tie into the chorus from Shawn Mendes's 'Treat You Better.'



To cement the idea that she can do things by herself, the 'Flowers' music video focuses solely on Miley. There are no background dancers or extras.


The video starts with Miley in a hooded dress and sunglasses, walking in an alley with tall, dark fences on either side. I'd argue this is symbolic of a funeral outfit mourning the failed relationship. Initially, it shows the heartbreak, but the cage-like fences suggest the relationship was not always happy.


Miley quickly "breaks free" from this cage, letting her hair out from under the hood while dancing on a spacious and beautiful hill.


By the second verse in the video, Miley is in black lingerie, jumping into a swimming pool and coming out the other side. This could be a visual metaphor for working through her grief for the relationship. This is cut with scenes of Miley lying on her side with sunglasses by the pool. Considering the verse's lyrics, I would say this is probably a smidge petty in a "look at what you're missing" kind of way.


The jump cut to Miley working out in the same lingerie is a physical representation of her emotional strength. She worked through her grief, and now she is powerful.


Water continues its job as symbolic grief during the shower scene. However, this time, Miley is not hiding behind wide shots and sunglasses. Now she lets the water or grief flow but is unaffected as she dances with joy.


With little to no emotion, Miley struts down her hallway in a power suit but lights up and dances wild and freely through her living room and backyard when the chorus kicks in. Night falls, and she is still dancing and laughing, the most emotion she shows throughout the video.


The music video promptly ends with her striking a power pose on the roof that overlooks the pool. Not only has she worked through her grief, but she has conquered it.



It can be easy to write off the song as lyrically simple, and technically it is, but that's only at face value. There is meaning and thought behind those words. The video's imagery and song's lyrics send a message of empowerment.


I'm sure some people saw the video and thought it was another chauvinistic example of Miley's naked body, and maybe it was, but maybe it wasn't. Her physical nakedness could symbolize her emotional vulnerability considering she is the most modest during the final dance scenes where she's most empowered. Even the cut out hooded gold dress ties in with the lyrics and could further show how the "golden" relationship was not always solid.


The 'Flowers' music video was not just Miley Cyrus showing off her body and stunting on us by working out in lingerie and still looking gorgeous. Every aspect of the lyrics and video had meaning and thought behind it. Considering this is only the first single from her upcoming album, Endless Summer Vacation, I'm excited to see what else she has in store.



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