Miley Cyrus wasted no time in turning the news of her split from Liam Hemsworth into music. Cyrus' rep issued a statement earlier this week confirming the couple's split after just eight months of marriage, around the same time Cyrus was spotted kissing Kaitlynn Carter in Italy. Upon her return stateside, she posted an Instagram story of herself in the studio, and it would appear new single "Slide Away" is the result. The song is particularly heartbreaking because the lyrics bear a striking similarity to Cyrus' last iconic song about Hemsworth, "Malibu" — but the emotions couldn't be more opposite.
The 2017 single was a departure from Cyrus' more experimental hits and was instead a soft, thoughtful ode to her reunion with her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend. "I never came to the beach or stood by the ocean," it begins. "I never sat by the shore under the sun with my feet in the sand/ But you brought me here and I'm happy that you did/ 'Cause now I'm as free as birds catching the wind."
The chorus of "Slide Away," however, issues a retraction. "So won't you slide away," Cyrus sings. "Back to the ocean, I'll go back to the city lights."
Two years after settling into a beachside home with Hemsworth, Cyrus longs for her independence, and to return to the person she was on her own.
"I want my house in the hills/ Don't want the whiskey and pills," she says, referencing disdain for a toxic lifestyle. "I don’t give up easily/ But I don't think I'm down."
The song seems to give more insight into the couple's split, which it turns out wasn't as sudden as it seemed on the surface, nor their relationship as perfect as "Malibu" declared in its outro:
"We are just like the waves that flow back and forth/ Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning/ And you're there to save me/ And I wanna thank you with all of my heart/ It's a brand new start/ A dream come true in Malibu."
While "Malibu" credits the the time they spent growing with facilitating their reunion ("I never would've believed you if three years ago you told me/ I'd be here writing this song"), "Slide Away" is having second thoughts.
"Move on, we're not 17," Cyrus sings in the new single's wildly different finale verse. "I'm not who I used to be/You say that everything changed /You're right, we're grown now."
"Slide Away" finally gives us Cyrus' thoughts on the breakup straight from her mouth, and certainly makes the split much more understandable — though no less upsetting.
Listen to "Slide Away" below.