Singer-songwriter Noah Cyrus surprised fans on Thursday evening (April 7) with a haunting new single, “I Burned LA Down,” and an accompanying music video. The song is the first single from her highly anticipated debut album, The Hardest Part, which will be released on July 15 (via RECORDS/Columbia). Using California’s dreaded wildfire season to describe a painful breakup, Cyrus’ artful lyricism and vocals shine on the new track.
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Cyrus revealed that her songwriting was driven by her own heartbreak, as well as the world’s reckoning with global warming.
“All this internal, emotional pain I was feeling was intertwined with the anxiety around this out-of-control fire and climate change in general,” she said. “The song took shape around the idea that the only way my ex could comprehend the scale of my emotions was if I became this agent of chaos and set the entire city on fire.”
The music video hones in on the imagery of wildfires’ beauty and ultimate destruction. As the flames take over buildings, they almost dance along to the music with Cyrus. She delivers a deeply emotional performance, standing powerless as the world burns around her, knowing that she started the fire herself.
I wish I hadn’t burned this city down
Cause you didn’t care, no you didn’t care
Yeah, I burned LA down and you left me there
Oh, you left me there
Many left encouraging comments on the video, expressing their excitement for Cyrus’ new musical era. One commenter wrote, “Your music makes me feel less alone and always helps me through struggles with my mental health – thank you for everything.”
Another added that Cyrus has truly come into her own since her 2020 EP, THE END OF EVERYTHING. “I am so glad she finally found her sound; her first few albums had hints of it… but now she embraces it and I LOVE IT,” they wrote.
Cyrus noted that connecting her lived experiences to larger, existential conflicts was her framework for creating The Hardest Part.
“That idea of your internal struggle manifesting itself in the real world and affecting your surroundings is a big theme of the record, and that song feels so much bigger than anything I’ve written before,” she said. “It’s the perfect introduction to the album.”
The 22-year-old singer has much more in store for fans with her new project. Along with her producer Mike Crossey, she organized the musical arrangements for every song on the album.
“Creating the arrangements was the most fulfilling part of this record,” Cyrus said. “Mike and I were so driven and fully engulfed in the music. It was seamless—our brains connected into one. I found a safe place to make music with people I love and trust. The process was really healing for me.”
The Hardest Part will be Cyrus’ most vulnerable project to date. Speaking on her personal connection to the record, Cyrus said, “For the first time, I’m revealing my complete and honest truth.”
And check out the “I Burned LA Down” music video below.
Photo courtesy of High Rise PR