We’ve all made mistakes. Miley Cyrus knows all about them.
If you’ve heard anything about Miley over the past 15 years, you know that she has made some life choices, both good and bad, that have been plastered across headlines for weeks on end.
Some may say that she made some of those bad decisions because she was troubled. Miley says it’s just because she was young.
And her new track “Used To Be Young” affirms the idea that because of her age, she has plenty of regrets and made plenty of mistakes. But she also has had lots of fun as she has grown and moved forward.
Miley seems to be talking directly to someone in this song that seems unhappy or discontent with the woman that Miley is today. She tells this person that they’re correct; she doesn’t dress or act the same as she used to (“The truth is bulletproof, there’s no foolin’ you/I don’t dress the same/Me and who you say I was yesterday/Have gone our separate ways”).
She tells this listener that she’s learned from her mistakes and realizes that “livin’ fast” and crazy drunken nights have their consequences (“Turns out open bars lead to broken hearts/And goin’ way too far”).
Instead of dwelling on her mistakes, she’s choosing to move forward (“Take onе, pour it out, it’s not worth cryin’ ’bout/The things you can’t erase/Like tattoos and regrets, words I never meant/And ones that got away”).
The issue here is that Miley isn’t necessarily saying “sorry” for her past actions. In fact, she’s not apologizing at all. She’s saying she’s learned from her past choices and is moving forward. What she’s learned and how she’s internalized that, we’re not sure.
And while some of the lyrics come off as remorseful, others don’t (“I know I used to be crazy/Messed up, but, God, was it fun/I know I used to be wild/That’s ’cause I used to be young”).
Still, Miley says that the reasoning for all of this is because she “used to be young.”
This is a tricky track. I know that I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, none of which I would want plastered across headlines and blasted on social media for the world to ridicule.
I assume we all have.
Miley Cyrus never really had a choice. Really, any child actor in the 21st Century is automatically set up for failure as they grow up, make mistakes and learn how to handle worldwide fame in their most formative years–all while the entire world is waiting for them to slip up.
I would never want that life. But Miley seems to be making, as she sings, “the most of it” in this new track.
She seems remorseful for some of the choices she’s made (and we hear this in the lyrics and see it on the screen as she cries while singing). She’s also, at the same time, not apologetic for any of them. And Miley adds that a lot of her wild times were just fun.
Perhaps the most problematic issue here is that Miley wants to place the weight of her choices in the lap of her younger self, using her age as an excuse for her wild, and even hurtful behavior. Again, there’s probably some truth in that. But most of us always have reasons for our own bad decisions, right? Our age, our mood, our state of mind. But no matter our excuses, we’re always responsible for the decisions we make. Real maturity consists of owning up to and apologizing for those decisions. And then, like Miley, we can move on.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).