No one covers quite like Miley Cyrus. Case in point: her hyperactive, pop-rock version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"; her slow-burning, R&B-fused cover of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". And, of course, who could forget her stirring, smoky and raw rendition of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", which tallied up a whopping 275 million views on YouTube? Suffice to say, Cyrus' covers are legendary, and are a defining staple in her successful, decade-long career.
Naturally, the hype around MTV Unplugged Presents Miley Cyrus Backyard Sessions – which promised "some select covers", including Britney Spears' "Gimme More", as well as songs from Pearl Jam, The Cardigans and more – was pretty intense. And boy, did it deliver.
For her second time on MTV Unplugged (she also appeared in 2014), Miley and band 'The Social Distancers' took to the stage in her own backyard in Los Angeles for a half-hour set of original songs and covers.
A fan highlight, without a doubt, was the set's opener: the cover of Britney Spears' classic, "Gimme More". By slowing it down and adding her own distinct rasp and Southern twang, Miley breathed new life into 2007 hit, making it sound like a new tune entirely.
Nico's 1967 track "These Days" was next, followed by Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe" and the Cardigans' "Communication". Miley's younger sister, Noah Cyrus, also joined her on-stage for a rendition of "I Got So High That I Saw Jesus" before the set wrapped with a performance of her recent hit single "Midnight Sky". Set beneath sparkling disco balls, it was a very glam ending to an incredibly memorable show.
Catch her rendition of "Midnight Sky" on MTV Unplugged here:
MTV Unplugged Presents Miley Cyrus' Backyard Sessions Setlist
"Gimme More" (Britney Spears cover)
"These Days" (Nico cover)
"Sweet Jane" (Velvet Underground cover)
"Just Breathe" (Pearl Jam cover)
"Communication" (The Cardigans cover)
"I Got So High That I Saw Jesus" featuring Noah Cyrus (Noah Cyrus cover)
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.