Noah Cyrus is ready for a new chapter in her career. After several EPs and a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2021, she’s announced that her debut album, The Hardest Part, is coming on July 15, and she’s introducing the LP with one of her most emotionally charged songs yet.
The track, “I Burned LA Down,” is a crushing break-up ballad inspired by the end of a relationship and the lurking anxiety of California wildfires. “Living in California, you’re constantly living with this dread of wildfire season,” Cyrus said in a statement. “At the time, I was reeling from my breakup, and Caldor was dominating the news. All this internal, emotional pain I was feeling was intertwined with the anxiety around this out-of-control fire and climate change in general.”
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The song builds carefully, starting off with bucolic guitars and Cyrus’ warm vocals. Percussion elements are woven in slowly, all driving the song toward the gutting chorus, in which Cyrus sings, “I wish I hadn’t burned this city down, ’cause you didn’t care, no you didn’t care/I burned L.A. down and you left me there.” The video is full of gorgeous scenes that capture the intensity of the lyrics: Directed by experimental creative studio Actual Objects, they show Cyrus walking through fields lit with flames and riding in horseback as embers flicker by her.
Cyrus calls “I Burned LA Down” the “perfect introduction” to her album, which she worked on with producer Mike Crossey, who has collaborated with Arctic Monkeys and Wolf Alice. “I found a safe place to make music with people I love and trust. The process was really healing for me,” she said. “For the first time, I’m revealing my complete and honest truth.”
Last year, Cyrus released People Don’t Change, a collaborative EP with the Australian singer-songwriter songwriter PJ Harding. Before that, she shared The End of Everything, an EP from 2020 that included the single “I Got So High That I Saw Jesus” and “July,” which she eventually remixed with Leon Bridges. Her debut EP was Good Cry, was released in 2018.
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