Miley Cyrus‘s new music video for her ballad, “Used to Be Young” showcases an emotive performance as she sings about her personal struggles with the intense scrutiny of the media throughout her career.

The fourth track off her latest album, Endless Summer Vacation, focuses on her evolution from a teenage star on Disney Channel to an adult pop artist.

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The song’s lyrics contain poignant references to her controversial transition and 2013 Bangerz era. In 2011, after departing from her iconic role in Hannah Montana, Cyrus garnered criticism for her provocative image and music that contained explicit content. This notoriety led to her being labeled a partier and wild girl.

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In the new visual for “Used to Be Young,” Cyrus, 31, is seen singing directly to the camera, with tears streaming down her face, as she delivers emotionally raw lyrics. This vulnerability has resonated with her fans, who have taken to social media to express their thoughts. Some believed that people were “too harsh” when criticizing Cyrus at such a young age, as one tweeted, and others said that the “world owes her an apology,” as another devotee wrote on Instagram.

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On August 25th, Cyrus shared the video to her social media accounts, and tweeted: “This song is about honoring who we’ve been, loving who we are & celebrating who we will become. I feel proud when reflecting on my past and joyful when thinking about the future. I am grateful to my loyal fans who make my dreams a reality daily.” She added: “I am sincerely thankful for the stability of your steadfast support. This song is for you.”

In the chorus, Cyrus notably sings: “I know I used to be crazy / I know I used to be fun / You say I used to be wild / I say I used to be young.” She also chronicles how “me and who you say I was yesterday have gone our separate ways,” while looking back on who she was in the past and who she is now.

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While the song begins on a more heartrending note (both instrumentally and lyrically), there is a shift at the end, in which Cyrus looks back on this period of her life with nostalgia and positive regard. The heartfelt and honest nature of the song and its accompanying visuals serve as a testament to Cyrus’s resilience and growth as an artist.

Many fans took to Twitter soon after its release to share their comments and feelings about the track and coinciding visual. “The world owes an apology to Miley Cyrus. I am serious,” one fan wrote as another added: “miley cyrus never fails to give us quality music, used to be young is beautiful.”

Someone else chimed in: “I have enjoyed watching you grow into such a beautiful and wonderful human being. I have enjoyed seeing you be your true self!! I think this song can resonate with everyone! If it doesn’t, it definitely will eventually! Great job Miley!!”
Cyrus, who had previously distanced herself from her Disney Channel roots, is now embracing her past. In her music video, she pays homage to her days on the children’s TV network by wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt beneath a glimmering red dress. On August 18th, Cyrus uploaded a teaser video for her single and explained that its release date, August 25th, holds a personal and professional significance for her.

As fans will recall, on that day in 2013, she released her hit song “Wrecking Ball,” which many speculated was about her then-breakup with on-again, off-again ex Liam Hemsworth.

Cyrus also made headlines for her controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that same day, where she infamously twerked on Robin Thicke.

The lyrics of “Used to Be Young” reveal that Cyrus has changed since this era. She sings about leaving her fast-paced lifestyle behind and acknowledges that she’s no longer the person people thought she was.

In the chorus, she defends her past behavior, claiming that she was just having fun and being young. While Cyrus’s image and music have matured, she isn’t ashamed of her past self and asserts that she’s “had a good run.”