In 2018, there’s no shortage of political and social causes to get behind. For Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson, the pair went with gun violence in schools, materialism, football players taking a knee, sexual exploitation in the Catholic church, and more in their new video for “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart.” It may seem like a lot for a pop song, but if we wanted simplicity, we’d look to two other artists.
Ronson’s greatest trait as a producer is taking an artist’s truest sound and amplifying it. We heart it with the bluesy, jazz vibe of Amy Winehouse’s iconic Back To Black, the brilliant and haunting arrangement of Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” and the throwback pop vibe of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” Now with Cyrus, Ronson is helping to shine a light on the singer’s propensity for country-tinged new wave sound that she’s previously explored in “Wrecking Ball,” “Younger Now,” and “Adore You.”
Sharing a song title with The Pretenders, “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” has Cyrus singing about a couple destined for destruction. Possibly inspired by the literal destruction of her shared Malibu home with boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus sings, “These silver bullet cigarettes, this burning house / There’s nothing left, it’s smoking, but we both know it.”
The song is layered with pop, country, and orchestral sounds, creating an urgent and foreboding texture that leaves the listener on edge. The music video also takes a dark look at its surroundings, with Cyrus driving a car through ominous settings, including priests ogling dancers in a strip club, children firing shots at a gun range, and people battling one another in a frenzy during a Black Friday sale. The subject matter is timely and serious and manages to side step the common issue of coming off preachy and insincere, but the video falls just short of being a slam dunk, with the car crashing through walls and rolling through a strip club giving off a more comical vibe than intended. Plus, Cyrus can’t seem to help herself, flashing her bare bum in a scene that detracts from the serious tone of the song and video.
“Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” is part of Ronson’s upcoming album Sad Bangers, his first full length album since 2015’s Uptown Special, which included the monster hit “Uptown Funk” with Mars. Sad Bangers also includes guest features from Lykke Li, King Princess, and Yebba, with inspiration taken from Ronson’s recent divorce. Seems like a fitting title for someone going through a break-up. We may have to wait awhile for “Uptown Funk” 2.0, but if the rest of the album sounds like “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart,” we’re okay with that.