[BEHIND THE LYRICS] ‘Plastic Hearts’

by Danita White

Welcome back to Behind the Lyrics.

This week, we’re looking at “Plastic Hearts”, the second track from Miley Cyrus’ same-titled seventh studio album which just dropped last month. Cyrus’ music has spanned a range of styles in the past from pop and country to hip hop, but on Plastic Hearts she really seems to embrace her rock ‘n’ roll side.

Let’s dive into some of the lyrics.

The sunny place for shady people
A crowded room where nobody goes
You can be whoever you wanna be here
And oh, I’ve been livin’ at the Chateau
Shouldn’t drive, but I should really go home
I don’t even know ’em, but they won’t leave here

The opening section of this song is an ode to California. It’s a state that is sunny year-round, but Cyrus’ focus is on the shady people and personalities who seem to thrive there. In answering a fan who asked her how she deals with shady people, Cyrus said, “I try to keep, like, an invisible shield of protection around me and my energy, and try to not take on other people’s emotions too much.”

People who are up to no good are all around us. That’s no secret. Even in our relatively “sunny” neighborhoods, churches, schools, jobs, etc., we probably have come across those individuals who appear to be thriving despite their shady character. Scripture warns us to not only be on guard against such people, but also to not be envious of them. Much like Cyrus tries to do, we need to protect ourselves against negative energy and emotions. If we don’t do so, it doesn’t take much for that negativity to start influencing who we are and how we act.

One of the best ways to protect ourselves is by praying as the Psalmist did, “God, get me out of here, away from this evil; protect me from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad; they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill. God, keep me out of the clutch of these wicked ones, protect me from these vicious people.” (Psalm 140:1-4)


Frightened by my own reflection
Desperate for a new connection
Pull you in, but don’t you get too close
Love you now, but not tomorrow
Wrong to steal, but not to borrow
Pull you in, but don’t you get too close

No one’s perfect. I live in constant awareness of the fact that I am my own worst enemy. There have been times when I’ve done things or said words or thought thoughts and later on I go, “What is wrong with me?” My own reflection used to frighten me, but not anymore. I made a new connection – the best connection – with God Himself. When I got connected to God, the perspective I had about myself changed. Now, I no longer see myself through my eyes. I see myself through the eyes of God.

“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at Him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God; He’s already a friend with you.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)

I’ve been California dreamin’
Plastic hearts are bleedin’
Keep me up all night (Keep me up)
Keep me up all night (All night)
Lost in black hole conversation
Sunrise suffocation
Keep me up all night (Keep me up)
Keep me up all night

Urban Dictionary defines California dreaming as a laid back fairytale-like mentality; it usually means that one is hoping for something that is not going to happen. It is a state of denial.

It’s so much easier to live in denial of the problems around us. It’s so much easier to engage in escapism instead of deal with reality. It’s easier to convince ourselves that a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend loves us instead of going through yet another breakup. It’s easier to stay around toxic friends instead of being alone. Easy, but not healthy.

In the post-chorus, Cyrus sings:

I just wanna feel (Feel)

And don’t we all. But living in denial, engaging in meaningless conversation with people who mean us no good, and numbing ourselves to the sometimes harsh reality of life is not the way to do it. Another artist, rapper NF, summed it up well in his song, “If You Want Love“.

If you want love, you gon’ have to go through the pain
If you want love, you gon’ have to learn how to change
If you want trust, you gon’ have to give some away

In order to get to a place of wholeness, where we feel and are free, we might have to hurt a little bit first. We will have to go through some pain. We will have to learn how to change. But the good news is that we don’t have to do it alone. If we trust and ask, God will be with us every step of our life journey.

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