In regards to coming-of-age anthems, few have truly stood the test of time quite like Miley Cyrus’ “Can’t Be Tamed”.
A 17-year-old Cyrus dropped the track back in 2010, as the lead single from her third studio album of the same name. (This would be her final album with former label Hollywood Records, who’d been responsible for her Hannah Montana discography.)
When considering her musical timeline up to that point, it’s no secret that she’d already achieved mammoth success with bops like “Party in the USA” and “When I Look At You”. It’s also no secret that both of these tracks conformed to a certain tween innocence, indicative of her Disney stardom.
With this in mind, “Can’t Be Tamed”, described by Rolling Stone as a “grown-up club sound”, was Cyrus’ first major attempt at departing from this innocence.
In hindsight, the single seems to have foreshadowed the arrival of 2013’s Bangerz, her following album which undoubtedly signalled an arrival into adulthood, with full control of both her identity and musical direction.
Cyrus spoke with Jimmy Fallon about “Can’t Be Tamed” earlier this year, stating that it was still “one of [her] favorite songs.”
“‘Can’t Be Tamed’ is like ‘I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go’, you know, and I think that I still really relate to songs like that,” she said. “It’s that I want to be a part of something that I don’t know and if you try to hold me back I’m bound to explode, by now you should know that I can’t be tamed.”
“I was already telling y’all that something was about to happen, that I wasn’t Hannah Montana.”
Although it peaked at number 14 on the ARIA charts and number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively, the song’s success arguably lies in its longevity – 10 years on, it’s still being revisited by fans, and still holds up as an undeniably catchy tune.
There’s just something so timeless about the song’s message – a desire to break away from the norm, gain independence and take risks are themes that remain pertinent to anyone, and at any stage of one’s life, really.
If Bangerz marked a new chapter of unapologetic independence, “Can’t Be Tamed” was a valiant first-attempt at getting there.
In fact, the more I think about it, “Can’t Be Tamed” walked so Bangerz could run.
It’s all the more impressive when you consider that, once again, she was just 17.
Let’s lovingly revisit the track to experience a wave of endorphin-inducing nostalgia.