Watch: Miley Cyrus Debuts ‘River’ Music Video
Miley Cyrus premiered the new music video for her latest single, “River,” on March 10, 2023, coinciding with the release of her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation.
On March 7, 2023, Miley announced the release date for “River” and shared a teaser video. The black-and-white music video for “River” was directed by Jacob Bixenman, who also directed the music video for “Flowers,” the lead hit single from Endless Summer Vacation.
The 90’s-esque video showcases Miley in a black mini-dress, dancing under a the spotlight, on a raised platform stage, and in front of a backdrop. Later, she is joined by topless male dancers, where they are all collectively engulfed in a tsunami of falling rain.
The video was released with a 4:3 aspect ratio, aligning with traditional television and computer monitor standards of the 1990s. The closeup cinematography of Miley’s facial features are showcased throughout the video, reminding us of elements from legendary music videos of the 1990’s, such as “Vogue” by Madonna, “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain, “My All” by Mariah Carey, and “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael. Pair that black, thin-strapped, chest-covering mini-dress with the thin-heeled black heels, and we’re suddenly collecting Beanie Babies and craving Crystal Pepsi again.
Melodically, “River” reminds us of the Blackout album era for Britney Spears, where she took a lot of risks with technology to produce “Gimme More”, “Piece of Me”, and other great songs from the album. The synth-introduction to the song is giving us “Holiday” by Madonna. So many early computer soundbites are featured throughout the track, it’s like the producer just got Garageband installed on his Mac for the first time, and went to town. The song plays like it’s 2007, but the video lives in 1993.
The second verse takes us back to her roots, reminding us of earlier songs from her career, like “See You Again,” “7 Things,” or even “Fly on the Wall,” but throws you into the thralls of NSFW adult behavior, where the “showers” are either about ejaculation or squirting.
During an interview for the The Backyard Sessions special on Disney+, Miley talked about the meaning behind the song. “River — it was a time in my life where I was going through just a lot emotionally and personally… and I guess all my songs kind of evolve. They can start as something that was a trouble, like, it just feels like it’s an April shower; it never stops raining. And then it started raining down, like, love,” she said. “…sometimes we just need to dance floor banger, a.k.a they don’t want me to talk about how the fact the song is about *BEEP* (laughter in the background). It’s f***ing nasty; (laugh) it’s nasty.”
RIVER. FRIDAY. pic.twitter.com/jVRihkX8eH
— Miley Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) March 8, 2023
In that censored *BEEP*, you can imagine what Disney+ didn’t want to air, but fans have theorized she may have meant ejaculation, golden showers, or even her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. Make no mistake, “River” is a song that sounds like a typical Miley Cyrus song, but is infused with fantasies of an adult woman and pop cultural elements that are very “in” now.
Miley is totally having her “If U Seek Amy” moment in music history, and we are here for it.
So, let her reign! Let it rain.
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