When Miley Cyrus announced that she would be kicking off 2023 with the release of “Flowers,” a new single to precede her forthcoming album Endless Summer Vacation, the news was exciting on two levels: a new Cyrus single was coming, but perhaps more importantly, a new Cyrus lead single was coming.
After all, Cyrus has spent the majority of her recording career deploying lead singles as hints to upcoming shifts in her sound and style, with clear demarcations between album eras and the tweaks in public persona that the pop superstar adopts for each. From her Disney days — when songs like “See You Again” and “7 Things” pointed toward the commercial aspirations of the teen star — to the devil-may-care flare-ups of her Can’t Be Tamed and Bangerz periods, the first five years of Cyrus’ career featured sharp pivots in sound and attitude, often to denote how “adult” how projects at the time should be considered.
As Cyrus continued to evolve, full-length explorations of psychedelica, country-pop and retro-rock were given coming attractions befitting their sounds. Now, “Flowers” nods toward where Cyrus, currently one of popular music’s most fascinating shape-shifters, is headed next.
So which lead singles illustrate Cyrus’ pop power most effectively, especially now that there’s a new one to consider? All eight of Cyrus’ lead singles have their charms — truly, not a flat-out dud in the bunch — but some of her songs excel as both previews of their host albums and standalone gems in her catalog. And while it’s still early days for “Flowers,” we tried our best to consider its place among Cyrus’ lead singles to date, and humbly rank the new track among the seven that have stood tall for years. (One note before we begin: 2015’s Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz did not have an official radio single as an independent release, but it does have a song that’s considered its lead single, so that’s the one we ranked.)
Here are Miley Cyrus’ lead singles, ranked.