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Released: 2020

Features: Dua Lipa

In the hyperglam pop banger “Prisoner” by Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa, we’re diving headfirst into the inferno of an obsessive love affair, so magnetic and consuming that it feels like hard time behind emotional bars. Cyrus and Lipa aren’t just singing the blues over some fling; they’re chained to the rhythm of a runaway love train that’s got ’em locked up tight.

The track kicks off with a relentless confession: Cyrus is gripped by an unshakeable obsession, and it seems no matter how hard she shimmies and shakes, the thought of her lover is a permanent fixture in her mind’s eye. The image of “your face on my ceiling” is vivid—like a lover’s face haunting in the stillest hours of night, becoming almost a shrine at which one worships, wanna or not. “Strung out on a feeling, my hands are tied” slaps us with the gritty truth of love’s addictive quality, equal parts euphoria and agony, enough to make you feel high and helpless all at once.

Then comes the chorus, hammering home that feeling of captivity with the repetition of “Prisoner, prisoner.” The backbeat pulsates like a heartbeat racing, the throbbing tempo capturing that simmering frustration at not being able to kick a habit—especially when that habit is someone you crave. And oh, that line, “Lord knows I tried a million times,” spills the tea on the torture of trying to walk away from a love that’s bad for you but feels so good.

Let’s get into the metaphorical meat of the track: “I’ll never escape it, I need the high” speaks to that desperate thirst we’ve all felt at the tender mercies of a passion that just won’t quit. Cyrus and Lipa aren’t just hooked—they’re handcuffed by desire, acknowledging the fierce grip it has with a kind of reckless abandon that blends pleasure and pain, love and obsession.

Flipping the script, there’s a plea for liberation in the form of “Why can’t you, why can’t you just let me go?” It’s a rhetorical wonderment, not expecting an answer, but thrown out into the universe like a message in a bottle from two sirens stuck on an emotional deserted island. The repetition in the bridge, that desperate cry for understanding, “I wanna know why can’t you, why can’t you?” It’s the universal lovers’ lament, scratching at the question of why some loves stick like glitter and just won’t wash off.

On the flip side, when Lipa croons “I tasted heaven, now I can’t live without it,” we get it. They’ve sipped from the forbidden cup, and a bland world without that intensity just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s a twisted love letter to the brand of romance that turns your world technicolor and throws the shadows into even starker relief.

In essence, “Prisoner” walks that tightrope between losing oneself in someone else and fighting for the freedom to break away from the hold of an all-consuming love. Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa, in this electric duet, are serving up all the ingredients of a timeless pop anthem: the intoxication of infatuation, the agony of emotional dependence, and the dizzying heights of a love that won’t release its grip. It’s a shimmering piece of pop mastery, wrapped up in the trappings of a love story that’s more trap than fairytale.