“Handstand” by Miley Cyrus presents a narrative that’s representative of daring adventure and self-assertive confidence. In essence, the song explores Cyrus’ audacious spirit in a relationship, her being a mesmerizing enigma, and her resilience in the face of incredulity.
First thing’s first, these lyrics are an acid trip into a psychedelic fantasy but hey, that’s Miley innit? The opening verse paints an eclectic, otherworldly picture. We have “neon dinghies”, “manta rays”, “palm trees”, “electric eels”, “radiant creatures”, and “comets” sprinkled with riders on horseback – sounds like a Salvador Dali dreamscape. Cyrus drops us into this fantastical environment that’s her own inner world, one she shares with this character, “Big Twitchy”. She’s invoking an air of exuberance and mystery from the off, setting the stage for her audacious — almost combative — flirtation to come.
Moving right into the heart of the tune, the chorus, the allegorical ‘doing it in a fucking handstand’ — this isn’t about gymnastics, my friends. It’s about bravura — Cyrus saying that she can do the impossible, the challenging, and the unbelievable with an effortless panache. Her confidence is functioning on a level that it desensitizes the concept of strain and struggle. The handstand metaphor echoes the sense of wonderment from her lover’s perspective and her own cavalier coolness.
“We took it kinda fast, but you put it in slow” shows her unrepentant approach to diving headfirst into a relationship, but balances it out by showing that her partner is taking the opposite approach — a careful, slow-burning one. She also acknowledges their mother’s calls being ignored, accentuating the level of absorption and commitment in this relationship. The unicorn analogy simply reinstates her being a fantastical, rare entity not meant to be comprehended easily.
The second verse takes a slightly different tone, where we see Cyrus expressing the desire for certainty and permanence in her relationship. “I wish I could crawl inside your heart”, she sings, expressing the desire to truly understand her lover on a profound, emotional level. The phrase “Take me captive and then sail away” points to her craving for a shared escapade into the unknown — an adventure for two, laced with certainty, security, and a hint of romantic escapism.
“Handstand” is, in the end, a flamboyant tribute to Cyrus’ own audacious spirit, her unabashed approach to love and relationships, and her thrillingly defiant nature that thrives on doing the extraordinary in her own unique, unapologetic style. Put simply? Miley Cyrus ain’t no average pop chick, and “Handstand” is her manifesto.