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Released: 2019

“Slide Away” by Miley Cyrus is a poignant narrative of maturity and a coming-of-age, reflective of a need for personal growth and a desire to let go of under-serving past attachments. This song signifies a bittersweet embrace of change and a realization that sometimes moving forward requires letting go of the familiar.

In the opening verse, Cyrus laments, “Once upon a time, it was paradise… But it’s time to let it go,” reflecting a transition from idyllic beginnings to acknowledging the need for change. The “harbour lights” she is going to miss symbolizes her past life – comforting yet confining. Cyrus is essentially noting that while she may nostalgically remember the past, she recognizes it’s time to let go for a less paralyzing future.

The line, “I want my house in the hills, Don’t want the whisky and pills,” is a raw declaration of her yearning for stability and peace over destructive habits. Here, “house in the hills” symbolizes a desire for a more grounded life, while “whisky and pills” represent the reckless behavior she’s set to leave behind. This verse speaks volumes about her strength – she “doesn’t give up easily” – and reinforces that this decision is rooted in her growth and self-awareness rather than whim.

The chorus, “So won’t you slide away, Back to the ocean, I’ll go back to the city lights” is a plea, likely to a former lover, to let go and revert to their roots, signifying their different directions in life. This could be interpreted as Cyrus expressing her emotional evolution, preferring the heady, exciting “city lights” of personal development and self-discovery over remaining in a stagnant or limiting past relationship.

The lyric, “Move on, we’re not 17, I’m not who I used to be,” succinctly encapsulates the overall theme of the song. The line conveys a profound realization: that they’ve grown up, they’ve changed, and going back to who they were at 17 isn’t an option. It’s a forcing acknowledgment of growth, accepting that everything around them, including themselves, has changed. She’s firmly stating that they can no longer hold on to their youthful selves or their relationship, further underlining the song’s theme of maturity and moving forward.

In essence, “Slide Away” signifies Cyrus’s public transition to a more mature, self-aware individual who’s willing to leave behind aspects of her past that no longer serve her. It’s a poignant reflection of her journey of personal growth encapsulated in pop music.

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