Editors’ Notes Pop stars rarely emerge fully formed; Noah Cyrus may very well be an exception. Daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus and sister to chameleonic artist Miley Cyrus, 20-year-old Noah is partially the sum of her familial parts: a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, and, most importantly, herself. For the Cyrus clan’s Gen Z heir, Noah’s genre-ambivalent emo-pop once articulated adolescent angst (2018’s Good Cry EP). On her second EP, THE END OF EVERYTHING, she’s enamored with heartbreak and existentialism, driven by her most reflective impulses. “Being a young girl and a brand-new artist, there’s a lot of people telling you what to do and how to be,” Cyrus tells Apple Music about her musical maturation. “I’ve found I’m not going to be happy unless I speak up—and so the music you’re getting is just me in a room with my friends. I don’t even think any of the songs are mastered.” So she lays it bare: In the opener, “Ghost,” it’s a Lana Del Rey-inspired electro-dirge, leading into her nods to Nashville, the baptismal “I Got So High That I Saw Jesus” and the morose twang of “Young & Sad.” The sitcom-referencing “Wonder Years,” a hip-hop collaboration with Ant Clemons (Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign), samples the Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends.” “This music is like being in a car when I see a beautiful sunset,” she says. “It is the music I listen to whenever I need to connect to my soul.” Below, Cyrus discusses her EP, track by track.

Ghost
“I’ve had ‘Ghost’ in my pocket since 2018. I finished it in Bali. Most of the songs are the demo version from the studio, which feels pretty special. ‘Everybody knows a hand to hold is all we need’ is my favorite line, because there's so many times where that's all I've needed, and that's why I don't look at the song, necessarily, romantically. I look at my family, who've been there for me whenever I was really fucking weak and down.”

I Got So High That I Saw Jesus
“We [me and songwriter Peter Harding] didn't write the song for a certain belief system or one religion. It's for anybody and everybody. It's also not specifically about shoving marijuana in your face. I'm just explaining my experience of, yes, I’ve had times where substances have made me come to a self-realization, a come-to-Jesus moment, of things that I just need to be aware of. We are going through such a hard time on this planet right now that I wanted to really bring it back to my roots and be as Nashville as I can be.”

Liar
“The song was written on piano. I did some self-reflecting, and I’ve fucked up. Everybody fucks up. So this song was my chance to say, ‘Hey, I've reflected on this, and I'm sorry. And I hope you hear this, and just so you know, I'm sorry.’ But there’s so many ways to connect to 'Liar.' People can also hear it the other way around.”

Lonely
“Whenever you hear a harmony, it’s Rollo [songwriter Roland Spreckley] or PJ [Harding] and I. I love singing with them. I love the mix of male-female harmonies. On ‘Lonely,’ it’s Rollo and me. When we were writing the song, we connected on the notion of not feeling comfortable being who we are. But what really sparked the idea was therapy. I was in my psychiatrist’s office, it was 2019. I had just gotten off tour and was in a dark place. We’re sitting there, I’m explaining how I’m feeling, and he says, ‘Noah, it sounds like you’re lonely.’ I started sobbing. Just hearing it come out of somebody else’s mouth...I didn’t know what the word was or how to describe it. That’s the hard thing about depression.”

Young & Sad
“This is the most honest I can be about my actual mental health. The song opens with a voicemail I received from my dad one night. I was having a hard time with myself. My dad called me, and hearing him tell me to put a smile on my face broke my heart, because I didn't feel like anybody really wanted to see me smiling. Originally, when I was writing the song, the lyric was 'I want to be young and sad.' It wasn’t sitting right, because I don’t. There’s this thing going on in music where sadness is becoming a theme. I am not trying to glorify [depression].”

July
“We were in Bali and I was writing about a relationship I was in for two and a half years. It was a really hard—mentally abusive, and manipulative. Word by word, ‘July’ explains the whole relationship. It was this never-ending thing, which is why the song ends with the cliffhanger ‘You remind me every day I’m not enough, but I still stay.’ It was tough, but something good came out of it. I'm so lucky to say that this record is going platinum all over the world and it's beautiful to see.”

Wonder Years (feat. Ant Clemons)
“Obviously [The Wonder Years] is an iconic show, but [its theme song], that Beatles melody, is obviously hard to clear. I actually get to thank Paul McCartney himself for that, because I needed his approval to get this song done. When we heard that there was an email from Paul McCartney himself saying that this was a great rendition of the song and he loved it, that honestly blew my mind. And really, Ant is the one who has the verse, and he goes off. It was such a collaborative process.”

The End of Everything
“‘The End of Everything’ is my favorite song on the EP. I saw a video called ‘Timelapse of the Future’ by John Boswell. A friend showed it to me. He said, ‘It's time-lapsed over billions and billions and billions of years, and it's going to show what's going to happen to the earth and the universe.’ Everything is going to end. There's so much fear and hatred in the world, but there's also so much love that all needs to be recognized. That video is what made me recognize it. I made PJ watch the video, so he came over and played the guitar. I started singing, 'Everyone you love is going to die.' That line takes your breath away, because that’s the part that hurts the most. It’s true, and so sad, but all the things that hurt you, they’ll be gone, too.”

SONG
Ghost
1
3:05
 
I Got So High That I Saw Jesus
2
3:37
 
Liar
3
2:52
 
Lonely
4
2:24
 
Young & Sad
5
3:10
 
July
6
2:36
 
Wonder Years
7
3:18
 
The End of Everything
8
2:55
 

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