By the end of 2012, change was brewing in the world of Miley Cyrus: She had an edgy new haircut, she was working with Pharrell and Tyler, the Creator in the studio, and she was in the midst of planning a wedding. We were all, "That's cool," and then went back to watching "Gangnam Style" on YouTube.
But nothing could have prepared us for Miley Cyrus' 2013.
No one expected Miley's first musical outing of the year to be a reggae-pop tune about toking. But for a single off Snoop Lion's Reincarnated LP, the "Party in the U.S.A." singer and the gangsta rapper teamed up for the surprisingly great "Ashtrays and Heartbreaks."
Boasting lyrics like, "A lotta smoke in the air / Blowing out for those who aren't there," this song wasn't the last time Miley would get green-friendly in 2013.
Said to be the sonic representation of Miley's physical transformation, the hip hop-leaning "We Can't Stop" featured a sassy Cyrus singing about drugs, strippers and declaring to "forget the haters, 'cause somebody loves ya."
The Mike Will Made It-produced track was a hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the 17th biggest song of 2013.
Its accompanying visual showcased Miley's new knack for twerking... along with tongue wagging, girl-on-girl wrestling, making out with Barbie dolls and dancing with enormous teddy bears.
Guess who's got Miley's twerking on his mind? Jay Z! (You reading, Beyonce?)
On Magna Carta...Holy Grail's "Somewhere in America," Hov spits,"When I was talking Instagram / Last thing you wanted was your picture snapped / Feds still lurking / They see I'm still putting work in / 'Cause somewhere in America / Miley Cyrus is still twerkin', ha!"
How did Miley take the shout out? She called it "a win win forrrrrr me."
Ah, the twerk heard 'round the world.
Miley made international headlines for her performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards for the following reasons:
1. Her body-hugging latex bra-and-panties ensemble.
2. Refusing to keep her tongue in her mouth.
3. Grinding with Robin Thicke, 16 years her senior.
4. Dancing with a phallic foam finger throughout the entire performance.
5. Starting a national conversation about racially-insensitive cultural appropriation.
Following Twerkgate 2013, Miley found a slew of critics slamming her skills.
New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia told Fuse that her performance was "offensive to black culture and black women who've been twerking for years." She adds that the singer, "Didn't even have the moves down yet. Get me and Miley together so I can give her ass some lessons."
Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea—another expert twerker—believes Miley ripped her off. "[Miley] probably f-cking watched my videos online and decided to try it," she told an Australian magazine. "I've been doing that onstage for two-and-a-half years."
The "We Can't Stop" video was one of the years most-discussed clips, but Miley's "Wrecking Ball" video is easily the most-talked about video of 2013.
Juxtaposing shots of a teary-eyed Cyrus singing to the camera with shots of naked Miley swinging on an actual wrecking ball, you couldn't watch the video just once. Oh, and don't forget the part where she tongues a sledgehammer.
The visual helped give Miley her very first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, not to mention a slew of ridiculously-amazing parodies.
Despite all the controversy, one mustn't forget that Miley Cyrus is also a young woman. And after four years together, she and fiance Liam Hemsworth called it quits. That's devastating, particularly for a 20 year old getting out of her first serious relationship.
The show went on, but Miley's emotions spilled out during a performance of "Wrecking Ball" at iHeartRadio Music Festival. Her mascara ran loose and she found herself short of breath during her first live performance after splitting with Hemsworth.
Much of October was spent wondering why Sinead O'Connor was ranting about Miley Cyrus. Sure, Miley jokingly compared O'Connor to Amanda Bynes, which the "Nothing Compares 2 U" singer correctly pointed out is symptomatic of a society that shames the mentally ill. But honestly, Sinead started the whole thing by publicly shaming Miley for her VMA twerkfest and telling her she was nothing more than a pawn in the corporate game (Our take: When you really care about helping someone, you don't write an "open letter" tearing them apart in front of the entire world.)
Cyrus downplayed the whole thing, deflating the feud by not really addressing it, until her unstoppable music once again recaptured the spotlight.
With her fourth studio album, Miley Cyrus showed the world the aural results of her badass new self. While the LP had a ton of twerkable tracks, a major theme of the album was heartbreak. Songs like "Maybe You're Right" and "Adore You" will pull at the even the most jaded lovers' heartstrings.
Bangerz debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 168,000 more first-week copies than her 2010 album, Can't Be Tamed.
It's easy to forget, but behind that dirty tongue lies some strong vocal cords! The twerkaholic reminded us she can really sing with two key performances in the fall: An a cappella version of "We Can't Stop" featuring the Roots and Jimmy Fallon(below), as well as a husky cover of Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge (above).
While accepting her award for Best Video at MTV's Europe Music Awards in Amsterdam, Miley Cyrus shocked the world by doing something fairly commonplace for U.S. tourists in the city: Lighting up a joint.
"I couldn't fit this award in my bag, but I did find this," she said, pulling out what appeared to be marijuana and lighting up onstage.
Ho ho ho and Merry Christmas from Miley Cyrus! Even during the holiday season, you knew she wouldn't tone down the antics. Case in point: The singer grinded on a drunk Santa, got touchy with her backup dancer's cone bra and spanked a sexy reindeer at Los Angeles' KIIS FM's Jingle Ball.
Overall, it's been a Bangerz-ific 2013. Here's to even more Miley madness in 2014!
Check out Fuse's exclusive clip of Robin Thicke, Paramore and Fall Out Boy recounting Miley's insane year, and find out why her butt ruled 2013's music memes here.
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