Miley Cyrus has emerged as the queen of unlikely covers over the last few years, putting her spin on unexpected songs like Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Bob Dylan‘s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”
But as Cyrus’ sound has matured, so have her renditions of other artists’ beloved classics, which she demonstrated most recently with her stunning take on the ’50s classic “Lilac Wine.” It served as the first entry in her ongoing Backyard Sessions series: just Cyrus and a few musician friends jamming out in a garden. Now, she’s debuted another take on a vintage tune by performing folk singer Melanie Safka‘s “Look What They’ve Done To My Song” in an intimate video. Watch the clip above.
Miley’s husky, soul-inflected vocals fit the track’s melancholy lyrics perfectly (and the sun-dappled production and pre-haircut styling probably helps to maximize the country vibe). “Cause if the people are buying tears, then we’ll be rich someday, Ma / look what they’ve done to my song,” she sings, showing off some spectacular vocal runs.
Cyrus has been in the studio working on her next studio album, which she told Rolling Stone last month is influenced by the time she recently spent in Louisiana. “My boyfriend was filming a movie in New Orleans,” Cyrus explained, “so I got into the older Motown sound vibe, which is really fun to mix with this country-pop sound. I listened to a lot of Irma Thomas and tried to get that old soul into it, too.”
Those influences come through loud and clear on her version of “Look What They’ve Done To My Song,” which is one of her richest vocal performances to date.