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Drive (Miley Cyrus song)

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Song by Miley Cyrus
from the album Bangerz
ReleasedOctober 8, 2013
  • Michael L. Williams II
  • Pierre Ramon Slaughter
  • Samuel Jean
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Mike Will Made It
  • P-Nasty

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"Drive" is a song by American singer Miley Cyrus for her fourth studio album Bangerz (2013). It was written and produced by Mike Will Made It and P-Nasty, with additional songwriting provided by Samuel Jean and Cyrus. The song is a dubstep and EDM influenced track, and discusses the difficulties in ending a romantic relationship; it has been widely speculated to have been inspired by Cyrus' former fiancé Liam Hemsworth.

"Drive" received generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics, who complimented its overall production and Cyrus' vocal delivery. Despite not having been released as a single, it peaked at number 87 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Cyrus first performed the song during her episode of MTV Unplugged in January 2014, and has also performed it during her ongoing Bangerz Tour.

Background and composition[edit]

"Drive" reportedly referred to Cyrus' relationship with her former fiancé Liam Hemsworth (pictured).

"Drive" was written by Mike Will Made It, Cyrus, Pierre Ramon Slaughter, and Samuel Jean; it was produced by Mike Will Made It, with co-production by P-Nasty, and engineered by Chris "Tek" O'Ryan. Stephen Hybicki recorded the song, which was later mixed by Jaycen Joshua with assistance from Ryan Kaul.[1] Cyrus commented that the song was written on Valentine's Day in 2013, which was "emotionally [...] such a hard time"; she elaborated that the track was "about needing to leave someone but not really wanting to completely cut yourself off from the relationship. It’s a time when you want to leave but you can’t. It’s also about moving on."[2] It has been widely speculated to have been inspired by Cyrus' former fiancé Liam Hemsworth.[3]

Carolyn Menyes from Mstarz described as "a strong EDM and dubstep influence" and noted that "deep electronic beats mark the instrumentation as Cyrus' voice weaves in and out of the powerful computerized wubs."[4] Joseph Apodaca from On the Red Carpet considered the track to be a power ballad that featured a "wobbling beat",[5] while John Walker from MTV News described it as "the climax of Miley’s musical breakup" that details "undesirable end that’s for the best"; he particularly noted the use of "explosive synth pulses".[6] A 19-second snippet of "Drive" was leaked online on September 27,[7] before the official release of its parent album Bangerz on October 8.[8]

"Drive" received generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics. Writing for AllMusic, Heather Phares highlighted the "dubstep-like synths" used in the track as one of several "early-2010s trends" seen throughout Bangerz, and complimented that Cyrus "sounds more mature than ever before" on "Drive" and the closing track "Someone Else".[9] Mikael Wood from Los Angeles Times felt that Cyrus "goes for [an] introspective quality" on "Drive", and added that Cyrus' vocals were "equally strong" on the following track "FU" as they were on "Drive".[10] Christina Drill from Popdust stated that Cyrus' vocal delivery was "good", although she felt that it was "not the most impressive song on the album"; she further commented that the song could serve as a sequel to "Driveway" from Cyrus' second studio album Breakout (2008).[11] "Drive" is written in the key of E minor with a slow tempo of 71 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of E5–C5–G5–D5–G5–D5, and Cyrus' vocals span two octaves, from E3 to E5.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for Slant Magazine, Kyle Fowle spoke favorably of the track and opined that it "pulses and swirls like sweaty bodies on the dance floor."[13] However, in a more mixed review, Jason Lipshutz from Billboard acknowledged that its production "zig-zags impressively", while also suggesting that its chorus failed to leave the impact that the refrain for "Wrecking Ball" did.[14] Naomi Zeichner of The Fader praised the production of the song, writing, "Mike WiLL steps outside of his 'thunderous' signature all over Bangerz; on Someone Else and Drive, he approaches EDM on his own pop-rap terms, asking Cyrus' 'Jolene' twang and jackhammer buzz to serve his complex arrangements, rather than dropping some 808s on top of a dustep drop. 'Drive', which I favor, has no grandiose drop, just a stubborn pulse that gives the song its appealing undercurrent of ugly, tightly coiled strength."[15]

Live performances[edit]

An episode of MTV Unplugged starring Cyrus premiered through MTV on January 29, 2014;[16] she performed an acoustic version of "Drive", among several additional tracks from Bangerz. The entire episode followed a theme inspired by country music; during "Drive" in particular, Cyrus was dressed in a matching jean jacket, bra, and pants set. A close-up of her face was shown for much of the performance, although the camera occasionally panned across the stage and revealed that Cyrus was seated on a wooden bench through the full song.[17] Cyrus has performed the track during her ongoing Bangerz Tour.[18] The performance received positive reviews from critics. While performing "Drive" during the first leg of the tour, Cyrus wore a black, floor-length Marc Jacobs gown with subtle sequined lightning stripes down the skirt, sheer black quarter-length sleeves, and a ruffly mock turtleneck.[19] During the second leg of the tour, Cyrus wore a jewel-encrusted black jumpsuit designed by Roberto Cavalli.

During the performance of "Drive", audience members lit up their cellphones while blue laser lights swirled around her. John J. Moser of The Morning Call provided a positive review, specifically praising Cyrus' vocal delivery.[20] Théoden Janes of The Charlotte Observer praised Cyrus' vocal performance and compared her to Stevie Nicks, writing, "On songs like Drive, Cyrus' voice had a gravelly Stevie Nicks quality."[21]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bangerz.[1]

  • Recorded at Nightbird Studios (West Hollywood, California); Conway Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California); Glenwood Studios, (Burbank, California)
  • Mixed at The Penua Project/Innersound Management at Larrabee Sound Studios (North Hollywood, California)
  • Mike Will Made It – songwriter, producer
  • P-Nasty – songwriter, producer
  • Samuel Jean – songwriter
  • Miley Cyrus – songwriter, lead vocals
  • Stephen Hybicki – recording
  • Chris "TEK" O'Ryan – engineering
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Ryan Kaul – assistant


"Drive" debuted at number 87 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[22] The track also charted at numbers 90 and 136 on the Canadian Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, respectively.[23][24]

Chart (2013) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[23] 90
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 136
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 87


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bangerz (Media notes). Miley Cyrus. RCA Records. 2013.
  2. Sieczkowski, Cavan (September 26, 2013). "Miley Cyrus Breakup Song, 'Drive,' Penned In February Before Liam Hemsworth Split". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  3. Catucci, Nick (October 1, 2013). "Bangerz - Miley Cyrus". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  4. Menyes, Carolyn (September 27, 2013). "Miley Cyrus New Song 'Drive' Snippet Leak: 'Bangerz' Single Includes References to Liam Hemsworth Break Up, Strong EDM Influence". Mstarz. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  5. Apodaca, Joseph (October 1, 2013). "Miley Cyrus' new album 'Bangerz': Track-by-track review". On the Red Carpet. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  6. John Walker (October 8, 2014). "Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz': A Track-By-Track Review… In Puppy GIFs!". MTV Buzzworthy. Viacom. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  7. Amy Sciarretto (September 27, 2013). "Miley Cyrus Hates Cocaine, Loves Weed". PopCrush. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  8. Jason Lipshutz (August 16, 2013). "Miley Cyrus Reveals 'Bangerz' Release Date". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  9. Phares, Heather (October 8, 2013). "Bangerz - Miley Cyrus". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  10. Wood, Mikael (October 2, 2013). "Review: Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' a rebel yell with a big bang". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  11. Drill, Christina (October 2, 2013). "Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" Reviewed: "Drive"". Popdust. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  12. "Drive". Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  13. Fowle, Kyle (October 6, 2013). "Miley Cyrus: Bangerz: Music Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  14. Lipshutz, Jason (October 1, 2013). "Miley Cyrus, 'Bangerz': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  15. Cooper, Duncan; Zeichner, Naomi (October 9, 2013). "The Best Songs from Miley Cyrus' Bangerz". The Fader. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  16. Rahman, Ray (January 21, 2014). "Miley Cyrus will star in her own 'MTV Unplugged'". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  17. "Miley Unplugged". MTV Unplugged. January 29, 2014. MTV. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. "Miley Cyrus Kisses Katy Perry, Sings With Flaming Lips at Los Angeles Concert: Video". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. February 23, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  19. Wilson, Gaby (February 18, 2014). "Miley Cyrus Kicks Off Bangerz Tour With Flurry Of Performance Outfits". MTV. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  20. Moser, John J. (August 3, 2014). "REVIEW: Miley Cyrus anything but normal in 'Bangerz' tour at Philly's Wells Fargo Center". The Morning Call. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  21. Janes, Théoden (August 7, 2014). "Miley Cyrus isn't sick this time, but she's still twisted". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Miley Cyrus Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Miley Cyrus Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Chart: Cluk Update 19.10.2013 (wk41)". Zobbel. Retrieved March 1, 2014.

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