Meaning of “Used To Be Young” by Miley Cyrus

“Used to Be Young” is a song that Miley Cyrus first teased upon headlining the June 2023 edition of British Vogue magazine. The song went on to be officially released as the fourth single from her album “Endless Summer Vacation”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Miley Cyrus's Used To Be Young at

The song was preceded by the following singles:




Cyrus’s team began re-teasing “Used to Be Young” in mid-August. Its release date came the day after ABC aired a Miley Cyrus special titled Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions). So the song was used to promote that documentary and vice versa.


Miley has also pointed out that she personally decided to drop this track officially on August 25th, 2023 for a reason. This is because the said ‘date historically has been important to her and in her career’. 

And in that regard, what has been surmised by some fans is that first of all she’s referring to release of her famous track “Wrecking Ball”. This track, which is Cyrus’s second-biggest hit to date, was dropped on 25 August 2013, i.e. a decade to this day. 

But even more notably, that selfsame date was when she and Robin Thicke laid down their infamous, twerk-filled performance at the MTV VMAs. Said performance, coupled with the release of “Wrecking Ball” (i.e. a song which sports a pretty-sexualized video itself) was perhaps the defining moment in Miley’s musical career. These irrevocably marked her transition from a teen icon into adult-oriented performer.


Miley Cyrus is credited with writing this song alongside Michael Pollack and Aldea. The songstress has noted that the “lyrics were written almost two years ago”.

Michael Pollack, who hails from Long Island, New York, also produced the track. In performing this task, he worked with another producer named Shawn Everett.

Used To Be Young


The way Miley Cyrus has described this piece implies that it is of greater personal significance than her usual fare. And to some degree, such a dynamic can be ascertained from the get-go. For example, the addressee is someone who has obviously been close to the vocalist since her youth. The pair were so close that it is theoretically possible that what we’re dealing with here is akin to a soliloquy.

Going back to Miley’s explanation of this song, she has stated that it is meant to serve as an ode to the past, present and future. According to her, this song honors “who we’ve been, loving who we are and celebrating who we will become”. 


As alluded to earlier, Cyrus, as an artist, has done some things which have proven to be highly-controversial. Her getting raunchy on stage at the 2013 MTV VMAs wouldn’t have been as much of a big deal if she was more along the lines of an average entertainer since, after all, she was technically an adult. She was actually 20 years old at the time. 

But what really contributed to that stir though is that beforehand, she had established herself as a teen icon. Put simply, she was someone whom children looked up to.

That is not to say that Miley wasn’t already wild for the night prior to the 2013 VMAs. To the contrary, she had been dealing with similar types of controversies since she was at least 15 years old. For example, she was often engaging in acts which critics believed were too mature for her age/image, . 

That reality of course took a psychological toll on the star. Or as the songstress also recounted upon the release of “Used to Be Young”, she “carried some guilt and shame around… for years because of how much controversy and upset (she) really caused”. But ‘now that she’s an adult, she realizes how harshly she was judged… as a child by adults’.


But with that being noted, the first verse of this song may give the impression that the singer is apologetic. That is to say that Miley admits that she is no longer keen on “living fast”. Or viewed from a different angle, she has come to realize that yes, the type of carefree modus operandi she has exhibited in the past can and does have negative personal ramifications.


But the second verse goes on to verify that whereas the vocalist may have some regrets, it isn’t such that she’s going to let them destroy her self-esteem. And that disposition then brings us to the thesis sentiment of the track, as expressed in the chorus. 

Miley doesn’t see her younger self as being “wild”, i.e. someone who was unnecessarily reckless per se. Rather she “used to be young” and behaved accordingly. Or put otherwise, in the grand scheme of things those afore-referenced acts she committed weren’t anything unusual given her age and maturity level at the time, and may we also say taking her celebrity into account.

“I know I used to be crazy
I know I used to be fun
You say I used to be wild
I say I used to be young
You tell me time has done changed me
That’s fine, I’ve had a good run
I know I used to be crazy
That’s ‘causе I used to be young”

Of further interest is the fact that she is seemingly making such a statement towards people who believe that teenage Miley was more enjoyable than the current, 30-year old version of the singer. And she’s cool with that. She even acknowledges that those days of ‘messing up’ were indeed “fun”. 

But in closing, let’s say that Cyrus comes off as the type of person who effectively let it all out when the time was ripe. She’s not pining over her youth or trying to relive earlier-glory days. 

The vocalist has grown cool with the fact that, when she was younger, she did things which garnered criticism and/or that she personally regretted later on. But as implied, Miley perceives such as being an intrinsic part of youth. To her, it is sorta like you can’t be drunk with fun and carefreeness without suffering some type of hangover afterwards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...