“River” by Miley Cyrus

The tireless Miley Cyrus dropped her eighth studio album, “Endless Summer Vacation”, on 10 March 2023. It was on this same day that “River” was officially released, though this song also acts as the project’s second single. The project’s first single is the hit song titled “Flowers“. The production and release of the entire project was made possible via the backing of Columbia Records, whom Miley recently signed with in 2021.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Miley Cyrus's River at Lyrics.org.

Miley Cyrus, who traces her come-up back to the Disney circuit (as well as being the daughter of country music mainstay Billy Ray Cyrus) is a master at generating headlines and hype around her music. In that regard, she often relies on sexuality. So is the case with “River”, which Billboard has described as being “sexually-charged” and with Rolling Stone describing its music video as featuring a “sea of shirtless men”

Meanwhile, in the songstress’s own words, this song is supposed to be a “f*-king nasty” piece. However, it did not originate as so, as upon concept the theme more innocently pointed to the concept of “April shower(s)” and “raining down like love”.


When it comes to engaging in a sound, effective bonking, a healthy amount of bodily fluids are also likely to be involved. Said fluids can come from the male or female. Presumably when the vocalist makes observations such as the addressee “pouring down”, considering that this song is supposed to be “f–king nasty”, maybe what Miley is referring to, more frankly put, is something along the lines of being inundated with sem*n. 

So theoretically, the vocalist being a ‘desert before she met’ her sweetheart may be a poetic way of saying that she was going through some type of sexual “drought”. She might be talking about being devoid of a gratifying lay or perhaps the act of sex altogether. But now she is able to celebrate having someone who excites her due to the fact that he truly “care(s)”.

Another, more overt reason Cyrus is likening her sweetheart to “a river” is because he “go(es) on forever”. Presumably, all things considered, that would be another way of acknowledging that he is the opposite of a one-minute man. 

But putting two and two together in that regard is only something that a sophisticated listener who is also familiar with Miley’s artistry would be able to do.

“You’re just like a river (Ooh, ooh, ooh)
You’re just like a river (Ooh, ooh, ooh)
You go on forever
You’re just like a river”

Indeed what we are met with here, as far as a piece that’s reportedly intended to be a sex song, is pretty complex. That is to say that likening the addressee to “a river” apparently points to more than just the sexual side of this relationship. 

On one hand it may be an allusion to (male) sexual fluids and on the other the vocalist’s boo ability to last all night long. But as used in the chorus, where the “river” metaphor refers to the addressee’s ‘heart beating so loud that it’s drowning Miley out’, that really doesn’t sound sexual at all but rather reads more along the lines of her being deeply in love. 

Furthermore in the chorus, Cyrus notes that being in this romance is akin to “living in an April shower”, terminology which, as noted before, is derived from the earlier, cleaner conceptualization of this song.

So in this case, we can perhaps conclude by saying don’t believe the hype. From a lyrical perspective “River”, in this day and age we live in, can be considered SFW.

Yes, there are certain junctures whereas any mature adult, especially those who are familiar with Miley’s norm, would be able to ascertain that she’s referring to sex, and that’s especially true as far as the bridge is concerned. 

But maybe this time around Miley and her co-writers – Justin Tranter, Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon (with the latter two also producing the track) – outsmarted themselves, in a manner of speaking. In other words, with the exception of said bridge, this may actually be one of the more cleverly-veiled sex songs we have ever come across.

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