Noah Cyrus on Her 'I Burned LA Down' Music Video
by Kenna McCafferty
08 April 2022
Is it just us or does it smell like something’s burning? Oh, that's just the West Coast culture capital set ablaze by Grammy-nominated Noah Cyrus’ newest country-pop single, "I Burned LA Down," out today off her forthcoming album, The Hardest Part, due July 15 (via RECORDS/Columbia).
Fanning the flames, Cyrus’ release explores her relationship with land and love. For Los Angeles dwellers like her, there's an inevitable cyclical dread around wildfire season. So when the 2021 Caldor fire coincided with Cyrus’ recent breakup, her anxiety heightened and she became a self-proclaimed "agent of chaos" against herself.
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Seeing her inner turmoil manifest in physical ways, Cyrus wrote “I Burned LA Down” to express a lack of control and need for release. "The song still feels fresh when I hear and sing it,” Cyrus tells PAPER. "Putting myself back in those feelings is still hard. It was all worth it in the end, however, to be able to show an honest representation to what I was feeling."
To represent the way the world looked to Cyrus at the time, she partnered with "Experimental Creative Studio" Actual Objects to build a cinematic witchy-western for the official music video. "Actual Objects were the perfect collaborators to be able to capture and create this surreal visual representation of my feelings," Cyrus says.
In smokey red-orange hues, Cyrus stands at the edge of an abyss in black, then statuesque in a ramshackle cabin as flames lick up the beams around her. Surrounded by silent observers, the flames around Cyrus grow larger, jumping off in embers that swirl around her as she sings, before turning her back on the burning abyss to ride off on her own white horse.
The visual tells an apocalyptic story filled with familiar feelings of regret, loss and invisibility, with a final whispered lyric from Cyrus to send chills, like the last tendril of a flame, up your spine: "You left a hole in my chest when you left and my heart followed you out the door."
For Cyrus, this song is a daunting departure from her previous work. “Honestly, shooting the video was a bit emotionally hard for me,” she says. "I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without Claire [the founder of Actual Objects].” On Instagram, the artist also thanked co-writer PJ Harding and producer Mike Crossey for creating "I Burned LA Down."
If Cyrus' tearjerker is any indication, she's unlocking a new level of longing in this next era. So dive into the drama of the "I Burned LA Down" video and stream her track, below. To pre-save The Hardest Part, visit noahcyrus.com.
Photos courtesy of Amaury Nessaibia