Noah Cyrus Launches Debut Album 'The Hardest Part' with Country Ballad 'I Burned LA Down'

The Grammy-nominated singer announced her debut album, The Hardest Part, and released a cinematic music video for "I Burned LA Down" inspired by a breakup and climate change

Noah Cyrus
Noah Cyrus. Photo: Walker Bunting

Noah Cyrus is embracing her Nashville roots on her California-inspired new single.

On Friday, the Grammy-nominated singer announced her long-awaited debut album, The Hardest Part, set for release via RECORDS and Columbia Records on July 15. Alongside the announcement, Cyrus debuted the cinematic music video for her emotional, country-tinged new single, "I Burned LA Down," inspired by a relationship's end and the looming threat of climate change.

"Living in California, you're constantly living with this dread of wildfire season. At the time, I was reeling from my breakup, and [the 2021 Caldor fire] was dominating the news," said the 22-year-old musician of the song's inspiration in a press release. "All this internal, emotional pain I was feeling was intertwined with the anxiety around this out-of-control fire and climate change in general."

The Hardest Part will mark Cyrus's first full-length project since debuting in 2016 with the downtempo R&B-pop single "Make Me (Cry)" featuring Labrinth, which was certified two-times platinum by the RIAA. Following the release of her 2020 EP The End of Everything, which featured a collaboration with her sister, Miley, the musician was nominated for best new artist at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Directed by Actual Objects, the art-house film-inspired music video for "I Burned LA Down" finds Cyrus donning high-fashion looks in a haunting desert setting as her surroundings catch fire and smolder. The clip also features the singer being watched and followed by several faceless figures in a burning barn before escaping the blazing flames on a white horse, a visual representation of the song's soul-baring lyrics about heartbreak.

"Embers in the dark / Can look just like shooting stars / To a bitter broken heart," Cyrus croons on the acoustic guitar-led track. "I wish I hadn't burned this city down / 'Cause you didn't care / No you didn't care / Yeah, I burned L.A. down and you left me there."

"The song took shape around the idea that the only way my ex could comprehend the scale of my emotions was if I became this agent of chaos and set the entire city on fire," explained the musician. "That idea of your internal struggle manifesting itself in the real world and affecting your surroundings is a big theme of the record, and that song feels so much bigger than anything I've written before. It's the perfect introduction to the album."

Cyrus' most recent rumored relationship was with rapper Smokepurpp (born Omar Pineiro), as the pair posted romantic Instagram Stories together throughout 2020 and were seen holding hands during a walk through Los Angeles the same year.

She was previously linked to rapper Lil Xan (born Nicholas Diego Leanos) in 2018, and the two musicians released a collaboration titled "Live or Die" the same year. Following a very public split, Cyrus and Lil Xan briefly reconnected in early 2020 — prior to her reported fling with Smokepurpp.

Produced by Arctic Monkeys and The 1975 collaborator Mike Crossey, The Hardest Part is expected to see Cyrus continue in her folk-inspired sound, which calls back to her native Nashville roots. According to the singer, she was heavily involved in the process of creating the musical arrangements and choosing the instruments, including pedal steel and slide guitar, featured on the 10-track album.

"Mike and I were so driven and fully engulfed in the music. It was seamless — our brains connected into one," she explained of its creation. "I found a safe place to make music with people I love and trust. The process was really healing for me."

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