The Meaning of Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus

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This song has an obvious meaning and not so obvious meaning.

Miley Cyrus did not write this song, it was written by Stephen Richard Moccio. Whether or not she sang it to send a message to someone is something only she knows. I have read everything about it being for her dad, Liam, or Nick; but it really doesn’t matter.

The lyrics and music are brilliantly composed. The way she sings allows you to feel the emotion behind it.

The only reason I care about where this song originated is to give it some history. I always pull my own meanings from songs based on my own emotional experiences. Each song means something specific to me and I believe that the point of music is to let it speak to you.

I will dive into what the song should literally mean — allowing you to discover deeper meanings. Once you make a connection to a song, it can transport you back in time to relive those moments.

We clawed, we chained, our hearts in vain
We jumped, never asking why
We kissed, I fell under your spell
A love no one could deny

The first time I read these lyrics they seemed backward and confusing. Clawing and chaining are not about falling into love but quite the opposite.

When you fall under a spell it can either mean you’ve become obsessed with another person or have falling for them — if there is a difference between the two. The confusing part of the lyrics is that “we” kissed, and “I” fell, which signals to me a one sided relationship.

This leads me to believe she is not describing the infatuation state of a relationship but rather her feelings of a one sided relationship.

To claw something results in damage and to chain something results in restriction, in vain — it was a useless effort.

What could this possibly mean?

She wouldn’t have chained to hold herself back because it doesn’t go with the other lyrics. So it could mean she stuck or restricted herself to this relationship to work while “clawing at her heart” or causing herself pain because she wasn’t getting what she wanted.

The other verses of the song confirm this belief that we are not hearing a two sided love ballad but rather her effort and pain.

Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

This part to me signals her obsession with this person. She feels they could have had something real. If the other person ever realizes that, she wants them to know that she didn’t walk away or quit. We are left with a hint of when this person figures it out, she may welcome them back.

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

She didn’t hold back her feelings. She tried to get through to this person but they resisted her attempts and in the end she was the one left hurt.

hot air balloon floating away

I put you high up in the sky
And now, you’re not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we’re ashes on the ground

This part hints at the possibility of a fling they had or a good run. She put him up on a pedestal meaning she thought the world of him and lifted him up.

“You’re not coming down” is a brilliant way to illustrate a hot air balloon rising which symbolizes someone getting a big head from their ego and floating away. The other person slowly drifted away from them without looking back.

She realized this person wasn’t reciprocating these feelings.

“You let me burn is a reference” to how easily he could have helped her but chose to just walk away. Ashes on the ground can refer to how she feels either nothing or was treated like nothing — insignificant.

I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
And instead of using force
I guess I should’ve let you win

This is the realization that she went too far and exhausted or overwhelmed the other person. This is her way of offering an apology or rather admitting to her responsibility for her mistakes.

War references how bad things got before the final split. The other person may have wanted their space and she was too needy. Instead of taking their time together she came off too strong.

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crashing in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

meteor crashing to earth

A variation of another verse. It still symbolizing that she came full blast into this but did so without understanding the consequences. “Crashing like a blazing fall” is a reference to a meteor hitting impacting the earth — it amplifies how much damage it caused.

Lyrical Conclusion

Miley Cyrus just went through a one sided relationship where she was madly in love with the other person but they didn’t feel the same way. She became so vulnerable that when all was said and done she was left in pieces. She hopes that someday this person realizes the pain they caused and that she still has feelings for them.

Lyrical Alternatives

Pick your own, this reminds me of several relationships I went through where no matter what I did, the other person just wasn’t into it. The mistake is by thinking you can change how someone else feels by extra effort and force — doesn’t work that way. Now that she sang this song, the other person is surely frightened of her obsession.

Keep in mind that she did not write this song and her reasons for singing it could have nothing to do with any of her relationships but just something she could relate to or understand.

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