Miley Cyrus was once a Disney darling. Then she became a polarizing pop star dabbling in hip hop and psychedelic rock on her last two albums, Bangerz and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. But with “Malibu,” the first single off her as-yet-untitled upcoming album, Cyrus steps back from the zany stage antics and conversation-sparking politics of her previous work. “Malibu,” out Thursday, is a stripped-down, breezy, acoustic love song with a country kick. And those lyrics? Yep, they’re all about her partner Liam Hemsworth.
In the video, which debuted at the same time as the song, Cyrus frolics with balloons on a beach, hangs out in wildflower-flecked fields, and chills with a dog. Also hard to miss: the sizable diamond she flashes from the ring finger of her left hand.
The song has a confessional bent. “I never would’ve believed you if three years ago you told me I’d be here writing this song,” she sings to Hemsworth. “But here I am, next to you.” In a recent profile for Billboard, Cyrus opened up about her newfound sobriety, image evolution, and relationship. “They’re going to talk about me if I come out of a restaurant with Liam. So why not put the power back in my relationship and say, ‘This is how I feel’?” she explained of the openness of the song’s lyrics. Watch the video, above.