Move Over, Swifties: Miley Cyrus's Flowers Is Pop, Disco, Rock, Funk, Flamenco, Country, Snubs, Reaffirmation of Political & Economic Dogma, A Powerful Reflection on America's World Standing, And an Essay on Eschatology

Move Over, Swifties: Miley Cyrus's Flowers Is Pop, Disco, Rock, Funk, Flamenco, Country, Snubs, Reaffirmation of Political & Economic Dogma, A Powerful Reflection on America's World Standing, And an Essay on Eschatology

In case you live on another planet, "Flowers" is a song by Miley Cyrus. It's taken from her eighth album, "Endless Summer Vacation." The idea is you need not rely on someone else – especially someone inadequate – to feel complete, even in winter.

Yes, that's right, move over, Swifties: Miley Cyrus's tune is raspy, self-assured (but not cocky), pop, disco, rock, funk, flamenco, country, a conjunction of snubs, a reaffirmation of political dogma and their polar opposites, validation of – or trenchant criticism at – America's domestic and international conducts, an essay on eschatology with clear philosophical implications, and the list goes on.

"Flowers" ended 2023 as the most-consumed song on the radio in the U.S. (with 630+ million on-demand audio streams). It was the fastest song in Spotify history to hit one billion streams (doing so in the number of days it takes me to gather a new follower on Instagram: 112).

The stats are one thing; the song is another. It's totally hummable, and Miley's voice delivers. I sing it all the time; I can't stop. "I can buy myself flowers, Write my name in the sand, etc." And then comes the lethal. "Can love me better | I can love me better, baby." America sings it all the time, can't stop.

But, hold on, if each potential lover in America sings I can love me better, the implications and ramifications are slightly more significant than Taylor Swift's next LinkedIn post. Sure, at first look, the song is meant as a powerfully ambivalent rebuff to Tom Cruise's Jerry Maguire's "You Complete Me," not to mention ex-husband Liam Hemsworth's own snubs; it's brighter and wiser than revenge, though, more mature. The paraphrase of Bruno Mars's "When I Was Your Man" sure chooses to go down its own path, beat, and pike. It is all about achieving independence and self-reliance while not keeping scores.

But, if all of America – each of us, political animals, Democrats, Republicans, Independents – sings I can love me better, the ramifications go even further. It's a rejection of "The Other," the opponent. No wonder we remain a divided country. Miley's saying there is no mending differences. Implicit is the recognition that cutthroat competition is here to stay and that capitalism does define America. Sounds totally grown-up. And, since it is a second-degree satire and a third-degree-to-the-power-of-n rhetorical piece of chorus art with connotations of the sarcastic type, it's simultaneously singing the opposite of the above, the same tune but different, with subtext aplenty.

If "Paint my nails cherry red | Match the roses that you left" is about color, "No remorse, no regret | I forgive every word you said" hints at much more. The power of forgiving. Gandhi. Every day is the Day of Atonement. Take it one step further; it's called the capacity to love, regardless of color - but also race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, etc.

"We were right 'til we weren't | Built a home and watched it burn" is an unmistakable reference to the rule of law (We were right!) and, by extension, the enduring, immutable power of the Constitution of the United States. Please read between the lines. The First Amendment's right there. Protect freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. Embrace the power of the Judiciary, and beware of that of the U.S. Supreme Court. Aliens are watching and that sort of thing.

But, hold on, if all of America – the nation – sings, I can love me better. The implications go through the roof. It's a rebuff to at all other countries out there. I, America, love me better than Russia – remember Ukraine and nuclear non-proliferation? I, America, love me better than China – remember Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the mistreatment of Uyghurs? I, America, love me better than Mexico – remember illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and… the wall? I, America, love me better than the Middle East – remember the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the spread of weapons of mass destruction among Iran and other regional states. I, America, love me better than Europe – remember trade policy, competition, and the complex defense ties.

"I can buy myself flowers | Write my name in the sand" is all about legacy, that part of theology concerned with death, final judgment, and the destiny of the soul and humankind. "Flowers" go way deeper than their roots, don't they? Quite a bunch of petals!

No wonder the song won numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards' Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance of the Year. But people don't get it. The Grammys are just for starters. She's up for more, the little one. How about the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prizes? Start with Peace and Literature, of course. How about Chemistry?