Miley Cyrus' 'Once Upon a Time' Lyrics Are a Bittersweet Farewell to Her Past Era

Miley Cyrus can hold her own hand, and she's doing it as she emotionally says goodbye to her past self. On August 25, the Grammy nominee released her new single "Used To Be Young" after weeks of anticipation, marking the first time since she was 13 in 2007 as Hannah Montana. For fans who have been following Hannah Montana since her debut, this is a truly tear-jerking song. .

In "Once Young," the 30-year-old singer looks back at her entire career, from her Hannah Montana and her foam-finger-waving Bangerz days to her more relaxed and confident mindset today , as she demonstrated with her 2023 #1 hit "Flowers." “You say I was once wild, I say I was once young,” she sings sweetly in the chorus, over melancholic piano chords and strings reminiscent of her iconic ballad “The Climb.” The song serves as a pseudo-ending of sorts and the beginning of her next chapter. However, she has no regrets about any of this. "Screwed up, but God, was it fun," she said at the end. "Those wasted nights were not wasted, I remember every one of them."

During her Endless Summer Vacation: Carry On (Backyard Sessions) special, Cyrus confirmed that "Once Young" was a sign of things to come. “It’s optimistic but also sad, which makes it sad and happy at the same time,” she said. "More importantly, this song is about looking to the future and where I'm going."

Cyrus expresses this melancholic sentiment in the song's striking yet emotional video, which sees her emerging from a dark space to sit in front of the camera. Cyrus wore a vintage Mickey Mouse T-shirt under a shimmering Margiela bustier, paying homage to her Disney Channel days. Cyrus bursts into tears as she belts out the lyrics, ending with a big smile and shrug, symbolizing how she's come to terms with her past and taken it upon herself to carry her into the next phase of her life.

Cyrus said on Instagram that she started writing "Once Young" nearly two years ago when recording sessions for "Endless Summer" began, but decided to hold off on the song and refine it — a process she said would Carry on despite it being in the world. "I felt misunderstood at the time," she wrote. "Over the past 18 months, I've been painting a sonic picture of my perspective to share with you all. It's time to release a song that I can take forever to perfect. While my work is done, this song The fact that it’s still unfinished is part of its beauty. It’s unfinished but complete.”

Read the full lyrics to "Once Upon a Time" below.

The truth is invulnerable
no one can lie to you
I dress differently
I told you that I was the person yesterday
we have parted ways
Leave my life somewhere in the past
Because it was a car chase
Turns out open bars can lead to heartbreak
and went too far
[chorus]
I know I was crazy
I know I used to be funny
You said I was once wild
I said I was young once
You tell me time has changed me
It's okay, I ran fine
I know I was crazy
That's because I was young
Take one and pour it out
not worth crying
Things you can't erase
Like tattoos and regrets
things i never said
And those who escaped
Leave my life somewhere in the past
and took another path
As a result, the crowded room quickly vacated
There are other places to go -ohhhhh
I know I was crazy
I know I used to be funny
You said I was once wild
I said I was young once
You tell me time has changed me
It's okay, I ran fine
I know I was crazy
That's because I was young
Oh oh oh
I know I was crazy
Screwed up, but boy, was it fun.
I know I was wild
That's because I was young
Those wasted nights were not wasted
I remember every one
I know I was crazy
That's because I was young
You tell me time has changed me
It's okay, I ran fine
I know I was crazy
That's because I was young