Given the track’s sentimental subject matter — she addresses her recent split from longtime partner Liam Hemsworth — Monday night’s performance was aptly emotional and sophisticated in equal measure. The entire thing was shot in black and white and Cyrus’ fierce, impassioned vocals were accompanied by a full ensemble of string and brass players.
“Once upon a time, it was made for us/ Woke up one day, it had turned to dust/ Baby, we were found, but now we’re lost,” she sang. “So it’s time to let it go.”
Stream the video replay below, and catch all this year’s VMA performances here.
Update August 27th — See that new tattoo on Miley’s left arm? Turns out it’s a lyric from a Pixies B-side, and seemingly about Hemsworth.