The song is a dubstep and hip hop-influenced track, and discusses the difficulties in ending a romantic relationship; it has been widely speculated to have been inspired by Cyrus' former fiancé Liam Hemsworth.
"Drive" received generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics, who complimented its overall production and Cyrus' vocal delivery. Despite not having been released as a single, it peaked at number 87 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Cyrus first performed the song during her episode of MTV Unplugged in January 2014, and has also performed it during her Bangerz Tour.
Background and CompositionEdit
"Drive" was written by Mike Will Made It, Cyrus, Pierre Ramon Slaughter, and Samuel Jean; it was produced by Mike Will Made It, with co-production by P-Nasty, and engineered by Chris "Tek" O'Ryan. Stephen Hybicki recorded the song, which was later mixed by Jaycen Joshua assistance from Ryan Kaul. Cyrus commented that the song was written on Valentine's Day in 2013, which was "emotionally [...] such a hard time"; she elaborated that the track was "about needing to leave someone but not really wanting to completely cut yourself off from the relationship. It’s a time when you want to leave but you can’t. It’s also about moving on." It has been widely speculated to have been inspired by Cyrus' former fiancé Liam Hemsworth.
"Drive" is an "Electro-ballad" with prominent elements of Dubstep, Hip Hop and electronic dance music (EDM) along with R&B undertones. Carolyn Menyes from Mstarz noted that "deep electronic beats mark the instrumentation as Cyrus' voice weaves in and out of the powerful computerized wubs." Joseph Apodaca from On the Red Carpet considered the track to be a power ballad that featured a "wobbling beat", while John Walker from MTV News described it as "the climax of Miley’s musical breakup" that details "undesirable end that’s for the best"; he particularly noted the use of "explosive synth pulses". A 19-second snippet of "Drive" was leaked online on September 27, before the official release of its parent album Bangerz on October 8.
"Drive" received generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics. Writing for AllMusic, Heather Phares highlighted the "dubstep-like synths" used in the track as one of several "early-2010s trends" seen throughout Bangerz, and complimented that Cyrus "sounds more mature than ever before" on "Drive" and the closing track "Someone Else". Mikael Wood from Los Angeles Times felt that Cyrus "goes for [an] introspective quality" on "Drive", and added that Cyrus' vocals were "equally strong" on the following track "FU" as they were on "Drive". Christina Drill from Popdust stated that Cyrus' vocal delivery was "good", although she felt that it was "not the most impressive song on the album"; she further commented that the song could serve as a sequel to "Driveway" from Cyrus' second studio album Breakout (2008). Writing for Slant Magazine, Kyle Fowle spoke favorably of the track and opined that it "pulses and swirls like sweaty bodies on the dance floor." However, in a more mixed review, Jason Lipshutz from Billboard acknowledged that its production "zig-zags impressively", while also suggesting that its chorus failed to leave the impact that the refrain for "Wrecking Ball" did.
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