Miley Cyrus has released so many songs throughout her career that she has trouble remembering what they all sound like. During her Thursday, December 13th appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” singer, 26, played a musical game with Fallon and the Roots. Although the task at hand sounded simple—merely identifying a popular song—the band made things difficult by only playing each tune only one instrument at a time.
Struggling throughout the game, Cyrus had only correctly identified two out of five songs before The Roots started playing a melody that the singer didn’t immediately recognize, but quickly made her want to dance. As it became clear to the audience that the song was her massive hit “Party in the USA,” Cyrus continued appearing to have no idea what was going on until the opening guitar chords started playing.
With a smile on her face, she hit her buzzer to identify the song. “It took you that long to get that one,” Fallon replied, breaking out into laughter. “I wish I had a No. 1 song they could play.”
“That I don’t recognize,” Cyrus added. Cyrus also made an exciting announcement on the show: that she’d be releasing a new song at midnight. The track, a cover of John Lennon’s holiday classic, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” was made in collaboration with Mark Ronson and John’s son, Sean Ono Lennon.
Opening up about the new song, which she’ll be performing this week on Saturday Night Live, Cyrus remarked, “We wanted to do a Christmas song and I don’t think anything could speak louder.” As for what it was like to work with Sean, she added, “He’s just such an incredible being to be in the room with because that magic just radiates.”
“I’ve always loved John and Yoko, I’m such a big Yoko fan, so it’s just been amazing to work with him,” Cyrus remarked. “His voice is just so special and I think more than just inheriting the voice or the way he looks, or whatever that is, it’s about the magic that he has and I think that’s what he’s really inherited more than anything.”
In November, Cyrus and Ronson released “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” a futuristic country-tinged tune off of Ronson’s first solo album in four years, Late Night Feelings, which will be released in March. While promoting the track on The Graham Norton Show earlier this month, the pair opened up about how the song came to be, with Ronson explaining that he’d been wanting to work with Cyrus for a long time.
“I saw Miley on the television singing on the Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary—and I knew she could sing and everything—but I saw her sing Paul Simon’s ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ in a way where I was just transfixed. So I got her number, and I started texting her and was like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to make some music.’ And then four days went by, with nothing,” he remarked.
Cyrus, however, had a different account. “This is the part I don’t remember,” she said. “I feel like I must have sent an emoji at least. The broken heart emoji is great because when people say they love the song, you just put the broken heart emoji.”
“I think you would text me back after a few weeks and just write, ‘What’s up?’ ” Ronson remembered. Cyrus agreed, saying, “Probably late at, like, four in the morning.”
Though the idea of working together took years to finally turn into a reality, Cyrus said she thinks it happened for a reason. “I believe…in my family we’ve always talked about timing and trusting the universe and always trusting timing—that everything always works out when it should. And we’ve said it multiple times in the studio that any time before this would have not been right and any time after this would have been too far away,” she revealed. “I think it’s perfect timing with this song, at the time it’s out in the world.”
“It’s just such a timely song for me and my personal life and what’s going on in the world,” Cyrus added, turning to Ronson. “I wouldn’t have it any other way than sitting with you right now, right here.”