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How Gossip Helped Propel Miley Cyrus to the Top of the Charts


To the casual listener, Miley Cyrus’s January hit single “Flowers” is a sultry pop song with a feminist bent, an anthem celebrating self-love and independence. But to superfans like Joshua Molina, “Flowers” is a series of clues about Ms. Cyrus’s divorce from Liam Hemsworth.

Among the Easter eggs, according to fans: The song inverts the rhythm and lyrics of Bruno Mars’s “When I Was Your Man,” which supposedly has special meaning for Mr. Hemsworth and Ms. Cyrus. But while Mr. Mars sings, “I should’ve bought you flowers,” Ms. Cyrus’s version retorts, “I can buy myself flowers.” The song was also released on Jan. 13, Mr. Hemsworth’s birthday.


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