09/09/2013 AT 1:30 PM ET
When Miley Cyrus’s new video for the power ballad “Wrecking Ball” first starts, you’re left wondering, “Is this really a Miley video?” After all, the clip opens up on a closeup shot of the tearful singer. She’s wearing minimal makeup, apart from red lipstick. Her tongue is in her mouth, she’s not wearing any grills, and there’s nary a tweaking teddy bear in sight. Also, there’s no twerking.
And then the camera pulls back and she’s naked and swinging on a wrecking ball and licking a sledgehammer and you’re all, “Oh, there it is.”
Alternating between wearing white underwear and a tank top – or nothing at all – Cyrus clearly ignores all construction site guidelines when she uses a sledgehammer to bust apart a concrete room and writhes around on the rubble.
As the lyrics “All I wanted was to break your walls/All you ever did was wreck me” suggest, the Terry Richardson-directed video could symbolize a destructive relationship. Or, it could symbolize how she’s tearing down preconceived notions about what the former Disney darling is really like.
Or maybe she just really enjoys swinging on giant balls?