The Bruno Mars Connection To Miley Cyrus' Flowers Explained

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, or so they say. It's never really a secret when an artist incorporates a previously released song from another musician in their own tracks. This can take many forms, such as sampling a tune, recreating it, or even collaborating with the original artist. Recently, Miley Cyrus released "Flowers," the lead single from her new album "Endless Summer Vacation," which drew immediate comparisons to Bruno Mars' hit, "When I Was Your Man."

While we'll get into why (and how) that is in a bit, it's worth noting that another major inspiration for the song was allegedly Cyrus's ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth. According to Capital FM, rumors circulated that "When I Was Your Man" held a special place in their relationship because Hemsworth dedicated it to Cyrus at one point. While that bit is just hearsay, with neither celebrity sharing that story, the lyrics and release date are enough to pin it to Hemsworth anyway.

Is 'Flowers' a response to a Bruno Mars song and Liam Hemsworth?

You don't have to look very hard to see the similarities between Miley Cyrus's new song, "Flowers," and the 2012 Bruno Mars hit, "When I Was Your Man." The chorus of the "Hannah Montana" star's single responds to Mars's sentiments almost line-for-line. Mars croons, "I should have bought you flowers and held your hand," while also saying he should have given his girlfriend "all [his] hours" and taken her out to dance. Cyrus' chorus notes that she can buy herself flowers and "talk to myself for hours." It hits on finding self-love by also taking herself dancing and holding her own hand because, as she sings: "I can love me better than you can."

Yes, "Flowers" is undeniably a response to the message conveyed in "When I Was Your Man," but it is not solely a self-love anthem. According to People, fans have also drawn connections between "Flowers" and Cyrus's ex-partner, Liam Hemsworth. For instance, Cyrus announced the song would drop on January 13, which coincides with Hemsworth's birthday. Although it ultimately dropped on January 12 in America, it was still January 13 in Hemsworth's native Australia. Additionally, there's a lyric in the song that goes, "We built a home and watched it burn," potentially referring to the 2018 fire that destroyed Cyrus and Hemsworth's Malibu home.

Could Miley Cyrus get in legal trouble for similarities to Bruno Mars's song?

Typically, when a song copies a direct melody recording from another song and pastes it into a new one (known as sampling) or takes a melody from one song and re-records it for the new track (known as interpolating), the original songwriters are credited in the new work. Additionally, if a sample is used, the artist needs to obtain permission and pay for its use to avoid copyright infringement. However, that's not the case for Miley Cyrus' song "Flowers." Her melody isn't identical to Bruno Mars's "When I Was Your Man," even if the choruses sound alike. As Billboard writes, there aren't similarities in the production, just in subject, which isn't a crime. 

It's truly a case of being close but not the same. It's close enough that you can pinpoint that it's in response to "When I Was Your Man," but it's not directly pulling words or melodies from it. Therefore, it's not really a cause for copyright infringement or stealing. Plus, referencing an "older song is not considered grounds for infringement," per Billboard. It happens pretty often, especially in diss tracks, from Megan Thee Stallion's song "Plan B" to Taylor Swift fans assigning songs to her exes. So Cyrus gets to keep her flowers for this one.