“Once upon a time, it was paradise. Once upon a time, I was paralyzed. Think I'm gonna miss these harbor lights. But it's time to let it go,” Miley sings in the first verse. This seems like a direct reference to her split with husband Liam, even though she loved the infatuation once upon a time but it seems the time is right to be apart and let go.
Source: Seventeen Magazine
Miley continues in the first verse, “Once upon a time, it was made for us. Woke up one day, it had turned to dust. Baby, we were found, but now we're lost.” Miley is referring both to her relationship with Liam and also the real incident where the couple’s house burnt down during wildfires.
In the next couple of lines, Miley seems to be taking shots at her husband and his alleged drug and partying tendencies. “I want my house in the hills. Don't want the whiskey and pills. I don't give up easily. But I don't think I'm down” The cover of the song shows a drowned bottle of alcohol and pills floating around in the water. Even though the couple’s representatives said, the couple was separating because they wanted to focus on themselves and their career, but later Miley’s camp attributed the break up to Liam’s partying and his overindulgence in drugs. This is what the cover of the song and the two lines of lyrics are referring to.
“So won't you slide away? Back to the ocean, I'll go back to the city lights,” Miley sings at the start of the chorus. There are various meanings to this particular line one is, she is using the ocean as a metaphor for love and relationship, but the obvious purpose of the line is a reference to Miley’s previous song. In 2017 during the summer Miley released a song called 'Malibu', where she sang, “I never came to the beach or stood by the ocean. I never sat by the shore under the sin with my feet in the sand. But you brought me here, and I’m happy that you did. ‘Cause now I’m free, as birds catchin’ the wind.”
Listen: To the song released by Miley Cyrus about her split from husband Liam
The song Malibu was about Miley and Liam rekindling their relationship after a long break up in 2017. Now it seems she wants her love for Liam to just slide away into the ocean where the couple walked together after “refalling” in love.
Also, another reference to the ocean could be a reference to the fact Miley and Liam met in the movie 'The Last Song' which was a beach film, the first meeting coupled with Liam being an avid surfer also the Malibu song set in the ocean. The reference to the ocean seems like an apt metaphor for her relationship with Liam over the years.
The most telling line which makes it apparent the song is about Liam is in the final pre-chorus and outro. Miley sings, “Move on; we're not 17 I'm not who I used to be,” which is a clear reference to the fact Miley was 17 when she filmed The Last Song starring opposite Liam.
‘Slide Away’ was the third song Miley sang about her relationship with Liam after the first break up song ‘Wrecking Ball’ and the reconciliation song ‘Malibu.’ Maybe when she releases her next album, we will get to hear her talk about her new relationship with Kaitlynn Carter.
Source: Page Six
Miley is back in Los Angeles with Kaitlynn, both of them arrived together on Wednesday and Liam is still with his family in Australia.