In 2019, the sci-fi suspense series Black Mirror capped its fifth season with the episode "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too," starring Miley Cyrus as the titular fictional pop star, Ashley O.
Unlike Cyrus' other TV alter ego, the wholesome Hannah Montana, Ashley O channeled the futuristic synth-heavy pop styles of real-world "contemporaries" like Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, Poppy, Ava Max, and Allie X. For the episode's musical content, Black Mirror tapped an unlikely source: industrial metal mainstays Nine Inch Nails. Receiving approval from Trent Reznor, the show put a subversive spin on NIN classic "Head Like a Hole," transforming the 1989 Pretty Hate Machine single into "On a Roll," a biting parody that turned the original into a motivational cry. With Teeth downer "Right Where It Belongs" received appropriately dour treatment on the show itself in a pivotal scene for Cyrus' character. However, with the Ashley O treatment, the track became the jarring "Right Where I Belong," another cleverly twisted empowerment anthem. While the episode itself made sure to show the ugly truth beneath the manufactured pop sheen, the official Ashley O singles blurred the line between fiction and reality, becoming meta pop hits in the real world for Cyrus and exposing Nine Inch Nails to an unlikely pop-loving audience. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi