Miley Cyrus – ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ Review: A powerful recycling of power

A love letter to Los Angeles and, indeed, herself, Cyrus’ eighth record may appear subdued by her standards, but it remains remarkably intriguing

Miley Cyrus’ eighth studio album arrives on a cloud of mystery, which is unusual for an artist who isn’t exactly the shy and retiring type. Cyrus is a straight-talker who usually plays for laughs on the promo circuit, but since co-hosting a New Year’s Eve special with her godmother, Dolly Parton, she’s made a Has kept a curiously low profile and has even remained silent on social media. By the week of its release, all we really knew about “Endless Summer Vacation” is what Cyrus tells us on the chart-winning “Flowers,” its inescapable and radically self-proclaimed lead single: “I’m Better Than You I can love.”

If ‘Flowers’ finds Cyrus rebuilding herself after the break-up – “We were right ’til we built the house / And watched it burn down” – then the album is a more nuanced, more complex account of this process. Seems like an extension. Over the dreamy ‘Rose Colored Lens’, she looks back on the best days of a relationship when “somehow the bed sheets are as dirty as sticky sweet lemonade”. But the fierce “Muddy Feet,” which features Sia on backing vocals and sounds like Lana Del Rey jamming with Kings of Leon circa 2016, is wrong with Cyrus and fighting back: “And you smell like perfume.” That I didn’t buy / Now I know why you’re closing the curtains / Get the hell out of my house! Cyrus’ rage is totally fuming.

‘You’, a bar room ballad that appears to be about a rebound relationship, can also be read as a rejection of heterosexual expectations. Cyrus, a queer, pansexual woman married to actor Liam Hemsworth from 2018 to 2020, sings, “I ain’t made for no horse and carriage.” , Cyrus hinted that she might not be completely LTR-oriented just yet. “There’s something between us that’s too big to ignore,” she sings in a crisp staccato. “Can’t be eternal but nocturnal, nothing else.”

Musically, ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ is one of Cyrus’ more subdued efforts, but it’s also full of surprises that recall her past era. “Rose Colored Lenses,” one of six songs written by Cyrus with Harry Styles’ producers Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, climaxes in a psychedelic vortex that sounds like something off “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” an experimental 2015 album. . With The Flaming Lips. Infectious second single ‘River’, which Cyrus describes as a “dancefloor banger” with “dirty” lyrics, feels like a relative of her Stevie Nicks-inspired hit ‘Midnight Sky’. And, in a way, ‘Violet Chemistry’ is a cooler, more brooding update of the bouncy electro-pop sound that Cyrus mined on her 2010 album ‘Can’t Be Tamed’.

Cyrus has called ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ her “love letter” to LA, the city she moved to as a teenager when she landed her career-launching role in the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. She has also said that the album is divided into parts: an ‘am’ opening part “represents the morning time, where there’s a buzz and an energy and … the possibility of new possibilities”, followed by a The ‘PM’ closing section is “slinky seediness and a scum but a glamor at the same time”. The split is not super-accentuated, but with the exception of ‘Flower’, the second half of the album contains its most obvious hits. Cyrus is a seasoned genre-hopper, but the lovely, reggae-flecked ‘Island’ sounds like something new for Cyrus.

Generally, the opening stretch finds Cyrus in more familiar musical territory. ‘Thousand Miles’ is a country-themed collaboration with Brandi Carlile; ‘U’ allows her to show off her powerful throat vocals, and ‘Zed’ contains echoes of ’90s alt-rock anthems like The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie,’ a song Cyrus has covered in the past. Have done The album’s major curveball falls right in the middle: ‘Handstand’, a psychedelic fever dream co-written, somewhat haphazardly, by offbeat American film director Harmony Korine. The song’s trippy production and cryptic lyrics – “It’s like you saw a unicorn, you don’t understand / How I do what I’m doing in the fucking handstand” – feel like another nod to the ‘Dead Petz’ era. Do it.

It all adds up to an album that holds your full attention, even if it’s not Cyrus’ boldest or most visionary. ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ certainly feels like an accurate reflection of who I am as an artist — and a person — in 2023. She’s still working out what she wants out of a relationship. She knows she can pull off a variety of musical styles even when she’s not trying to make a banger (or ‘bangerz’). And when she sings “But don’t forget, baby I’m a wildcard” on the third-to-last song, you’ll definitely believe her.


  • Release date: March 10, 2023
  • Record label: Columbia Records

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