From swinging naked on a wrecking ball to modestly frolicking in grassy fields, Miley Cyrus has officially pulled back from her risqué persona and delved into a much calmer, mature country aesthetic in her new album “Younger Now,” released on Friday.
This cleaner, inoffensive project marks Cyrus’ return home to her Nashville roots. Those who have enjoyed dancing to her upbeat, often provocative music may find it a bit too sleepy.
Cyrus started her career in 2006 as a Disney Channel starlet on the hit show “Hannah Montana,” and has gone through a vast amount of transitions throughout the past decade. She took off with hits such as “Nobody’s Perfect,” where she started her era as one of the pinnacles of the pop genre. This continued into her adulthood, through songs such as “Can’t Be Tamed,” where Cyrus shed her childish label and proved to the world she had grown up. But she did not hold on to the pop genre for long.
The album starts off on a slower note with its two, previously released parent singles. The love song “Malibu,” in which Cyrus seems to refer to her relationship with fiancé Liam Hemsworth, pokes at the fact that she lost out on a normal childhood. Though the lyrics aren’t particularly chilling, those who have followed Cyrus’ personal life may pay tribute.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and you’re there to save me,” she sings, “and I wanna thank you with all my heart. It’s a brand new start.”
Having Dolly Parton as a godmother seems quite a perk for Cyrus as the two collaborated once more on the third track “Rainbowland.” The single snags listeners’ attention by kicking off with a recording of a voicemail from Parton, but quickly turns into a classic Parton tune. Regardless, it’s a stunning change for Cyrus.
Carrying on her newfound pop-country genre, she fills the rest of the album with simplistic, sometimes sappy, foot-tapping lyrics at best. The track “Thinkin” kicks repetition into high gear.
“I’ve been thinkin’ way too much, much, much, much,” she sings.
Though Cyrus’ singing seems moderately enhanced in each track, her famous, or sometimes infamous, coarse voice shines through. The album mirrors Cyrus’ wild to mild transition by ending the album on a slower note - very slow. “Inspired,” arguably the most beautiful and unstrained track of the album, was originally written in support of Hillary Clinton a week before Cyrus began to campaign for her.
“You’re the handle on the door that opens up the change,” she sings. “I know that sounds so strange, because you always felt so small, but know you aren’t at all.”
It’s been five years since the release of Cyrus’ last album, “Bangerz,” which debuted fan-favorite songs “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop” and carried a hip-hop vibe throughout each track. Cyrus shocked the world with her twerking and racy attire on and off stage, or rather lack thereof. Proceeding this came the experimental, psychedelic album “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” in which the RIAA marked over half of the songs as explicit and included titles such as “I’m So Drunk” and “F****ing F***ed Up.”
We must consider that Cyrus has gone through as many transitions in the past decade as some artists have in a lifetime. This leaves us to question; where she will go from here? Is this milder Miley officially the real her, or will a new Miley emerge in just a short while?