Review: ‘Younger Now’ a metamorphosis for Cyrus

October 19, 2017 — by Julia Miller

Reporter reviews Miley Cyrus's new album.

Sporting a sparkling silver, shoulder-padded dress, singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus nailed the high note of her new song, “Week Without You,” during the second day of “Miley Week” on the talk show, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” on Oct. 3.

As she strummed an iconic white Gretsch guitar, singing of desires to get wild while her lover is away, Cyrus’ deep, soothing voice sent shivers down listeners’ spines, leaving audience members shaking their heads at the marvel of her transformation.

Cyrus released her sixth studio album, “Younger Now,” on Sept. 29, taking us back to her Tennessee country roots, where her father, country singer-songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus, and mother, Tish Cyrus, raised her on a farm with her four other siblings.

This may be surprising to hear for many people, since Cyrus’s style has been far from country in recent years.

During the eras of her fourth and fifth studio albums, “Bangerz” and “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” Cyrus was known for her unpredictable, crazy shenanigans that cemented her bad reputation. Previously a Disney Channel star on her hit show, “Hannah Montana,” child fans and parents alike were shocked to see her go on her insane, provocative path.

But now, everything has changed. Since she began working on “Younger Now,” Cyrus claimed she has quit smoking marijuana and is cleaning up her act by toning down her swearing and wearing more clothes. Cyrus, in an interview with Fallon on June 15, ceased her marijuana addiction, because “to sit here and talk about what I’m doing, I wanted to be really clear … I’m actually the most passionate about what I’m doing with this record than I have been.”  

Cyrus released the first single off her new album titled “Malibu,” on May 11, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Tracks. For a Billboard magazine interview, Cyrus confirmed that the song is about her love for her fiancé, actor Liam Hemsworth. The pop ballad is centered around Cyrus’ newfound home with Hemsworth in Malibu after owning a house in Tennessee her entire life. Cyrus and Hemsworth reunited in 2015 after ending their engagement, and Cyrus even admits in her lyrics, “I never would’ve believed you if three years ago, you told me I’d be here writing this song.”

Fans were juggling between country and pop as the official genre for her new album when Cyrus’ second single off the album, “Younger Now,” was released on Aug. 18. It peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Top 100 list, and begins with a flowing river and ribbiting frogs from Cyrus’ own backyard. The song has a strong country undertone, with a slow rhythm and a bold bass guitar supporting Cyrus’ fruity singing voice.

Upon the release of “Younger Now,” it was concluded that “Malibu” was practically the only song without a country feel to it. Cyrus is graceful in every word she sings and has the power to calm her listeners with just her voice and an omnipresent guitar.

However, “Bad Mood” is among one of the album’s few country outliers. Accompanied by echoing “oh’s,” Cyrus sings of the anger she holds in her heart for feeling unappreciated by someone she loves. Like a heartbeat, a rhythmic thumping in the background symbolizes her unwavering support for this relationship to work, despite her irritation.

Cyrus was the sole writer for “Younger Now,” with just one collaboration on the song, “Rainbowland,” with her godmother, country icon and actress Dolly Parton. The song begins with an excerpt from a voicemail Parton left for Cyrus about recording the track and fades into a strong electric guitar and a beating tambourine. Cyrus and Parton share their optimism for a equal, peaceful world on “Rainbowland,” similar to that of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

For Smilers that still jam to Cyrus’ pop anthems of the last five years, I sadly have to admit “Younger Now” may not be the album for you. Nevertheless, die-hard fans of Cyrus, like me, never grow tired of her no matter what genre she sings.



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