Story by Blake Holliday / Contributing Writer
It’s normal for pop stars and celebrities to reinvent or revamp their image, which Miley Cyrus has shown countless times over the years. Throughout her career, she’s gone from Disney sweetheart to free-loving hippie, and now with her latest album, she brings it all back to her country roots. For such a dynamic and eclectic artist, Cyrus’ new album, “Younger Now,” is a surprising yet familiar shift in sound and image.
Even before “Bangerz” and the infamous twerking phase, Cyrus released covers of various raw, soulful hits, such as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” in a video series called “Backyard Sessions.” Cyrus’ new album seems to be a shift in this direction by sporting a pop-country sound with various rock ‘n’ roll influences, such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
The album’s tone is very light, boasting mellow guitars, melodic fiddles and soft vocals that evoke playful yet bittersweet emotions. The title track, “Younger Now,” is an upbeat pop-rock anthem that blatantly sets the tone and message of the album.
She proclaims, “No one stays the same / You know what goes up must come down / Change is a thing you can count on / I feel so much younger now.” This proclamation of reinvention pays homage to her former works: “Even though it’s not who I am / I’m not afraid of who I used to be.”
Other standout pieces from the project include “Malibu,” which served as the premiere single released from the album. “Malibu” is an airy love song that is believed to be about her rekindled relationship with former ex-fiancé Liam Hemsworth. Love, romance and heartbreak all seem to be major motifs throughout the album, as heard in the songs “I Would Die For You,” “Love Someone” and “She’s Not Him.”
One of the most intriguing and anticipated songs from this album is “Rainbowland,” which features Cyrus’ godmother and country legend Dolly Parton. The song’s melody is light and idyllic, and it discusses how society can make a difference to create a loving and peaceful world.
“Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are / Let’s all dig down deep inside / Brush the judgment and fear aside / Make wrong things right and end the fight,” Parton and Cyrus proclaim.
The final song on the album is “Inspired,” which reminisces on a picturesque childhood living in the country with her dad. Although it could come off as cheesy, Cyrus’ melody and lyrics create an emotional impact that brings the album to a solid end.
Overall, Miley Cyrus’ “Younger Now” is a complete one-eighty from her previous work. From the raucous, hip-hop inspired “Bangerz” to the psychedelic “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” she has constantly evolved her sound into various genres. “Younger Now” is a country-inspired pop album that provides a nice shift in tone and aesthetics. Though the album is lacking spectacle and energy, there are multiple shining moments in Cyrus’ lyrical imagery and melodies that make it worth a listen.
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