Most of us know her for all the wrong reasons, but on Miley Cyrus’ latest album Younger Now, the teen-actor turned pop-provocateur appears to have transformed once again…
She rose to fame as an innocent teenager, which lead to a rebrand that left the world stunned. Her new rebellious character became known for unsavoury lyrics, racy dancing and much worse. To the outside world, this may have came across as some kind of breakdown, but whatever it was, she appears to have emerged from the other side. The new Miley is rekindling with her inner Hannah Montana, retreating back to her country roots.
Her father Billy Ray Cyrus is of course a huge country music star himself, and picked none other than Dolly Parton to be Miley’s godmother. Even though Miley leaned towards a more party-friendly style in the past, she cannot seem to shake what is in her blood. This album shows Miley’s safer side, but with a lack of musical risk taking she may lose her edge. Even the album’s title, Younger Now, suggests the full circle the 24 year old from Tennessee has taken to reach this point.
The opening seconds of the album are nothing but soft hiss and crackle, before a combination of electric and acoustic guitars kick off. Once Miley and her drummer get stuck in, the album’s introduction and title track “Younger Now” turns out to be a satisfying pop piece. As we move onto “Malibu” there are evidently country influences, her emotive vocal performance is full of classic tremolo and vibrato.
“Rainbowland” begins with an intriguing voicemail from Dolly Parton herself, speaking about how excited she is to sing with her goddaughter. This is probably the album’s most traditional point; each instrument would sound at home on an album that was released decades prior. Even if the story lacks some depth, and the lyrics are generally lacking, the idea of a heavenly place forces a smile at least. The idea of both of them in the studio is heartwarming, and as the song fades away we hear the rest of the voicemail: “You probably wrote that about some boy you loved, didn’t you?”
Younger Now features a hat-trick of love songs at its centre. “Week Without You”, “Miss You So Much”, and “I Would Die For You” are equally corny, but musically diverse. Their tame lyrical content and safe production is a stark contrast to her 2013 album Bangerz, but they will surely strike a chord with many fans. There are more cliches to pick from than philosophical poetry, and the accompanying music is equally plain. “Thinkin’” stands out with its energising rhythm and confident vocals. It is pop but with a tiny dose of attitude, something that the new Miley is missing. As she leaves R&B behind for now, it encourages her acoustic tracks like “Inspired” to be created. At track 11 it closes off the project, with a meticulous arrangement of plucked and bowed strings.
After the internet had a field day with 2013’s “Wrecking Ball”, and her on-stage antics receiving heavy criticism, it is unsurprising that Miley is choosing to move forward. This album may not receive the same media storm that came with Bangerz, but with a more consumable release, she can now hope for much more positive publicity surrounding Younger Now. Whether you’re a fan or not, this album is worth a listen, even if purely out of curiosity. Come and make your mind up at your local Richer Sounds today, where you can hear it in one of our demo rooms.