Miley Cyrus returns to her Younger roots

Photo courtesy of | Cyrus debuts her new album, Younger Now, with a return to her country sound, but with her own spunky Miley twist. 

Miley Cyrus, the artist widely known by millennials as both Hannah Montana and the woman who twerked with a foam finger at the VMAs in 2015, seems to have found the best of both worlds in her recent album release, Younger Now.

Her first full-length project since Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz was released for free on SoundCloud in 2015. Younger Now clearly demonstrates Cyrus’ return to her Nashville country roots while maintaining her stake in the realm of pop. It’s a far cry from her wade into hip-hop in Bangerz (2013), and as a result, Cyrus has faced criticism of culturally appropriating hip-hop and then subsequently discarding that culture when it was no longer useful to her.

That said, Cyrus’ voice is clearly more suited for a country-pop aesthetic, and Younger Now is clear proof of this.

The new album opens with the titular track that was released as a single on Aug. 18. In the song, Cyrus croons about waking from a dream in a reference to her literal transformation from the Miley who swung naked on a wrecking ball to a Miley more in touch with her country roots.

Immediately following “Younger Now,” the album’s other single, “Malibu,” takes listeners into Cyrus’ rekindled relationship with again-fiancé Liam Hemsworth.

Both “Younger Now” and “Malibu” were released as singles before the album, and opening with these songs gives the listener a familiar start while making abundantly clear that nobody’s perfect and Cyrus has changed ways.

“Rainbowland” begins with what sounds like a cassette recording that Cyrus’ “fairy” godmother, Dolly Parton, made for her. It’s definitely the most adorable use of voicemail-like recording on a song, and Parton’s harmonies throughout the track make it one worth listening to.

What follows is a series of love songs in “Week Without You,” “Miss You So Much” and “I Would Die For You.” All are twangy with some good rhythms but some questionable quality lyrics, such as “When you look up at a rainbow, do you ever wonder what’s really waiting at the end?”

“Thinkin” and “Bad Mood” are the only two tracks on the album with even a little Bangerz-like feel to them. “Bad Mood” is all of us every Monday morning as Cyrus sings “I always wake up in a bad mood,” and it’s probably the best song on the album that wasn’t released as a single beforehand.

Cyrus juxtaposes interesting opposites in “Love Someone” and “She’s Not Him.” “Love Someone” is a scathing rejection: “Be a cold day in hell before I’d ever be your wife.” “She’s Not Him” is also a rejection but a much less vicious one, and along with denying a lover, it also questions the heteronormative binary since the lover she’s rejecting is a “she.”

Cyrus closes out the album with “Inspired,” her tribute to the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. The song starts out singing about bees and trees and ends with the existential question: “Is anyone watching us down here?” Lyrically, it’s a far cry from the best song on the album, and as a song overall, it’s not much better.

If you Google reviews for Younger Now, you won’t find much of anything positive. Overall, it’s being regarded as “uninspired.” Personally, though, I like it. It’s chill and kind of country but also not, and as someone who admittedly doesn’t know much about the mechanics of music, it’s just kind of nice to listen to.

By: Jessica Griggs ~Editor-In-Chief~