Miley Cyrus returns to country routs on Younger Now album
Miley Cyrus showed herself to be a true chameleon. In the past few years she transformed from Disney actress, to controversial hiphop inspired pop star, to indie, trippy electronic pop artist who drops an album on Soundcloud. Her latest reinvention however, is a return to her roots. As the daughter of country singer and songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus, it is no surprise Miley finally released her first proper country pop album as well. A Bit of Pop Music guides you through the record Younger Now with a track by track review.
01. Younger Now
The album opens with title track and second single ‘Younger Now’. I still for the life of me can’t grasp the fact that this track is making little to no impact on the international charts. Ok, I admit, it took me two or three spins to properly get into it as well, but once I got to that point, that uplifting chorus never really left my head anymore. The production swings, the lyrics are cute and honest and vocally this is only the start of an impressive run on this album.
‘Malibu’ was the first single that kicked off this new era and a completely different sound for Miley. It grew out to be quite the summer hit, for which it was definitely intended. It is hard not to get a warm feeling from this breezy single that is so full of her love for her boyfriend. Both lyrically and in terms of melody, ‘Malibu’ is simple, yet effective. For sure one of the best pop singles of the year.
03. Rainbowland (feat. Dolly Parton)
No surprise that Miley’s godmother Dolly Parton joined in for this album, after featuring on Kesha’s recent return to her country roots Rainbow. ‘Rainbowland’ is easily the most country Younger Now gets and it is absolutely lovely. From Dolly’s cute voicemail to the hippie spirited lyrics and the beautiful blend of their voices, this is everything a Miley and Dolly duet should be!
04. Week Without You
Promo single ‘Week Without You’ definitely is the retro moment of the record. It easily captures the romantic spirit of the jukebox days with a laidback, light rock-‘n-roll instrumental and a big, soaring chorus. In the lyrics Miley wonders what it would be like to spend a week without the boyfriend who ‘stomped her heart to the ground’ only to realize she does not want to miss him. We’ve all been there Miley!
05. Miss You So Much
Speaking of Miley’s vocals having improved over the years, ‘Miss You So Much’ is proof! The slow burning country pop ballad carefully builds to a chorus in which Miley belts her heart out. Lyrically the song is all about fear of losing the one you love, while Miley keeps asking herself the question: “How can I miss you so much when you are right here?” Powerful stuff and easily one of the absolute highs on Younger Now.
06. I Would Die For You
Light rock ballad ‘I Would Die For You’ is easy to forget about coming after ‘Miss You So Much’ so don’t be ashamed if you have no idea what it sounded like after your first spin of the record. It’s totally normal! If you give the track a bit more attention though, it unfolds like a lovely little tune with an endearing chorus and beautifully understated vocal work.
‘Thinkin” is the most poppy moment of Younger Now if we don’t count the singles. The repetition in the chorus is catchy as hell and the drum heavy pop rock production underlines the melodies perfectly. This could work as a next single, but then again, why bother if the brilliant ‘Younger Now’ does not even light up the charts!?
08. Bad Mood
Judging by its title, it should not be surprising that ‘Bad Mood’ is a moody piece of pop. In the lyrics Miley is deciding if she should end a dysfunctional relationship as it is ruining her vibe from the moment she wakes up. Not one of the most memorable tunes of the record, but it definitely deserves its place.
09. Love Someone
Guitar heavy ‘Love Someone’ starts out slowly, but builds up to one of the more memorable choruses of Younger Now with an easygoing melody and some feisty lyrics. Miley states she knew all along that the person who the song is about, never was the one. Her more raw vocal work is excellent here!
10. She’s Not Him
Miley moves us the most on the quiet, acoustic ballad ‘She’s Not Him’. She describes a situation in which you badly want to fall for a person that treats you better, but there is nothing that person can do to keep your mind off a former lover that keeps on hunting you. Miley lays her soul bare here with painfully honest lyrics and a faultless vocal performance. This will be such a moment when performed live!
‘Inspired’ was released as second song from the album, back in June. Miley dedicated it to Pride month, encouraging people to follow their dreams. Although the sentiment is of course beautiful, the lyrics border on being cheesy and I think the album could have done without it. As an album closer however, it actually works surprisingly well!
Although the first half of Younger Now is definitely more memorable than the second, Miley did deliver a cohesive album that showcases her musical talent as well as her vocal growth. I doubt that they have a shot at another hit single with this and the commercial performance of the record might not be up to Miley’s standards, but she did take a risk that pays off at least artistically.