Miley Cyrus is all grown up. Not just grown up like she has her driver’s license and can now buy booze from her local convenience store. She’s matured and this is all obvious when listening to her recently released album Younger Now.
I think it’s safe to say that long gone are the days of Miley Cyrus twerking her way down the stage at the VMAs. While I’m sure that fateful day will be one that Miley will be talking about well into her senior years, it’s also satisfying to see that she’s not taken a position of melodrama or antagonism when talking about it. That night is part of her past now and an experience she learned a hard lesson from but was still able to turn into something positive. After all, it was all the buzz that particular performance got that caused Miley to realize the powerful position she’s in. It was then that she decided to use it to give those without a voice a platform from which to finally be heard, thusly, starting the Happy Hippie Foundation.
“Younger Now” and “Malibu” are decidedly the two most highlighted tracks of her new album, both of them revealing a more mature, more conscientious Miley. The lyrics in both of these songs reveal reflective and honest ideas and thoughts, written from a place of growth.
The track “Rainbowland” featuring her godmother Dolly Parton is a peppy old country tune, speaking simply about wanting to make the world a better place. More than in any other track, here is where Miley decides to really delve into her country roots. The whole album in itself is a bit like Pop Miley meets Country Miley and they fuse. In a way, “Rainbowland” also stands for Miley still giving the proverbial finger to anyone that may still be trying to fit her into a box. How many artists 25 and under are featuring country icons in their albums lately? Not many that wouldn’t laugh in your face if you even suggested it. I’ve seen reviews try to put the album down for failing to make a full commitment to country, to which I say, does she have to? It’s f*cking Miley, she can do what she wants.
She has fun in “Week Without You” a tune that reminisces of something Elvis Presley might sing if he were young and alive today. Then she gets serious again in the following tracks, tuning into a more folksy sound in “I Would Die For You” and a few other tracks that sound like stuff she might’ve written while she and Liam Hemsworth were still broken up. She comes right back full circle to tap into that newfound depth and desire to help others with a song entitled “She’s Not Him.” This is a song clearly written about her own pansexuality and perhaps alluding to that time when she had a short fling with Victoria’s Secret Angel Stella Maxwell after her much publicized break up with Liam. Here Miley not only speaks of what’s in her heart but also takes a moment to create awareness, hopefully allowing people who listen to this song realize that the world is far from a black and white place. It’s a small attempt at normalizing a topic that far too many still have trouble barely tolerating.
I find irony in how Miley Cyrus, who was for a while the punch line of 2013, is now bringing us more mature music with positive and inspiring messages. Younger Now is proof that a young millennial artist/singer does have the ability to write music that’s honest, relatable, and personal without being petty, vengeful or spiteful. *COUGHTAYLORSWIFTCOUGH* Whoo! Sorry, was choking on my tea there for a second.
Is Younger Now Miley Cyrus’ most memorable work? No. It’s not even her best work, to be completely honest. The album feels a bit bland and boring at times, save for three tracks that we already know are going to be singles: “Malibu,” “Younger Now,” and “Week Without You.” But Miley’s vocals are as on point as they ever have been. She’s always had talent oozing out of her and it gives me joy to no end to see her finally putting that talent to good use. She’s not just finally making music that’s coming from her heart, she’s also making use of her spotlight to bring awareness to topics that will only help bring more progress and harmony to the world.
It may not be her best record on file but it’s by far one of the most sincere and heartfelt and that’s worth more than all the money her entire album repertoire could ever accumulate. With Younger Now, Miley has arrived at that Lemonade moment of her career when she can start making music for herself and stop making music just to sell, to prove a point, or worse yet, out of revenge. Miley’s newfound maturity has brought her to understand that music can be so much more than just an art of expression. If used well, it can be the tool used to part seas and lead people into exodus.