Miley Cyrus refreshes her sound with a country touch

CHELSEA FELTON

cmfelton17@ole.augie.edu

Miley Cyrus stunned her fans back in 2013 when she released Bangerz, an album that featured a new and edgy Miley throwing her Disney image off the shelf.

The album was chaotic and the 2015 release of Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz was just the train wreck to follow it. 

After the wow factor included in her past albums, many skeptics did not believe Cyrus could surprise them more than she already had. Many concluded she would retain her image as the crazy and over-the-top songstress she was accustomed to portray.

They were wrong.

Her latest album, Younger Now, was released Sept. 29 as Cyrus’ sixth studio album and each song flows with the waves of the ocean that inspired its creation.

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When “Malibu” was released over the summer, it featured a mellow beachy tone that put listeners at bliss. Over the course of the summer, the song was featured in many summer playlists. And with this new sound came a new Cyrus.

In the music video for “Malibu”, Cyrus removed her unhinged, fiery image and shines as she showcases a more bohemian and free-spirited nature.

Cyrus ran her music in the opposite direction with a softer sound, honest lyrics and even leaving some of the pop sounds behind and replacing it with the occasional country tone characteristic of Cyrus’ influences but never seen before in original work.

Cyrus, originally from Tennessee, brought country pop into Younger Now as part of the album’s theme of going back to her roots. And, having Billy Ray Cyrus as her father and Dolly Parton as her godmother, it is not hard to understand why she gravitated toward the genre.

Cyrus’ country roots are specially heard in “Rainbowland,” the album’s third track right after the singles “Younger Now” and “Malibu,” where she collaborates with Parton. The song is a throwback to an older country that was similar to the sound of country music played back in the 1950s while maintaining a modern beat.

Cyrus plays with more of the 50s style as she resembles Elvis Presley on the front cover of the album and in the music video for “Younger Now.”

As for songs such as “Inspire,” Cyrus aims to, as the song itself mentions, inspire her audience. She uses her craft to reflect on bigger issues and how people can better themselves and the world. In the song, she addresses topics like saving the bees and nature conservation.

The album’s sixth song, “I Would Die for You,” reaches out to a more vulnerable Miley as she confesses the strong love and affection she has for current boyfriend Liam Hemsworth. In the less than three minutes of song, she redeems both him and herself with raw vocals, painfully honest lyrics and a lone guitar as her voice’s companion. 

“I Would Die for You” strays from the heartbreak themes in Cyrus’ anthems like “Wrecking Ball,” further establishing Younger Now as a love letter to her musical and personal background and the stability she gets from her rekindled relationship.

Younger Now, both the album and the homonymous single, are a resemblance of how Cyrus feels younger today than she ever has in the past. She took on many adult tasks having been in show business since she was 11, so the song and the album are more of a reflection on Cyrus’ now youthful spirit.

Although the album is a drastic change in development for Cyrus, it lacks resonance. Vocally, the album is a bit stale and many of Cyrus’ past records have yet to showcase her vocal range.

Additionally, even though this sound is new to Cyrus, it is not new for listeners. The album is much like these before, leaving out the capability of being iconic.

Despite those small drawbacks, the direction Cyrus is headed embarks a new chapter for her music and is open to growth. 

This album shows Cyrus’ transition from an eccentric pop star to a serious asset in the music industry.

 

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