The child star is back. In her sixth solo album, Younger Now, Miley Cyrus trades in her foam finger for cowgirl boots. After stating she felt “over-sexualized,” Cyrus decided to leave her party-hard R&B style (Bangerz) and go back to her roots. This country-pop album is unlike anything Cyrus has done before.
Cyrus opens the album with the upbeat, album-titled song “Younger Now.” The song comes across as autobiographical — an explanation of her life the past couple of years. With the lyrics “No one stays the same,” it is apparent Miley is unapologetically recognizing she’s changed. “Change is a thing you can count on/ I feel so much younger now.” What can we expect from this younger-feeling Miley? That’s what this album sets out to answer.
“Rainbowland,” a duet with her godmother, Dolly Parton, makes a clear statement that Cyrus is channeling heartland Americana vibes. This is her au natural and unfiltered. Ballads such as “Miss You So Much” and “Inspired” showcase Cyrus’s strong vocals. In these songs she reminds listeners of what got her into the music industry—not her father, her voice. Cyrus has one of those voices that is impossible to confuse with any other’s.
Inspired by her on-again-off-again fiancé, Cyrus’s radio hit single, “Malibu,” is nothing but love and sunshine. Like most of the songs on this album, “Malibu” is candid and heartfelt. However, it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the country-pop album. It feels like it may have been an attempt to make the album more marketable; a business move that is understandable, but possibly upsetting.
“Bad Mood” succeeds as a soulful anthem. Overall, the album is tasteful. However, the easy-going melodies and thoughtless instrumentals of the album make it all too forgettable. “Playing it safe” has never been Cyrus’ mantra, but in Younger Now she seems to have done just that.
This album leaves one wondering who Cyrus is writing for. What is the intended audience of Younger Now? If it’s for die hard Hannah Montana millennials, she may have missed the mark. However, Cyrus seems to be targeting a whole new audience by her drastic change in genre. This is a bold move, but if done right could expand Cyrus’s fan base from millennial to multi-generational.
I myself am a huge Miley Cyrus fan. I stuck with her through her “promiscuous” years and was looking forward to witnessing her comeback through this album. After hearing her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” years ago on YouTube, it was clear to me the infinite potential this country-pop album could have. However, Cyrus disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong, every song is good, but few songs are great. This album leaves me wanting more. I can only hope that she will take more risks in her next album.
Recommended songs: “Bad Mood,” “Miss You So Much” and “I Would Die For You.”