Miley Cyrus – Younger Now

Miley Cyrus - Younger NowMiley Cyrus has become one of the most unpredictable pop figures of the decade by doing her own thing and running with it. While some pop stars are believed to be hiding behind a corporate machine of image-builders and marketing teams, Miley has never given me any indication that everything she’s does in the last 6 or 7 years has been anything other than what she chooses to do or be at that point in time, so it comes as a surprise that her latest episode of unpredictability is to be so tame it’s almost painful.

Love it or hate it, Miley’s musical output in the 2010s has been at the very least interesting. Even her 2015 free-on-the-internet-but-not-really-an-album Dead Petz, as messy and drug-induced as it was, made for a single fascinating listen. On Younger Now, she’s dropped any sign of her previous image for clean and simple with lighter pop songs about love, heartbreak, and the idea that everything should or will be fine in the world. It’s like she was lectured to clean her room, wash the dishes and make sensible pop music that your 9-year-old child and 90-year-old grandparent can listen to – but not you. Music that lacks strong melodies, catchy hooks, or anything really to draw you back for repeated listens. Rainbowland, the song she recorded with godmother Dolly Parton, which on paper sounds like an instant highlight, is nothing more than a head-in-the-clouds cliche about living in a place where “skies are blue and things are grand.” Dolly mentions in a taped recording about writing a love song if things don’t work out. Is it too late? I Miss You So Much serves as an album highlight because of how Miley soars in the chorus but the song itself feels long. First single Malibu, which was a nice breezy pop song when released last summer, is the album’s only semi-hit and even that took a while to warm up to. Younger Now may be more focused and less polarizing than anything else Miley has put her name on since she revealed she can’t be tamed, but I’ll likely find myself revisiting Bangerz for my 2010s pop music fix.
Two Stars

1. Younger Now
2. Malibu
3. Rainbowland [featuring Dolly Parton]
4. Week Without You
5. Miss You So Much
6. I Would Die For You
7. Thinkin’
8. Bad Moon
9. Love Someone
10. She’s Not Him
11. Inspired

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