Miley Cyrus

As someone born in the late nineties, I got to spend a good portion of my childhood listening to Hannah Montana and watching her on TV living in the best of both worlds. As I grew up, I watched the girl under the wig, Miley Cyrus do that as well, and I’m always interested to see how she navigates life as a woman who became famous from a young age. Not to mention, how much her music has evolved over the years. So, when I heard she was releasing her 8th studio album, Endless Summer Vacation, I knew I had to sit down and write out my thoughts on each song.

Flowers: This song seems to be Cyrus’s way of giving herself closure on her past relationships. Her widely talked about on-again-off-again relationship with Liam’s Hemsworth was sure to take a toll on her mental health. Not to mention the drama that ensued afterwards where everything they did was considered to be a dig at the other, especially dating other people. There was also talks of Liam possibly finding Miley to be ‘weird,’ and I think the song alludes to that when she sings “talk to myself for hours, say things you don’t understand.” Regardless of all of that, Miley is saying that she can love herself better than anyone else can, and I find that kind of self-empowerment to be very important in this day and age. So, I have to commend Cyrus for giving us the self-love anthem we all need. I’ve already listened to this song many times, and I’m sure I will be hearing it all over the place this year.

Jaded: The second song on this album made it abundantly clear to me why it’s called Endless Summer Vacation; because the musicality of the songs really give you summer vibes. Something about the instrumental breaks just remind me of laying out on the beach without a care in the world. This song, however, seems to be about a less relaxing relationship. With lyrics like “we went to hell, but we never came back,” it’s obvious that the song is about a toxic relationship that there was just no recovering. Cyrus apologizes to her past lover for how upset they may be over how things ended, but she’s not thrilled about it either. It seems to be alluding to an ending of a relationship where it was best for things to end, but it still hurt both parties. I’m sure many people can relate to this song, and I can see it getting quite popular, but it wasn’t my favorite on the album.

Rose Colored Lenses: This song was my absolute favorite, but more for the musicality than the lyrics. The funky drum beat mixed with the prominent base and subtle guitar riffs flowed very nicely. As for the lyrics, they speak about the beginning of a relationship where you’re “wearing rose colored lenses” and ignoring all the red flags. It may not be the healthiest relationship, but it’s fun, and Cyrus seems to wish she could just hold onto the carelessness of it. But, in reality, she knows it’ll have to end. This was also the song where she mentioned the name of the album, and I don’t know a single person that doesn’t get giddy like a child seeing their favorite superhero on the big screen when the title of media is mentioned in the media. All in all, the vibes of this song were so calming and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thousand Miles ft Brandi Carlile: Not to be confused with the song “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton, Cyrus’s song is a slower tune, but has an even more uplifting tone. This song seems to be about getting as far away from a toxic relationship as possible. “Where I end up, I don’t really care,” she sings about not making sense, about not really knowing where she’s going, but she’s getting out of there. Sure, some lyrics in the song are contradictory but it seems to me that she did that on purpose. She even says “I’m out of my mind,” and I think that’s a big theme in this album. She doesn’t really know what she’s doing, but she doesn’t have time to care. She just knows she has to move on. This song reminded me of older Miley Cyrus days because it has a little bit of country twang to it. A bit controversial, but that’s also why it’s my least favorite song on the album.

You: This was the first romantic song I heard on the album, and it tells the story of an interesting romance to say the least. She sings about doing some wild things but she wants to do it all with a specific person. However, she does sweetly sing about wanting that “forever lasting love,” and I think that’s something that will resonate with a lot of people. I felt like this song had a little bit of an R&B vibe to it, and I think it’s neat how she mixed up the genre’s a bit in the album. I will say, this was my second favorite song on the album because of its more vulnerable lyrics.

Handstand: Now tell me how I was supposed to not laugh at “we met each other on the neon dinghy,” at the beginning of Cyrus’s monologue? I suppose I was expected to react more maturely, but dinghy is a funny word. Regardless, this was a very interesting song and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard one like it before. I’ve heard songs with dialogue or even short monologues in it but this song is spoken word until the one minute mark. Cyrus seemed to change genres once again because this has some EDM musicality to it. In all honesty, I couldn’t come up with a possible underlying message to this song but I don’t think it really matters. I believe this song is supposed to be a bit of a trip, and one that people in nightclubs may enjoy. It’s not my kind of song but it was still fun.

River: This song gave me 80’s pop vibes right off the bat. If anything, this song is a blast. It’s not just a great song to dance to though, it’s a song about the excitement of thinking you’ve found the one. The lyrics “I can’t stop from thinking lately, you could be the one,” and “was a desert ‘fore I met you, I was in a drought,” shows that Cyrus is feeling like, after having a void and idle love life for so long, she finally feels like she’s met someone who has revived it. She finally found someone she vibes with, and I think that’s so lovely. I really enjoyed this song and can see myself using it to pump myself up during my workouts.

Violet Chemistry: “When the floor is wet, and the lights come on but you don’t want to leave,” is how Cyrus starts this song about having a night out with someone that you don’t want to end. She wants the person she went out with to stay with her because she believes there’s undeniably strong chemistry between them. It’s another fun song with a funky beat that I think will be played at many nightclubs this year. I know I’ll be jamming out to it for a while.

Muddy Feet ft. Sia: This song is about holding their ground standing up for yourself. It’s about knowing what you deserve and not accepting less. Most of all, it’s about not letting someone walk all over you, cheat on you, or treating you like garbage. This is another empowering anthem with a strong electronic beat mixed with traditional musical elements like heavy guitars and an occasional simple piano melody. I absolutely loved the musicality of this song, and for that reason it is in my top three.

Wildcard: This is another song about a new relationship that just feels so right. However, Cyrus feels the need to remind her partner that she’s a wildcard. Even if she loves this person, she may change her mind and it may not last forever. Perhaps this song could be written from a place of anxiety since she has her fair share of relationships that didn’t end well. I imagine the long-term relationship with Liam Hemsworth that didn’t end well makes Cyrus weary of a ‘forever’ relationship. Though she does have the lyrics “I want all in, I want all or nothing,” in the song, so she may also just want reassurance from her person that they’re all in on this relationship, even though she’s known to be a bit wild, they don’t mind that. It’s an interesting song, but I think the popularity of it will come from the beat that’s easy to groove to. I enjoyed listening to it, but I don’t think it’s a song I will be actively seeking out to listen to again anytime soon.

Island: This is a song of longing; a state of mind I think many people can relate to. It’s about being single, and enjoying it, but there’s still a part of you that wants a relationship. Cyrus sings about enjoying her life then continues with “but I’m still wishing for the love that I don’t have.” She’s having fun, but part of her craves the domestic life that comes with a long-term, healthy relationship. She’s not sure if she’s stranded or in paradise because she’s having fun but still longing. I think it’s important to have songs like this because human emotions are complicated. We don’t always feel or think in black and white. We aren’t just happy or sad, lonely or content, etc. We can feel two things at the same time, and that’s totally normal. Musically, this wasn’t my favorite song, but I did really like the message of it.

Wonder Woman: This is the beautiful ballad of the album, where Cyrus belts out lyrics about secretly feeling dejected. She sings about a ‘Wonder Woman’ who seems like she’s always so strong, but it’s because she hides her true feelings until she’s alone. It’s about a badass woman who works hard, knows what she wants in life, and presents herself as a badass. However, she’s human. She breaks down, she cries, and she struggles like the rest of us do. It’s beautifully heartbreaking, and it sticks out like a sore thumb on this album full of upbeat songs. Despite that, I thought it was one of the best songs on the album due to its important message and pretty melody.

Flowers (Demo): There isn’t much to say about this song because it’s just a stripped down version of the first song on this album. I do think it’s a nice alternative to the popular version of Flowers with lo-fi vibes that people like playing in the background of their busy lives. I could see myself listening to this while writing or even to get my brain to chill out before I go to sleep.

Overall, this was my favorite post Hannah Montana era album of Miley’s. She wasn’t trying to fit into the stereotypical pop-princess box and mixed many genres into this album. My favorite was when she let some rock and roll tones slip into the music like in Jaded and Muddy Feet. I think her voice suits that genre nicely, but she surprised me by showing me just how much of a range she truly has. Really, I applaud Cyrus for being so open with her feelings in this album, and I hope to see more artists explore the gray areas of being human.

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