Any 90s baby knows the name Miley Cyrus and in recent years an eye roll has accompanied the mere mention of her name. Her ‘angry artist lashes out at her former Disney image’ act will go down in history as one of the most iconic ever. However, in the last year or so a new Miley has begun to emerge. This is the mellow “happy hippie” Miley, and the release of her new album Younger Now reflects this change.
The title track feels like Miley’s offering of an explanation as to what happened to her, and assures us that she’s different now. The lyrics speak for themselves when she says, “No one stays the same/Change is a thing you can count on.” With the happy-pop tone set in this single the rest of the album sounds like a dreamy country-rock mixture, and there are some great tracks in it.
Several themes are prominent throughout, and Cyrus’ honest style of writing leaves no room for doubting her message. There’s a call for unity in tracks like ‘Rainbowland’ and ‘Inspired’ that was stimulated by Cyrus’ dismay at the presidential election. Cyrus was very vocal in her support for Hilary Clinton and is said to have toned down her image in the aftermath of Clinton’s loss, to appeal to more conservatives.
The second theme is much more personal and several tracks are about Cyrus’ relationships. These tracks add the rock element to the album and you don’t need to look much further past the gossip columns to guess who they’re about. This badass, take charge side of Cyrus is my favourite and is why I think she is capable of redemption. She’s at her best when she’s standing up for herself in tracks like ‘Thinkin’,’ ‘Bad Mood,’ and ‘Love Someone.’
The act of reinvention is nothing new in the world of music. You only have to look at the likes of Madonna, or more recently Rihanna to see that artists change their image with almost every album. Yet there’s something that feels permanent about the change we see with Cyrus. This album shows her taking ownership of her past mistakes and then moving on to explore new types of music that a lot more of us could get on board with. Her strengths lie in her old-rock, Janis Joplin-esque tracks but she shows versatility with her mixture of rock, pop and country. This album serves as a jumping off point and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her developing this sound in the future.
CT Rating: 7/10
Caoimhe McParland – Music Writer