A summer of peace, love and dancing with Cyrus’s eighth studio album, ‘Endless Summer Vacation’

What seems, on the surface, to be a generic pop-sounding summer album is a collection of past voices, familiar motifs and comforting instrumentals that cradle listeners in nostalgia. 

Miley Cyrus released her eighth album, “Endless Summer Vacation,” on March 10, finally satisfying her fans as they waited for the next Miley era.

Since her infamous MTV Video Music Awards performance following the end of her Disney career, Cyrus has consistently surprised the public with her ever-changing personas and musical style.

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From empowered hip-hop singer to California beach girl to the most recent revival of her role as America’s poster girl and pop rock extraordinaire, she’s done it all. 

Cyrus has started to settle into herself. Part of that might be her confidence since moving away from being the target of media gossip. It could also be from her separation from her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth and her grandmother’s death. 

Each song on her new album reflects past styles she’s used before. In conversation with producer Mike WiLL Made-It, Cyrus shared her musical references. Mike WiLL told her, “Miley, what you need to understand is you are the reference.” 

“I think ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ represents, to me, my fearlessness when it comes to experimenting, not just with my sound but also with my identity and the way that I want to be seen,” she explained in her Disney+ special.

The album takes the shape of a Los Angeles summer day, from morning to night, starting with “Flowers.” This song encapsulates a journey of self-exploration. The album’s first half represents the buzz and energy of morning with themes of possibility and potential.

Dreamy guitars echo in each song as Cyrus explores failures of past relationships and accepts the unchangeable in songs like “Jaded” and “Thousand Miles (Ft. Brandi Carlile).” 

Songs like “Rose Colored Lenses” and “You,” the classic waltzing ballad, hypnotize us with love. The combination of her collaboration with country singer Brandi Carlile and pop drum beats takes listeners to her “Younger Now” country era.

Cyrus plays around with experimental sounds and psychedelic narrations, similar to her past album,“Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.” Her song “Handstand” transitions the album toward nighttime — pushing listeners into the wild side of the night.

The album moves into familiar vocals from Cyrus’ “Bangerz” era. Songs like “River” and “Violet Chemistry” keep us dancing to lyrics about lust and hazy infatuation while rhythmic synths pulsate in the background. “Muddy Feet (feat. Sia)” and “Wildcard” bring out Cyrus’ devilish side with more self-assurance.  

“Island” provides ethereal instrumentals that transcend listeners. Cyrus sings of finding peace in independence. She finishes the album with the original “Flowers” demo, a more melancholic version of the song reflected on an electric keyboard. This stripped-down version showcases the extent of her self-love. 

Miley Cyrus is a global sensation, and she knows it. The past decade has been a whirlwind of attention for Cyrus, and after her courageous self-exploration, she has now settled into herself. Cyrus’ lyricism occasionally lacks depth and is slightly cliché. Her collaborations with Sia and Brandi Carlile appear a bit random, but “Endless Summer Vacation” remains one of her best albums.

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