Violins, raw guitar notes, and Dolly Parton, oh my! The inoffensive “Younger Now” can make one think, “Is this that same Miley from the 2013 VMAs?” Bashed for all previous cultural appropriation, Cyrus probably felt that it was time to let go of her crazy lifestyle. Farewell, sweet molly and Mike WiLL Made-It. “Younger Now” seems to be more of a plateau in her sound, but Cyrus incorporates a few successful back-to-basics tracks that truly portray her roots.
The first single, “Malibu,” is a standout that incorporates smooth, raw vocals and breezy guitar, a tribute to her love for boyfriend Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus wrote this ode to her beau and their new lives in Malibu, which accentuates the album’s pure and inoffensive nature. Another favorite, “Love Someone,” relies on classic rock influences mixed with a pop chorus. More significantly, the title track introduces the album’s intended theme of change and rebirth. “Even though it’s not who I am, I’m not afraid of who I used to be” she sings as the slogan to her newfound image. However, the intended theme of purity and love is not always met behind all the dominating guitar riffs Cyrus incorporates.
“Rainbowland” sees an appearance from godmother Dolly Parton, yet incorporates lyrics and instrumentals one might hear at a Disneyland pioneerland ride. Even the appearance of Parton herself can’t save the dullness of this track. “Thinkin’” and “Week Without You” are cringy wannabe pop singles, filled with tacky lyrics and overbearing beats; the only upside to those tracks are the lead onto the next instrumentals “Miss You So Much” and “I Would Die For You,” which rightfully give Cyrus’ refined vocals the focus they deserve. The album did not necessarily fail to deliver Cyrus’ message of rebirth and change, however the album may have missed the mark with unnecessary pop influences that overpower and drain the color from the songs.
The ballad “Inspired” concludes the album with soft instrumentals and lyrics pertaining to her father Billy Ray Cyrus. You can finally get a feel of her melodious voice and raw sentiment that has been missing since the classic “The Climb.” One thing is for sure; Cyrus is eager to leave behind the cultural appropriation gimmick and sink back to her true country roots, but is it worth the attendant lack of dynamism?
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Image Courtesy of RCA Records