Miley Cyrus went back to her country roots on her latest album Younger Now.
The album, released Friday, is comparable to Lady Gaga’s Joanne. Gaga stepped away from the spectacle of her earlier music and produced a more stripped down tracklist that showcased her musical abilities, but still encapsulated everything she had done before. Cyrus does that on Younger Now, but in a more extreme way. It’s evident Cyrus wasn’t aiming to produce hits — she wanted to make an album that reflected her journey back to herself.
Cyrus’ title track and latest single “Younger Now” kicks off the album, introducing listeners to the changed Cyrus. But is she really changed or just embracing all of her past? She sings, “You know what goes comes back around” — and it’s evident Cyrus is returning to her roots but with a little bit of a twist. She is intertwining her pop-rock sound with a little bit of twang.
Cyrus even enlisted the help of her godmother Dolly Parton for the old-fashioned country dance tune “Rainbowland.” The song sings of a utopia where everything goes right. It’s hard to sit still while listening to the feel-good song.
In sharp contrast are the sultry songs “Week With You” and “Thinkin’.” The latter includes some rock elements and catchy hooks. It’s possible Cyrus listened to “Get This Party Started” because the song is reminiscent of early P!nk songs.
“Miss You So Much” features the best vocals and lyrics on the album. The minimalist style allows her voice to soar in the chorus, but the bridge is where she really shines. She sings, “You're my God, you're my faith/On my knees, I look at you and I revere/You can take my blood, take my bones/My heart is yours, I volunteer.” It’s a shame the song doesn’t really fit in anywhere on the radio right now. It’s too country to do well on pop radio and not country enough to do well on those stations.
The back half of the album is forgettable. None of the songs stand out as being exceptional. The styles mimic other songs on the album, causing the back half to fall flat. Nonetheless, Cyrus still manages to keep the same theme throughout the album.
Gone are the gimmicks that tainted singles like “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball.” The album is raw with a bohemian country-rock flare that focuses more on her voice and lyrics rather than the overwhelming pop songs that dominated previous albums.
Cyrus is finally embracing all of her her sounds and blending them together in a way that is not overwhelming. The album doesn’t stand out among all of the others released this year, and most people will probably forget about by the end of the year. But just to hear the hint of twang and her focus on musicianship is enough to be excited about her new spin.