Miley Cyrus is back and better than before

Cyrus opts for a safer pop sound in new release ‘Younger Now’

ae-youngernowalbumcover-CourtesyWikimedia Commons

Miley Cyrus' latest effort "Younger Now" shows the artist moving away from some of her regrettable past choices.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons | Cavalier Daily

The inconsistent chronicles of Miley Cyrus have been a popular topic of conversation ever since she was a teenager. She captured the hearts of elementary school sweethearts and parents alike with the entrancing double life of Hannah Montana, her Disney Channel alter ego. Cyrus served as a role model and inspiration to multitudes of young girls, all of whom fell in love with the synthetic pop sound of both Hannah Montana’s and Miley’s early albums. 

For this reason, many moms and dads were shocked and dismayed at the wilder side Cyrus presented when she eventually grew tired of her squeaky clean Disney image. Cyrus decided to create a new name for herself with the 2010 release of “Can’t Be Tamed,” attempting to erase her innocent past and earning herself a spot amongst the ranks of the childhood stars who got sick of refraining from explicit lyrics and maintaining a G-rated presence. 

As an outsider looking in, it seems that Cyrus has endured both an internal and external struggle with the personality she wishes to present to the world. Her inconsistent artistic and social presence is visible in the drastic variations within her music. “Can’t Be Tamed,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Bangerz” and “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” all represent her attempts at breaking away from her past. After a bout of extreme rebellion and raunchy song titles such as “I’m So Drunk,” it seems that Cyrus has exhausted the need to redefine herself. 

“Younger Now” is a cleaner, more wholesome release that differs greatly from her discography over the past seven years. Although Cyrus is no longer Hannah Montana, she is also no longer the try-hard rebel she formerly so desperately wanted to be. With the release of “Younger Now” Sept. 29, Cyrus has found a happy medium and regained a respectable place in the pop music industry. “Malibu,” Cyrus’ previously released popular comeback single, foreshadowed the change in sound that is featured on this album. 

“Younger Now” contains a safe yet quality tracklist of 11 songs all written either about her relationship with Liam Hemsworth, her outlook on life or struggles she has overcome. The genre encompassed in the album is a general upbeat pop not unlike many popular songs on the radio today. Cyrus’ impressive vocals are backed by both acoustic and electric guitar on every track and are paired with the support of drums. Although the album signals a shift back to a more marketable sound, it contains no artistic risks that were abundant in her more risqué work.  

The first song and title track “Younger Now” serves as a disclaimer for Cyrus to explain the changes she’s gone through and how she accepts her past. Lyrics such as “Feels like I just woke up / Like all this time I’ve been asleep / Even though it’s not who I am / I’m not afraid of who I used to be,” reveal her evident struggle with her identity. The positive tone that the album encapsulates is set by this song itself.

Cyrus features country singer Dolly Parton on one of the tracks, “Rainbowland.” Parton has been a part of Cyrus’ life for a long time, even guest starring on “Hannah Montana.” The voicemail recording from Parton in the beginning of the song reveals that the two have a personal relationship as well. Although the song’s message of condemning hate is admirable, it falls short of uniqueness and is an outlier from the rest of the album. 

The most beautiful and memorable song from “Younger Now” is “Miss You So Much,” a track driven by acoustic guitar and raw lyrics. It adds an emotional element to the album that exemplifies Cyrus’ hard work in creating it. There are a few songs that are similarly emotional on paper but fail to evoke any emotion, seemingly written about Cyrus’ relationship with Liam Hemsworth. “Week Without You,” “I Would Die for You” and “She’s Not Him” all contain dramatic lyrics describing the strong love she feels for Hemsworth, but none of them are particularly notable. 

As hard as Cyrus tries to reinvent herself, she can’t escape her past as Hannah Montana. Hannah Montana was her claim to fame, the driving force behind her career. “Younger Now” is Cyrus’ way of telling the world that she has grown up, this time for real. The faux attempts at “adulthood” with wild and provoking music proved to be temporary and unfulfilling for Cyrus, and it seems she has found a home in the realm of a safe pop sound with “Younger Now.” 

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