MY THOUGHTS ON YOUNGER NOW (AND A REVIEW)
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A BRIEF CONVERSATION ABOUT MILEY- HER PAST AND HOW IT COINCIDES WITH HER LATEST ALBUM “YOUNGER NOW”
Younger Now by Miley Cyrus is her 6th studio album right after her previous album “Miley and Dead Petz”. With a huge difference in tone and Miley swinging back to her country roots, many would call this her redemption album aka “THE OLD MILEY IS BACK” but those who have actually taken the time to listen to the entire album would know that “Younger Now” is an ode to her loved ones who helped her get back to who she is truly is. Before getting into the review I have to say, I don’t think circa 2012 Miley was an abomination nor do I think that this one phase of Miley is better than her other versions. Before the release of the album, Miley had stated that she regretted Wrecking Ball but I see this song as the somewhat of a mini-revolution. Wrecking Ball amassed millions of views in a matter of hours and currently, it stands at 90,000,000+ views. Everyone watched with curiosity as Miley stuck her tongue out to lick various objects and publicly flaunted her love for weed. Everyone was united in the conversation about how Miley’s increasingly provocative image was impacting the behaviour of her very young and impressionable fans. Miley had shed her previous innocent Disney girl image and had everyone talking (not about her music but more about her image). It bought into light the ways people looked at women, her newfound grown-up image began a dialogue on what acceptable behaviour for women meant. And how can we forget the memes? In generations where memes were yet to gain any traction, we saw parody after parody, memes after memes about the video and the star herself. A few examples are:
I can hear someone say in the distance, “Get to the point, Sharbani! How is any of this relevant to the new album?”
Well, I am glad you asked because in order to truly appreciate this album you need to know what it is about. This album right here requires a certain amount of context to truly put things in perspective. Take Malibu, for example, anyone who has listened to this song knows that it is about her extremely public relationship with Liam Hemsworth. On the outside, it is a sweet song about how she is at the beach with her boyfriend but looking more closely, this song is about how she appreciates him and how he has practically freed her. Yes, tonally it was quite simplistic, many of these songs are clearly inspired by the heavily publicized past of this pop star and I must say, while I was not a big fan of this album, it is definitely something to look forward to. (Side note: There are very few things worse than having to listen to “Miley and her Dead Petz”. Truly.)
P.S. Those who wanted songs from Miley that sounded like Jolene, this is the right album for you.
REVIEW IN ORDER OF SONGS
YOUNGER NOW: Remember when I talked about her past image and how it coincides with her new album? Well, the album is literally named after the main aspect of her recovery from her past. I think Younger Now is one of my favourite songs from the album. Miley isn’t apologetic and she sure as hell isn’t regretful. This song is simply her acknowledging her past for what it is and her looking forward to a brighter future.
MALIBU: This is the song that kicked off the promotion of the album, giving us a glimpse of into the rest of the album is going to be. I really like this song because of just how happy she seems to be singing a song about a simple love.
The promoters made the right decision with picking out their first promotional song as it tells us that this is and where we are now. It isn’t forceful but it isn’t weak either and I think it gives listeners enough space to decide whether they like it or not.
I’m pretty sure most people who are intrigued by this album have already heard this song, and if you didn’t like this song, chances are you aren’t going to be a big fan of the album.
RAINBOW LAND (ft Dolly Parton): Rainbow land, a song made in collaboration with her godmother, has a true country sound to it. Starting from the Country twang to instrumentation, you can hear the old-timey country that has influenced the current music scene. I personally was pretty meh on this song. The lyrics matched the old school country style and I’ve never found myself drawn to the saccharine lyrics, so while I probably wouldn’t put this on the biggest offender list, I am pretty sure this is the song that I would skip on if it came on my shuffle.
WEEK WITHOUT YOU: This song is dedicated to someone who she’s in a relationship that has fizzled out and in turn lost its spark. Now, she wants to spend a weekend all by herself and do things that make her happy but her feelings keep wavering and she doesn’t want to lose him. As we move forward in the album, she dedicates songs to various people who she’s encountered throughout her life, my gripe is that every single time she talks about a romantic relationship, it feels slightly tedious and overdone. This is the song that gave me a look into what the other songs with similar themes would do for me. I like the instruments and the backing vocals on this song so I guess that saved the song but again, nothing special, just harmless fun.
MISS YOU SO MUCH: Now this song I like. Miley sings about how she is so close to losing her loved one (her grandmother) and that even though she is physically present in front of her, she misses her endlessly and that her love for her grandmother is incomprehensible. This is one of my favourites from the album as it discusses a very human emotion ie the fear of death stylized in the form of a love song. However, when I think of songs about death I think about the production as it is what makes the quality of the song a hit or a miss. Over-produced death songs sound fake and I think Miley hit the jackpot on the production on this one as it was raw enough to convey her feelings while being feasible as a mainstream sounding pop song.
I WOULD DIE FOR YOU: This is the part of the album where things start to sound slightly tiring. Miley’s vocals are established and consistent and the songs sound slightly similar even though she experiments with different styles which is why I find myself relying mostly on the lyrics at this point and unfortunately, the lyrics didn’t work all that well for me with this one. They were fine but it was too cheesy for my taste. It’s a song about love, nothing less, nothing more.
THINKIN’: You know those songs that you hear and you hate but also keep humming, ultimately repeating the same cycle of self-loathing? This is that song. I don’t like this song much and it has everything to do with the chorus. The chorus with the repeating lines, the simple chords and the country accent make me want to switch over to the next song almost immediately but at the same time, I keep singing this very chorus in my head which just frustrates me further (that’s on me). I think this song belongs to the bottom of my list.
BAD MOOD: This song showcases to us a Miley who is conflicted about her relationship. She knows that she’s reliant on this person but simply put, this person puts her in a bad mood because of how bitter they’ve turned. I think this one is okay, I would skip it if it came on my shuffle list. It isn’t offensive… It is just serviceable.
(Side note: I keep imagining a random woman making pancakes and dancing around with this song blaring in the background. Odd.)
LOVE SOMEONE: It’s a song about her cutting someone off from her life in her past and how it affects her mentally. This song leans towards country rock and I think this is something she can really pull off because her voice is really strong. Her instrumentation accompanied by her voice is great. This song has some heavy introspection in it and she sounds headstrong in this and honestly, this type of music is what I’d rather have Miley sing in the future.
SHE’S NOT HIM: A song about finding someone who just doesn’t match up to the person who she’s actually in love with. One thing I like about this album is that while the album starts off more sunny and bright but as we progress, Miley is introspecting and she finds flaws not only in others but also in herself. Her inability to love someone who is seemingly perfect is leaving her conflicted but at the same time she is grateful for the affect s/he’s had on her. She sounds slightly more mellow and sorry but also very sure about her feelings in this song. Strong song, I like the song just fine when it comes up randomly on shuffle but when I listen to it along with the rest of the album it makes more sense in context to the rest of the songwriting on the album.
INSPIRED: This is the final song on the album and I think it is a strong way to go out. Throughout the album you see Miley go from happy to sad to doubtful and it makes sense that she wrote a song about how despite everything she has gone through, she feels inspired to bring some change within herself and those around her. She has referenced several communities when talking about the songwriting on this track and I like that it doesn’t feel TOO corny and that it is the right amount of uplifting. Again, nothing new to say about the backup and the vocals: they are good and I think the song is just right.
PROS OF THE ALBUM
a) Miley’s upbringing gives her a deep understanding of Country music.
b) The instrumentation on this album is consistently good. They experimented with the sound throughout.
c) The production quality on this album is just right. It’s easy to overdo production on comeback pop albums but Miley has managed to maintain a level of authenticity.
d) This album has some good songs that I see myself (and others) going back to. My personal favourites are:
- Younger Now
- Love someone
- Miss You So much.
e) This album explores Miley’s feelings and her feelings only. It comes from a genuine place from her heart and explores her dynamics with relationships, family and herself.
CONS OF THE ALBUM
a) It gets slightly tedious upon multiple repeats.
b) The lyrics play it safe at times. This point contradicts the last point on my pros but at times I feel like Miley isn’t really trying to go beyond to express her point and there was just this point where I got annoyed with the songwriting.
c) The midpoint on this album is excruciatingly repetitive with many songs landing in my “just okay” list.
d) Miley’s vocals are strong but at times it feels like she isn’t pushing herself to fully explore that potential.
MY SCORE: 6/10
P.S. I feel like a dick for being slightly harsh on Miley so here is some Miley appreciation for y’all.