Skip to content

Miley Cyrus – Endless Summer Vacation

April 14, 2023
Miley Cyrus
Endless Summer Vacation

This is the first Miley Cyrus album I have purchased. Hell, this is the first Miley album I have listened to front to back.

Thanks to Taylor for schooling me, I have learned to not dismiss pop princesses. I am late to the Miley party. I admit I initially dismissed her as a Disney Girl and the daughter of the tackiest country star of the 90s. But she has been working it for a long time now and she has burnished her reputation vs. most child stars who tarnish their reputations. My adult children are fans of hers and I trust their taste. So I warmed to her.

I saw her hosting this past New Year’s Eve show on TV and a she was fantastic. Big personality, engaging entertainer, is unconventionally sexy, and most importantly she has great songs and a cool voice. Miley is a real-deal musician who is also an entertainer.

My wife recently told me that a new album was coming and a teaser single was out. “Flowers” is a huge hit. Upon its release, I listened to the new LP, Endless Summer Vacation, and was hooked on the first listen. It is dance-pop, but it also rocks – she can do a mean power ballad too. I would love to see this album live. It is super slick, but with a little edge. It makes you want to dance. Hard to resist an album that makes you dance. Prince taught me that making dance pop that rocks and has gravity is possible. An album that makes you want to dance is a gift.

T-Swift’s 1989 was the album that caught my attention and got me to take her seriously. I saw her Reputation tour in a football stadium; she expertly played the room. I became a fan. Endless Summer Vacation is my Miley breakthrough. I am officially a fan.

Cyrus explained on Instagram prior to its release that the album is divided into two parts: AM and PM.

“When it comes to the sequencing of Endless Summer Vacation, I divided it by two parts: AM and PM to kind of almost represent an act. The AM to me is representing the morning time, where there’s a buzz and energy and there’s a potential of new possibilities. It’s a new day. At nighttime, it feels like there’s a slinky, seediness and kind of a grime but a glamour at the same time. In the evening, it’s a great time for rest, it’s a time to recover. Or it’s a time to go out and experience the wild side. In LA, there’s a certain energy to the night and you can feel trouble boil up to the surface and it’s very inspiring to me.”

I might be coming to Miley at the right moment. Reading the professional critics, who are more experienced in her discography, note this is a mature work and she is at the top of her game. The album fully displays her bag of tricks: dance-pop, pop, country, rock, and power ballads. Convenient time for me to show up. My quick take is this brilliant pop record appeals to my adult ears (I have children older than Miley).

“Flowers” was the lead single and it is a huge hit (by today’s standards). It has a nice dance-pop vibe. Based on what I know about Miley, this is fairly autobiographical and her post-divorce freedom anthem. It is a pretty obvious nod to Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” which evidently was an important song to Miley and her ex. Strong song to lead off the album. The streaming version of the album ends with a stripped-down version of “Flowers.”

“Jaded” is a melancholy quite-storm ballad that reflects on a failed relationship.

“Rose Colored Lenses” is a post-coital delusion. It has a nice electro-pop feel. The lyrics namedrop the album title:

“Naked in conversation
Drown me in your delight
Endless summer vacation
Make it last ’til we die”

“Thousand Miles” (featuring Brandi Carlile) is the album’s most Americana/country song. It is a song about relapsing into a relationship that the narrator knows is a mistake. Brandi’s harmonies are perfect.

“You” is a lusty love song that has a nice rock vocal.

“Handstand” is a great dance pop song. The narrator is gloating about her acrobatic sex.

“River” is the second single and this could easily be a Lady Gaga song. It has a great 80s synth pop groove. The lyrics compare the narrator’s lover to a river.

“Violet Chemistry” is another dance pop song with a great 80s synth pop groove. Again, I can imagine Gaga performing this song.

“Muddy Feet” (featuring Sia) is a scolding of a cheating lover. Miley has a great sandpaper rock vocal. Sia’s contribution is pretty inconsequential.

“Wildcard” is a contradiction – the narrator talks about settling down and in the same breath suggesting it will never happen.

“Island” is a nice slinky ballad where the narrator is trying to figure out if they are in paradise or in lonely isolation.

“Wonder Woman” is the first time that the production meets the sadness of the lyrics. The narrator is down, but she won’t be defeated.

Overall this is outstanding adult pop. Every song is solid and some are outright pop masterpieces. I hear a lot of influences, but the one that sticks out the most is Lady Gaga – the more organic side of Gaga. Miley has a really cool voice – it has just enough grit to make the drama of the songs real and is sweet enough to create pop earworms. Cyrus deals with post-break-up feelings in an honest but not maudlin way. The production is upbeat despite bummer lyrics. It is all pretty brilliant.


From → Music Reviews

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: