Miley Cyrus’ ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ takes listeners on a wild ride

Cyrus in the music videofor “River”

Cyrus in the music video for “River”

As the music industry continues to evolve and shift, Miley Cyrus remains a constant force, captivating audiences with her raw talent and unpredictable nature. Her latest album, “Endless Summer Vacation,” proves that the 30-year-old artist is still unafraid to push boundaries and showcase new sides of herself.

With 13 tracks that range from woozy synths to thundering pop beats, Cyrus’ powerful voice adapts to every style effortlessly. In a world that often tries to dim her light, the album shows that the former child star is here to stay—and she’s not backing down anytime soon.

“Endless Summer Vacation” is the follow-up to Cyrus’ 2020 rock-forward project, “Plastic Hearts,” which included collaborations with the likes of Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. Her latest compilation, on the other hand, is described by Cyrus as a “love letter to LA,” with the thematic inspiration evident in every corner of the record.

Listening to the album feels like spending a few days in an idyllic summer getaway with Cyrus, with tracks like “Flowers,” “Rose Colored Lenses” and “You” taking listeners on a journey through different moments in a SoCal summer.

While some of the songs in the album were inspired by Cyrus’ divorce, it is not a strictly breakup record, with the overall message being one of reset and rediscovery that encourages listeners to indulge in their own whims.

Miley Cyrus in “Flowers”

Miley Cyrus in “Flowers”

Two distinct parts

Cyrus has embarked on a journey to create a cohesive experience by splitting her latest album into two distinct parts: “AM” and “PM.” “The ‘AM’ to me is representing the morning time, where there’s a buzz and an energy and there’s a potential of new possibilities. It’s a new day,” she explained in a video posted on social media.

“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,” added Cyrus, referring to the PM part of the album.

The opening tracks are surprisingly slow, starting with the glittering melody of “Jaded,” a heart-wrenching breakup song that showcases Cyrus’ raw vocals soaring in a grandiose chorus.

In “Thousand Miles,” a stunning duet with Brandi Carlile, Cyrus pays homage to her country roots while still staying true to her unique style. She then digs even deeper with “You,” a piano-led torch song that perfectly captures the depths of human emotion.

As the album progresses, a hazy blend of synths and spoken word emerges, with Cyrus enigmatically murmuring, “We met each other on the neon dinghy … ,” as the electronic beats become increasingly muddied. “River” erupts into thunderous acid pop, while “Violet Chemistry’’ immerses the listener in the sensations of being the last one standing in a club, phone lost, and out of cigarettes.

The album comes full circle with “Wonder Woman,” another song that celebrates the strength of women. Cyrus’ impressive versatility is on full display throughout the album, as she seamlessly adapts her powerful voice to various genres and styles. Even the most picky and fickle listener is sure to find a new favorite track.

“Endless Summer Vacation” demonstrates Cyrus’ vocal prowess and ability to transition between genres with ease. While some tracks, such as the collaboration with Carlile, “Thousand Miles,” lean into Cyrus’ country roots, others like “River” showcase her pop star power.

“Endless SummerVacation” cover art

“Endless Summer Vacation” cover art

Cohesive, compelling

The album’s middle section, which includes “River,” “Handstand” and “Violet Chemistry,” is a standout, with the disco-inspired “River” serving as the album’s centerpiece.

Despite a few moments of loss of momentum towards the end of the album, including a track featuring Sia that feels unneeded, “Endless Summer Vacation” is a cohesive and compelling record that encourages listeners to press play again and again.

Cyrus’ plain-spoken storytelling and powerful vocals make for a great record that proves why she has stayed relevant in the industry for so long.

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