I have long prided myself on my pop predictions. I like to think I can sniff out a hit and detect a flop with relative ease, though admittedly I was somewhat stumped by the success of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Malibu’. Though it’s a good enough song, I thought its wordy brand of soft rock would be left lingering near the bottom rungs of the top forty and fail to reach much of an audience. But while it hasn’t exactly been a runaway hit in the same way as, say ‘Despacito’, its positioning within the top 10 in many major markets nonetheless made it a certifiable success that was as promising as it was surprising.
Still sticking to her rock pop guns, Cyrus has debuted new track ‘Younger Now’, a mid-tempo bit of indie pop taken from her upcoming album of the same name.
‘Younger Now’ feels more succinct than ‘Malibu’ but relies on the same country-tinged lilt that looks set to characterise Cyrus’s new album. Having given hard-edged EDM the elbow, Cyrus is still revelling in dreamy guitars and punchy rock-inflected choruses. Her vocals, especially at the track’s beginning, are reminiscent of the grainy haze of her excellent Dead Petz project, Cyrus sounding dazed and sensual as she utters opening line “Feels like I just woke up.”
‘Younger Now’ is more of mellow Miley, another perky track that says everything is A-OK in Cyrus-ville. It’s a quietly uplifting song, but one that lacks the gaudy flair of some of her previous hits. There’s something more mature in Cyrus’s newer work, but it’s difficult not to miss the sheer audacity of some her earlier singles. But then again, a change of sound is a healthy sign, especially when it feels as organic as this. With her dreamy guitar pop, Cyrus has never sounded so at home. ‘Younger Now’ may not sizzle in the same way as some of Cyrus’s most famous hits, but it positions the singer as an artist truly in control of her work, free from gimmicks and shock tactics and making music that reflects a side to her that feels undoubtedly more authentic. And that alone is something worth celebrating.