Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Endless Summer Vacation – Miley Cyrus

 Miley Cyrus has gifted her fans with a pop-themed album

Some artists are afraid to try something new, but that doesn’t seem to faze singer and performer Miley Cyrus. After her last album Plastic Hearts in 2020, which was a commercial success, Cyrus unveiled Endless Summer Vacation on March 10.

Her lead single, “Flowers, attracted old and new fans worldwide due to its catchiness and inescapable tunes. After its release, everyone anticipated her new album that was set to follow two months later. 

The third track, “Rose Colored Lenses, is full of fun lyrics with an easy-going instrumental in the background. With verses like “We can stay like this forever, lost in wonderland with our heads above the clouds, falling stupid like we’re kids,” it’s easy to drift to memories of being carefree. With this song, Miley alludes to enjoying the moment while ignoring any red flags, which anyone listening can relate to. 

According to Rolling Stone, Miley Cyrus has said that she organized the songs in an order with an AM and PM vibe, and you can’t help but embrace how different the songs are. The AM side represents the morning of a new day and the potential for any opportunities, like the second track on the album, “Jaded.” In this song, Cyrus reflects on a previous failed relationship and how it’s impacted both of them. The song is filled with harmonies and a quicker tempo that gives it a nostalgic feel for the listeners. 

The PM side is influenced by rest, recovery and partying, like the song “River,” which has a retro beat similar to pop icons Britany Spears or Whitney Houston. This song makes you want to dance all night long.  

The next song is a memorable pop track called “Violet Chemistry, and it sounds like it could’ve been a bonus track on her 2014 album Bangerz. With a beat change halfway through the song, it could be another party anthem like “We Can’t Stop.

The album fits well within the pop stratosphere, but there are a few slower songs that change the tempo and overall listening experience. The fourth and fifth tracks “Thousand Miles” and“You” both have mellow beats that make you relax and reminisce about friendships and relationships. 

Cyrus concludes the album with a ballad called “Wonder Woman,” where she sings over the piano about the resilience of the women in her family. Although memorable, it doesn’t fit with the PM party tracks on the album. I would’ve liked to see her end the album with the previous track called “Island, where she contemplates feeling stranded while also in paradise. It felt like the perfect send-off to her fans. 

This is a fun album for Miley with many enjoyable songs, and her ever-changing sound keeps her fans guessing what comes next. The most unique aspect of this album is that it feels like it’s narrating a collection of memories from the past few years. 

If you look back on Plastic Hearts, the music was rock-filled and edgy as opposed to Endless Summer Vacations, where it’s fun-filled and pop-themed. She’s a versatile artist who never likes to repeat the same thing, and everyone can agree that her range is unmatched. 

Trial Track: “Rose Colored Lenses’”

Score: 7/10


She’s just being Miley

Miley Cyrus and the road from Disney darling to rocker chick.

On March 24, 2006, the first episode of Hannah Montana aired on Disney Channel.

The premier was an instant hit, earning 54 million views and subsequently launching the career of then-14-year-old Miley Cyrus, daughter of famed country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. Almost overnight, Hannah Montana evolved into one of the most iconic Disney shows of all time. It wasn’t long before Miley’s face was plastered across the bedroom walls of pre-teens everywhere.

Much of the show’s success can be credited to its original soundtrack. The songs were pure pop and positivity, featuring Disney-approved lyrics about friendship, self-confidence, and livin’ life to the fullest. As a care-free 10-year-old whose self-confidence was yet to be squandered by the perils of puberty, Hannah Montana’s music really resonated with me.

“You’re right, Miley,” I would think. “Everybody makes mistakes.”

I utterly idolized Miley Cyrus, as many girls my age did. When Breakout came out in 2008 — her first studio album unaffiliated with the Hannah Montana franchise — I loaded up my iPod shuffle with each track and listened religiously. Aptly titled, Breakout provided a glimpse of Miley beyond her role as Hannah Montana; the woman behind the wig, if you will. While certainly not as bold as some of her later music, this album had an edginess to it unparalleled by her Disney-discography.

Take Breakout’s lead single, “7 Things,” for example. The song is less about a school-girl crush, and more about the complexities of a toxic relationship, illustrated by lyrics such as You’re vain, your games, you’re insecure / You love me, you like her and The seventh thing I hate the most that you do / You make me love you.

While Miley’s Disney gig undoubtedly propelled her career as a solo artist, it also placed her beneath a microscope. 

Disney stars are often held to near-impossible standards in terms of their public image, and there’s little room for personal-growth, experimentation, or mistakes. This is especially unfair considering most of these celebrities are hired as teenagers — a time when growth, experimentation, and mistakes are the name of the game.

In 2008, when Miley was just 15, intimate photos she took for her boyfriend were leaked on two separate occasions. That same year, Miley faced fierce backlash after the release of her Vanity Fair cover, on which she was wrapped in a sheet with her bare back exposed. She later apologized for the image, saying in a statement, “I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes … My family and my faith will guide me through my life’s journey.” She has since revoked this apology.

Looking back, I’m inclined to think that instances such as these played a huge role in how Miley’s music evolved moving forward. By the early 2010s, Miley’s image had changed entirely. As if to symbolize her entry into a new era, she traded her long brown hair for a short, icy-blonde pixie cut, and her pop-rock sound for a mix of synth, pop, R&B and hip hop.

Although songs like Cardi B’s “WAP” make Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” (2013) sound like a nursery rhyme, at the time the track was considered quite provocative, featuring lyrics such as It’s our party we can love who we want / We can kiss who we want / We can screw who we want. From this point onwards, Miley’s artistic choices became increasingly controversial: she posed naked in her “Wrecking Ball” video, twerked at the VMAs, and sported an oversized diaper and pacifier in her BB Talk (2015) video, to name a few things. This time around, however, her controversies were intentional, unlike when she was a teenager. I can’t help but think that through these controversies Miley was simply fulfilling a need to express herself freely and openly — express her sexuality, her boldness, her queerness — because during her Disney days, she wasn’t allowed to do so.

In a 2013 interview with Barbara Walters, Miley’s words said it all: “I don’t think I was ever really happy with who I was.”

Today, in 2020, Miley has taken on yet another new image. In the past few months, she’s released a series of new wave, rock, and grunge covers, from Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” to Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” to “Zombie” by the Cranberries. Along with her single “Midnight Sky,” released in August, the songs perfectly showcase Miley’s smokey, powerful voice. Her blonde hair now shaped into a shaggy, Joan Jett-esque mullet, she’s fully leaning into the role of rocker chick, and it suits her.  Her new album, Plastic Hearts, is set to arrive soon, and I’m looking forward to hearing how her sound continues to evolve.

I think part of the reason I’m so emotionally invested in Miley and her career is because I grew up alongside her. Miley has undoubtedly played with different identities over the years, and so have I — I’m not exactly a care-free ten-year-old anymore. The lesson I get from all this is pretty clear: nobody’s perfect.    


Graphic by Chloë Lalonde @ihooqstudio


Miley, did Louanne take your place again?

There are times when people go through personal experiences, and an impulse takes them to share it with their entourage.

Private people like to keep it in their circles. Some seek professional help if the experience was traumatic. Writers bleed onto paper, journalists publish columns, and philosophers pass them on as social theories.

Public figures take it to their social platforms.

In some cases, the latter deems it fit to impart wisdom after a personal epiphany and claim to have life altogether figured out. Amongst those people is Miley Cyrus.

I grew up obsessively watching Hannah Montana. I remained a loyal fan when the media published stories of a Disney girl gone wild and borderline insane in 2013.

“She’s just doing her own thing after Disney screwed with her identity for a decade,” I would say. “Leave her alone.”

But the little self-revelatory moment she shared on her Instagram story a few weeks ago made me lose all respect for her.

“I was just being like, I don’t know, hardcore feminist vibes and just not allowing anyone in, but now I am,” she claimed in an Instagram live with her new boyfriend, Cody Simpson. “There are good men out there guys, don’t give up. You don’t have to be gay, there are good people with dicks out there, you just gotta find them. You gotta find a dick that’s not a dick, you know what I mean?”

For someone who has spent the last decade honing an image of herself as a queer woman, Cyrus sounds pretty damn ignorant. Using pure homophobic lingo that has been directed towards lesbians for years on end, she completely dismisses the fact that attraction to the same sex is not a choice and is completely natural. Moreover, she further feeds into this “man-hating” image feminists are still trying desperately to debunk, by using her innate hatred over her previous partner and projecting it everywhere.

(Kindly read this in a mocking tone, if you please.)

“I know, I always thought I had to be gay, because I just thought like, all guys were evil, but it’s not true. There are good people out there that happen to have dicks,” she said, “I only ever met one, and he’s on this live.”

Listen, Miley, honey.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had horrible experiences with men, and sworn them off for good, jokingly saying we should just “turn gay.” We’ve all projected and manifested anger because our past relationships have been unfulfilling, toxic, and terrible. Most of us have the luxury to not be public figures, and say them on a fun night out with close friends. But neither are right. Especially not from a person who has been so vocal about LGBTQ+ rights and identifies as queer. Especially not when people from this community are, to this day, being persecuted for who they love, or when queerness is still put into question. Especially not when so many outlets out there have the ability to educate you on this matter.

Part of me understands where she is coming from. Getting out of a tumultuous 10-year relationship with, I guess, “an evil guy” can be tough. And when you find someone who is able to fix those broken pieces, it takes all your might not to shout it to the world and show it off.

And all of that is allowed.

What isn’t allowed  is to further sexist and homophobic discourses that have always been targeted at queer women. Love who you want to love, but don’t claim to have found all the answers just because, to quote you, “there are good dicks out there.”


Graphic by @sundaeghost

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