Miley Cyrus’s eighth studio album, “Endless Summer Vacation,” was released on Friday, March 10, and is a more pop-focused follow-up to her 2020 glam rock album, “Plastic Hearts.” Cyrus split the album’s tracks into an “a.m.” and “p.m.” sections while explaining the album’s sequencing during promotional interviews before its release.
According to Cyrus, the album’s first half is meant to symbolize “the morning time,” which she described as “the period where there’s a buzz and energy and there’s the promise for new ideas.” However, the album’s second half, designated as p.m., is influenced by the nighttime and has a “feel[ing] like there’s a slinky, seediness, and kind of a grime but a glamour at the same time.”
I was looking forward to seeing Cyrus’s vision realized after having a taste of it in her first single “Flowers,” which was released on January 13. Thus, I was a little taken aback when, in the wee hours after its release, I pressed play. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel a connection to the album at first.
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I waited impatiently through the first 43 minutes for the first song that would stand out enough to make my final top-five selection, but it never came. Rather than having to choose just a few favorites from a large pool, I had to choose a single tune that I enjoyed.
I sat in silence for a while trying to figure out where I went wrong before deciding to give the album another spin, and I’m really happy I did. Even while I was still having trouble determining the album’s overarching “a.m. and p.m.” theme, I did finally realize that the first half of the album was much more to my liking.
In addition, I was able to build my top five list with ease; here is the result of all that agonizing over rankings:
The album’s lead single, and the first track on my personal best-of list! Not only does the upbeat, groovy disco beat of “Flowers” merit the song’s title, but it also deserves to be recognized for its success on the charts. The opportunity to fantasize about parading around like Miley Cyrus whenever it plays is one I will never pass up.
I wasn’t convinced by this song at first, but after giving it a second chance, I now consider it to be among the album’s best. Now I understand the contrast between the breezy, sunny, twinkly instrumental and Cyrus’ signature gritty vocals. I can almost hear the concert crowd joining in as Cyrus yells out the word “jaded” to accompany her.
Rose Colored Lenses
Now that I think “Rose Colored Lenses” is my favorite song on the album, I realize that my so-called “top five list” is no longer a rating from best to worst. The song perfectly captures the sentiment of naive optimism that has always been linked to the concept of rose-colored glasses.
The fact that it was co-written and co-produced by Tyler Johnson, the genius also responsible for Harry Styles’ “Woman,” may perhaps be a factor in why I find this song so appealing.
When Cyrus and Pete Davidson first sang “You” on New Year’s Eve 2022, it was so fresh that she hadn’t even recorded it yet. It took until April 2022 for the live version of the song to be included on her third live album, “Attention: Miley Live,” and the impassioned piano ballad did not disappoint.
Finally, I’d like to bring up “Island,” the lone track from the evening portion of “Endless Summer Vacation.” As the song’s title suggests, the tune has a breezy island vibe that has me wondering whether I’ve been cast away. Or am I in paradise for real?
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