Miley Cyrus’ ‘Endless Summer Vacation’

One of three vinyl options available for Miley Cyrus's new 'Endless Summer Vacation' album. Photo by
One of three vinyl options available for Miley Cyrus's new 'Endless Summer Vacation' album. Photo by

On January 13, 2023, Miley Cyrus released a new single titled “Flowers,” a prelude to her highly anticipated and recently released album, Endless Summer Vacation. It was a calculated move, considering that the date marked her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth’s birthday.

With “Flowers” came the promise of a new studio album, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2020’s Plastic Hearts. That album not only showcased Cyrus’ genre-bending versatility but also allowed her to collaborate with musical icons such as Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks. Each song on Plastic Hearts was a testament to Cyrus’ confidence and passion for reinventing herself.

It’s no wonder, then, that fans couldn’t get enough of “Flowers” upon its release; it picked up right where Cyrus left off. She’s back, and she’s as bold—and confident—as ever. “Flowers” skyrocketed to the top of the charts, making it her most successful single since 2013’s “Wrecking Ball” and giving fans reason to believe that the song was but one of many gems they’d discover on her new album.

Endless Summer Vacation was released on March 10th. Her first studio album released on her new label, Columbia Records, Endless Summer Vacation contains twelve tracks in total (thirteen, if you count the demo of “Flowers” that appears at the end of the digital version of the album). Every song serves as a means for Cyrus to flaunt what makes her a beloved Disney star turned stylish pop icon whose raspy, textured voice pairs well with her undeniable fearlessness as an artist.

Now 30 years old, Cyrus is marking the start of a new decade in her life with an album that explores themes of heartbreak, self-discovery, and resilience. Her marriage to Hemsworth didn’t work out, but let’s be clear that this album does not make divorce its central theme . . . in typical Cyrus style, there are so many reasons to have fun, let loose, and move on.

Endless Summer Vacation opens with “Flowers,” a catchy song that speaks to her ability to love herself and embrace her newfound independence. “Flowers” smoothly transitions into “Jaded,” an unapologetically honest track about a lover whose phone number she says she’ll erase but whose t-shirt she’ll keep.

The third track, “Rose Colored Lenses,” emphasizes the appeal of permanence, with a plea that she and her lover “stay like this forever.” The name of the album originates from this song, and it’s one of several tracks produced by Kid Harpoon, who has worked with other pop stars such as Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes. 

“Thousand Miles” is a charming collaboration between Cyrus and Brandi Carlile, who have performed together in the past, most notably during the broadcast of Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party. Like Cyrus, Carlile has released music that blends numerous musical genres, including folk, country, and Americana. While their collaboration on this record features thoughtful imagery (“All I get is a dial tone / And instead of hangin’ up, I hang my head”), Carlile fans might be disappointed by how restrained her vocals are throughout the duration of the track. Had Carlile been given the chance to shine even half as much as Cyrus does here, the song would have been all the better for it. 

The song “You” follows, with Cyrus singing how she wants “late-night sweet magic, that forever-lasting love.” There’s a waltzy feel to this track, and it seems that it would not be out of place on the soundtrack of a romantic comedy.

As we move on to “Handstand,” the album undergoes a significant transformation, transitioning from its laid-back “A.M.” vibe to a more upbeat “P.M.” feel. The track opens with a spoken word intro before settling into an electrifying rhythm that evokes the atmosphere of a pulsating club, complete with strobe lights and all.

Next up is “River,” the album’s second single, and it’s easy to see why. This high-energy love song hits hard and delivers a message of hope: when one love story ends, another begins. Interestingly, Cyrus is rumored to be dating Maxx Morando, who produced several tracks on the album, including the standout hit, “Violet Chemistry.” This song exudes self-confidence in both its lyrics and pulsating beat, and its Monet-inspired bridge that emerges towards the song’s conclusion is simply breathtaking.

Sia makes a notable appearance on “Muddy Feet,” lending her unique touch and helping to maintain the album’s momentum. Although it’s a subdued collaboration, fans familiar with Sia’s work will undoubtedly appreciate the nuances she brings to this track.

The album’s final tracks, “Wildcard,” “Island,” and “Wonder Woman,” all deliver on the promise of their predecessors. In “Wildcard,” Cyrus exposes her vulnerability, expressing that loving someone is never enough. Meanwhile, “Island” continues this theme, questioning whether she’s stranded or in paradise, with a catchy chorus that you’ll want to sing along to.

The gorgeous ballad “Wonder Woman” serves as a reminder to fans of Cyrus’ vocal prowess. When given the chance to showcase her voice as she does on this track, her raw and emotional delivery is simply mesmerizing, enough to stop you in your tracks and listen intently. Cyrus has shared that she wrote this song after the passing of her grandmother, who was one of her biggest and most supportive fans, making the song even more touching.

Those who purchase or stream the digital version of Endless Summer Vacation will be treated to a bonus track: “Flowers (Demo).” It’s stripped down—just as you’d expect a demo to be—and it’s interesting to hear this song in its original form because it makes listeners appreciate how it evolved.

To celebrate the album’s release, Cyrus recorded a Disney+ special titled “Miley Cyrus—Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions).” The special allows fans to watch Cyrus perform new tracks from the album as well as discuss how she approached the making of it. Her enthusiasm for this album is palpable.

Endless Summer Vacation is perhaps the strongest album in her discography to date. It demonstrates how Cyrus’ willingness to keep experimenting while staying true to herself makes it possible for her to push the boundaries necessary to create art that reaffirms her relevancy, authenticity, and creativity.

Written by Editorial Team

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

The entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Photo credit to @ajb on Unsplash.

Sudden Interest in the Federal Funds Rate

A girl holds a sign to protest climate change and greenhouse gases. © iVazoUSky via Adobe Stock.

Tipping Point: Climate Change & Greenhouse Gases