Pop Goes: Miley Cyrus ‘younger now’ album review – oh, what could have been …

Ok, so I felt like I should do this because I made such a big whoopy about “Younger Now” the single. So I listened to Miley Cyrus’ new album and I like it but I also have to say that it’s no “Lemonade”. But then again, there’s hardly any pop album by a major artist out there that had such an impressive tracklist and concept like “Lemonade”. I am talking about the big names like Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, etc. I own a few of their albums but I listened to pretty much all of them and there’s just something different to albums like Jamila Wood’s “HEAVN” and, in comparison, “21” (which I own and love, don’t get me wrong). I don’t know why but somehow the tracklisting usually contains some songs that just aren’t that strong or redundant and put the singles on a pedestal. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s lesser known singer/songwriters out there whose albums don’t require any skip-button at all. But with pop albums, there’s always a few songs I can live without.

Lemonade“, for me, was one of the first really big pop albums that managed to be an amazing listen without the need to skip a song (even though “Sandcastles” comes close).

(the voice is a little shaky at the beginning but I am constantly surprised how well Miley Cyrus does live – no backing singers trying to cover up her weak voice … I also really want that romper)

Ok, back to “Younger Now”. I think the first half of the album is stronger than the second. That might be because it’s all the singles plus the duet with Cyrus’ godmother and queen of country Dolly Parton. It also might be because the first songs all have an individual vibe whereas the latter tend to blend into each other now and then, interrupted by the occasional gem.

That’s a bummer because Miley has a voice that is unique and fantastic and can sing circles around some other dames, on record AND live. But somehow, the songwriting doesn’t always make use of it. With the exception of “Younger Now” and “Week without you” (which I love, even though it’s not necessarily fresh sounding), the country songs are better than the pop songs because you gotta have a voice to sing good country and Miley has it. She has a twang and personality and that translates well with heartbreak and yearning (staples of the good ole music of country).

(This song actually grew on me. I was a little disappointed because it felt like such a flashback to her Montana-days but it’s actually a lovely little road song)

“Miss you so much” is lovely, as is “She’s not him”. Along the way, though, I feel like the love songs overtake the album and somehow betray the album title and titular song. I really wanted other themes than the whole “Love you boo”-shtick because “Younger Now” is a great concept if it would have led to more songs in the like.

As a former child star and Disney darling turned femme fatale chaotic turned songwriter Miley has more to talk about than her relationship. “Younger Now” (the song) does exactly that. I wonder what would have happened, had the album tried to get more into the theme of change, reinvention and trying to come to terms with who you were and who you are now (and who you might be in the future). That’s such a rich well to draw from and it feels like a lost opportunity that in the end it’s just not as prominent a theme. Especially, since “Younger Now” (the single) also uses this theme musically (and in the music video). Gosh, I get a little sad thinking about the Miley Cyrus album that could have been.

I still like the album and might even buy it as the one big pop album I buy each year (2016 – Lemonade; 2015 – 21) but damn, I expect more because I know that there is more. Maybe next time.

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