“We were good,” Miley Cyrus lulls in her familiar raspy voice. “We were gold. Kind of dream that can’t be sold.” These are the opening words to the hypnotic Endless Summer Vacation – soaked in introspection, growth, and orgasms.
Cyrus’ eighth record brought much anticipation upon the release with its first record-breaking single, “Flowers.” The first track is an upbeat response to Bruno Mars’ hit, “When I Was Your Man.” However, despite its smash success, “Flowers” manages to wilt compared to the rest of the LP.
Endless Summer Vacation is split into two acts to represent the different times of day – AM and PM. In a recent Instagram reel, Cyrus shares, “The ‘AM’ to me is representing the morning time, where there’s a buzz and … a potential of new possibilities. It’s a new day. And in the nighttime, it feels like there’s a slinky, seediness, and kind of … grime, but a glamor at the same time.”
In the AM portion of the record, Cyrus relies on a breezy, laid-back aesthetic to match its warm energy.
On tracks like “Rose Colored Glasses,” she paints a romance held under a rosy hue – whether it is a temporary fix or simply falling apart. Plus, she gives listeners a sensory pleasing experience – using descriptors such as “sticky sweet lemonade” to make it fully immersive.
However, despite the daylight, there is still a hint of darkness found in album highlights “Jaded” and “You.” Within these tracks, she lays bare the hard truths of relationships under repair – whether there is bitterness, passive aggression, or coming to accept the reality of baggage following divorce. In these moments, Cyrus brings listeners the hard-learned truths and wisdom in finding your truth without judgment.
However, once the album’s journey dips into the after hours, it slowly feels like a warm, seductive embrace from Cyrus’ earlier projects.
The PM half opens with the magnetic, syrupy sweet “Handstand” and a trippy spoken monologue featuring Harmonie Korine’s Big Twitchy. This raunchy, mesmerizing track feels like it could have been a cut track from her divisive Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz album. However, with a cheeky “helping hand,” it guides listeners into the raunchy embrace of Los Angeles’ nightlife.
As a long time “Smiler,” (a bonafide Miley Cyrus lover) the PM half resonates more with me because it borrows from her previous records – including Bangerz and Plastic Hearts. My personal favorite “Violet Chemistry” (produced by Bangerz’s co-executive producer Mike WiLL Made-It) describes the electric feeling of an instant connection during a night out.
Other notable tracks include the thoughtful “Island” and kiss-off alternative anthem “Muddy Feet.” “Island” poses the question of whether or not solitude from her significant other is a lonesome journey or truly paradise in disguise. Meanwhile, “Muddy Feet” reveals her lover has been cheating. It tells them to “get the fuck out of my house with that shit.” This bold anthem shows her standing her ground – both equally fearsome and truly at her most powerful.
Although Endless Summer Vacation is a seamless journey from start to finish, it finds some turbulence along the way. The stripped-down “Wonder Woman” and “Wildcard” feel like jarring additions to an otherwise smooth experience. While both songs are great in their own right, they did not feel like perfect fits for this album.
This newest addition to Miley Cyrus’ discography combines some of the best additions of her previous work – including the rocky feel of Plastic Hearts, trap-pop of Bangerz, acid trip of Dead Petz, and smooth sound of Younger Now. With a career spanning so many genres, it is a wonder to see how she can master each so flawlessly.
Top Picks: “Violet Chemistry,” “Island,” “Handstand,” “Rose Colored Lenses,” and “Jaded”
Skip: “Wonder Woman”
You can stream Endless Summer Vacation on all major streaming platforms and watch Miley Cyrus’ Disney+ premiere, Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions) now.