Miley Cyrus seems to be adamant about change and renewal as she gets in touch with her roots in “Malibu,” the latest single off her forthcoming yet-to-be-named album that features a carefree, breezy Cyrus — something that captures where Cyrus is at this point in her life.
The single is sweet and smokey with late summer vibes and chill beats that feature the glowing natural beaut that is Miley.
For any of you who have followed Cyrus in the past couple of years, her glaring change from teen-pop star Hannah Montana to “Can’t Be Tamed” teenager, foam-finger “Wrecking Ball”-riding pastie-wearing Dead Petz star may make you all roll your eyes when she says, “I haven’t smoked weed in three weeks,” which she indicated in her interview with Billboard this May.
Cyrus’ utter guilelessness and true-to-her-name attitude is something I’ve always admired. Whether her sticking her tongue out is an act of rebellion (“I was so embarrassed to be on the red carpet and so many of those fucking disgusting photographers would tell me to blow a kiss, and that’s not me,” she told Billboard) or she’s rallying up her Happy Hippies to create a safe space for all LGBTQ/homeless youth, I hold no judgment.
She’s simply one of the realest individuals in Hollywood today — and with the biggest heart.
Departing from her drugged-out and showy Bangerz (2013) and Dead Petz (2015) days, Cyrus’ return to twangy singer-songwriter seems like something that was inevitable. Her impressive Backyard Sessions in 2012 featured a breathtaking cover of “Jolene” by legendary godmother Dolly Parton, which forever holds as the song that made us all give a second look at the Disney starlet. Likewise, her breathy, raspy and deeply emotional take on classic songs such as Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” in 2015 surprised even the most cynical critics.
Her smoky sweet sultriness is something that is unmistakable, and her online Backyard Sessions was able to showcase how much her voice can dominate the realms of pop, rock, country and folk — if only she gave us that kind of record.
As music is often a reflection of individuals and artists and where they are at this point in their lives, “Malibu” reflects Cyrus’ simple feeling of being “at peace” at this point in her life.
Cyrus, who was engaged to Liam Hemsworth back in 2013, explained to Billboard: “I needed to change so much. And changing with someone else not changing like that is too hard. Suddenly you’re like, ‘I don’t recognize you anymore.’ We had to refall for each other.”
Although “Malibu” seems like a careful pop single, at best it’s a teaser of what’s to come. The official video dropped Thursday and focuses on Miley and only Miley — frolicking through fields and bathing on the shores as she sings an ode to her lover, “I never came to the beach, or stood by the ocean / I never sat by the shore, under the sun with my feet in the sand / But you brought me here and I’m happy that you did.”
The song builds well but seems to be missing that memorable, powerful pop moment — like an outcry of a chorus in “Wrecking Ball” or anthemic hook in “We Can’t Stop.” The song glides along well and is so pleasant to listen to, but if she strives to “glue this [country] back together,” pop music, at its best, often delivers those epic singalong choruses and verses that can bring a divided nation together.
One thing’s for sure: as Miley and Liam had to refall in love with each other, I’m hoping we all can refall in love with Miley and what’s to come of her music this year. And at only 24 (and so am I, so how could I not feel like I’ve grown up with her?!), there’s still a hell of a world out there.
Miley Cyrus' newest single "Malibu" is available on Amazon. What are your thoughts on the single and this so-called "rebirth" of Miley Cyrus?