Miley Cyrus Walks a Fine Line Between Soft and Edgy on “Endless Summer Vacation”

Miley Cyrus at the Tom Ford show Arrivals, Fall Winter 2020
Miley Cyrus at the Tom Ford show Arrivals, Fall Winter 2020. Photo by Rob Latour/Shutterstock (10551994dc)

Miley Cyrus gave us the biggest pop hit of 2023 so far with “Flowers” and made sure everyone pays attention when her new album arrives. Endless Summer Vacation is finally here, and it sees the singer walking a fine line between soft and edgy, letting us bask in her maturing talent along the way.

“Flowers” was the only single from Endless Summer Vacation that we got to hear before the full album dropped on Friday, and this proved to be a genius strategy. Its clear references to Cyrus’ romantic past helped it create a lot of hype, becoming a viral sensation and her longest No. 1 hit in the U.S. so far.

Cyrus opted for “River” as her second single, capturing the essence of the whole album with these two songs alone. “Flowers” perfectly encapsulates the album’s AM side, filled with slow-burn pop songs and ballads, but she changes the tone on the album’s PM side, switching to “nasty” dance floor bangers – the words Cyrus herself used to describe “River”.

The first half of the album is supposed to represent the dawn of a new day, and it shows maturity, but it’s pretty bland by the singer’s standards. Despite lacking bite, “Jaded” and “Rose Colored Lenses” are worthy additions to the singer’s catalog.

“Handstand” is the first song on the album that lets Cyrus’ freak flag fly, and things only get wilder from there. “Muffy Feet” ft. Sia is definitely its most head-scratching track and it feels a little bit petty in comparison to the rest of the album, but it’s pretty catchy.

The closing songs of Endless Summer Vacation are its weakest link, but they allow Cyrus to show off her vocal range and finish her story on a reflective note.

As a whole, Endless Summer Vacation walks a fine line between different emotions and genres, never latching onto any of them for too long. This may feel confusing at times, but so is heartbreak, so we have to give Cyrus credit for perfectly capturing this feeling on one of her most mature albums to date.