Back in December, Miley Cyrus teased a “New year, new Miley.” With the release of “Flowers,” Cyrus offers the first look at her forthcoming album Endless Summer Vacation, which sees Cyrus dial down the edge presented in her previous album, Plastic Hearts.
Cyrus is no stranger to taking on personas and kicking off new audio and visual eras with each album release. Some stints have certainly been misses, others have only gotten better with time (ahem, BANGERZ), but Plastic Hearts marked Cyrus’ first brush with critical acclaim and popularity.
The last couple of years have been good for Cyrus’ career, and “Flowers” feels as though Cyrus is no longer trying to prove something, exuding a confidence in herself and her songwriting not yet seen throughout her 15 years in the public eye. It’s now up to Cyrus to not allow this comfort to lead to laziness, which “Flowers” very nearly trips on.
We could go into all the ways “Flowers” feels like a jab at the singer’s former husband Liam Hemsworth, but that feels so much more boring than what’s actually going on in the single (although releasing the track on the actor’s birthday is an admirable level of pettiness). “Flowers” is a spunky track about flaunting one’s self-reliance and independence, no longer depending on someone else to feel complete. While the premise is by no means a revolution in the world of pop, it feels perfectly suited for Cyrus’ current place in life.
Plastic Hearts tinkered with the sounds of ‘70s glam rock and power pop, but “Flowers” leans into another burgeoning sound of the time: Disco. A funky bassline guides the song, paired with a swooning string line and fizzy cymbals. With the chorus, “Flowers” becomes a bonafide earworm (although, as said before, is nothing too inventive).
Although we can never get the full picture of an album from lead singles (which have only weakened in power over the last few years), “Flowers” offers enough promise for the Mike Will Made-It (BANGERZ apologists, rejoice), Greg Kurstin, Tyler Johnson, and Kid Harpoon-produced project.
Miley’s Endless Summer Vacation kicks off on March 10.