A second drastic image makeover begs questions of Cyrus' true identity.RCA Records

The title of Cyrus’s latest album, Younger Now,tells you everything you need to know. Cyrus is doing what she can to re-brand herself as the natural extension of Breakout’s Miley Cyrus, rather than the polarising singer of Wrecking Ball. Even the cover art for the first single contributes to this by showing a pre-Hannah Montana Cyrus cutely beaming, as the artist attempts to shed the controversy of her recent image. The result is an album as far as is possible from the crudely drawn Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz.

The eponymous first track opens with the sound of rain and frogs, presumably to demonstrate her going back to her roots, and the chorus (“No one stays the same/You know what goes up must go down/Change is a thing you can count on/I feel so much younger now”) feels like an obvious apology for the gratuity of previous songs, such as ‘Fucking Fucked up’ and ‘Bang Me Box.’ Ostensibly, there is nothing wrong with Cyrus’s fusion of country and pop for a 2017 audience. Given that her father is Billy Ray Cyrus and her godmother, with whom she duets the catchy, if saccharin, ‘Rainbowland’ is Dolly Parton, it is unsurprising that Cyrus wants to ‘grab my old blue jeans.’ Yet the track list has as many misses as hits; the simple harmonies and soaring chorus of ‘Miss You Much’ make it a definite favorite, while ‘Thinkin’ is about two minutes too long, and ‘Inspired,’ written with Hillary Clinton in mind, manages to be a song about social awareness with less to say than ‘Man in the Mirror.’

Despite this, the album doesn’t have a terrible song; its worst flaw is how safe it feels. Clunky lyrics which don’t really fit the rhythm such as “you know what goes up must come down” in ‘Younger Now’ and “I’ll give up all I have in exchange for who I love more than anything” in ‘I Would Die For You’ feel like an attempt to tap into the moralistic side of country in a desperate attempt to reclaim her innocent image. In fact, Cyrus is at her best when she abandons this insincerity for the simple, heartfelt “You’re not him/She’s not him” in ‘You’re not him’.


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There is nothing particularly brave or innovative about this album: empty country music clichés are opted for over originality, and the identical structure of every song on the album leaves the listener slightly lethargic. The ever so obnoxious Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz probably makes present-day Cyrus cringe, but crudely drawn as it is, it is also unabashedly self-centered and provocative; innovative and individual. It is in contrast to this that the plastic countrified pop of Younger Now feels too secure and manufactured – many of the songs rotate around a dependence on a lover one assumes to be fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, and lines such as “it’s time for this queen to go and find another throne” show the lack of personality in the album.

“Despite the many flaws in Cyrus’ previous work, the banal security of this album means that although this is nowhere near her worst work, it is a creative low point”

The previous Cyrus used to be a queen in herself; the release of Bangerz marked a controversial, semi-scandalous, and much-maligned figure who was nonetheless sharply individual. By contrast, there is no sign of Cyrus’s personality whatsoever in Younger Now, eviscerated by her re-branding team. In doing so, they have done the album a disservice, yet despite the many flaws in Cyrus’s previous work, the banal security of this album means that although this is nowhere near her worst work, it is a creative low point. Certain tracks are easy on the ear, but Younger Now’s overall formulaic nature makes this an album as forgettable as it is best forgotten about

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