EP REVIEW: ‘She is Coming’ – Miley Cyrus

For anyone watching her career since it’s beginning, Miley Cyrus has been one of the most interesting stars to observe. From wholesome country-pop princess to hip-hop rebel and back again with a weird psychedelic drug filled phase thrown in there, it’s been a real rollercoaster. With each release, it seemed Cyrus had finally found herself until she was onto something else. However, on She is Coming, (the first third of her forthcoming and appropriately titled album She is Miley Cyrus), Cyrus’ numerous personas come together as the most authentic Cyrus yet.

With influences from rock, hip hop and country, She is Coming flickers from genre with such fever and confidence that it feels like being pulled through all of Cyrus’s albums in 19 minutes. ‘Mother’s Daughter’ is a rock influenced anthem while the RuPaul feature ‘Cattitude’ is as campy as one would expect of such a duo. Each track does reminisce to early eras, harking back to tracks like ‘The Climb’ on the closing track ‘The Most’ and ‘Younger Now’ on ‘D.R.E.A.M’. ‘Party Up The Street’ is a real highlight, an super chill, reggae-esque track featuring Swae Lee that is easily the best feature of the three on the EP. RuPaul is good if a bit crude, while Ghostface Killah’s verse on ‘D.R.E.A.M’ is so unmatched to the track at hand it’s a real wonder how it ended up on here. However, Swae Lee and Cyrus’ vocals are a surprisingly perfect combination as they meander along to the gorgeous beat provided by Mike WILL Made-It.

It is a important for artists to develop their sound, and play with where they have gone before and push forward at the same time. While Cyrus has definitely explored, she has never quite done it as exceptional as on this EP. Here, she finally leans into the best of every persona she has adopted over the years and developed them. It’s hard to imagine it can get better than this but if the rest of the album is as good as this EP, then it’s a good thing she warned us she is coming because Cyrus is a truly doing something special.

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TRACK REVIEW: ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ – Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus’ career has been one of the greatest rollercoasters the world has ever seen. The world has loved her and the world has hated her. She’s had her ups and her downs and often times they come simultaneously, with her hardest personal times bringing her undeniable success in her professional life and vice versa. On her latest effort, ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’, a collaboration for Producer Mark Ronson’s upcoming record, she appears ridiculously self-aware of that fact.

Her first release since the absolute flop that was 2017’s Younger Now, ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ is Cyrus deciding to exist somewhere between the reformed perfect country bumpkin that she tried to be for Younger Now and the uber-controversial pop diva that possessed her for her Bangerz era, and simply being herself. The track is a mature country ballad/pop banger. Lyrically, ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ drips with melancholy, discussing the impact of the modern world (more specifically, modern America) on one’s life and how no matter how bad the world around you is, ultimately it is heartbreak that will cause you the most pain. Cyrus and Ronson’s writing is mature and gorgeous, boosted even more by the stunning delivery provided by Cyrus’ love-bruised yet confident vocal. The track is masterfully produced by Ronson, who is actually the lead artist on the track, with the raw twang of the country instrumentals mixing perfectly into the throbbing ache of the synth-pop beat, a blend that never feels forced or messy.

In fact, ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ is exactly the opposite. It’s the perfect blend of both pop and country, of both Bangerz Miley and Younger Now Miley, and as a result, the messy, forced track you might expect is nowhere to be found. Instead, Ronson and Cyrus’ collaboration is some of each artist’s best, and arguably, most real work to date.

Check out the official video for Mark Ronson’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ feat. Miley Cyrus below:

Alternatively Pop’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

2017 gave birth to wonderful comebacks, marvelous debuts and brilliant follow-ups, marking one of the strongest years (creatively that is) for pop music. Here are our picks for the top 15 albums this year.

  1. Melodrama – Lorde

melodramaAn immaculate culmination of synths and sorrow, Lorde left only destruction in her wake upon her return to the music industry. An unprecedented triumph, Melodrama ranks among the greatest pop albums since music’s conception and proves that the artist behind it isn’t quite the one-trick pony some thought she was.

 

  1. Reputation – Taylor Swift

taylor coverWhilst her contemporary, Lorde, took a more experimental approach on melodrama, Swift ventured further into the mainstream (with a sprinkle of her own experimentation), and produced the polished and perfected pop that glittered on every second of every track on reputation. A departure from the demure crafted synth-pop of 1989. Swift stretched the very boundaries of pop music, and did so to a great degree of success.

 

  1. Waves – Rachel Platten

wavesA perfect example of an artist maturing into they’re sound. Platten’s Waves delivered on all the potential that its predecessor Wildfire promised. Combining a more vulnerable and sincere approach to the album’s lyrics and a slicker dance-pop production, Waves wipes away the façade and pushes Platten out from behind the clichéd power slogans that were one too many on Wildfire and shows her off for the force of nature that she truly is.

 

  1. Harry Styles – Harry Styles

harryA cohesive and risky debut rooted in soft and indie rock was not the solo project many expected when Styles began curating following the announcement of his band’s hiatus. However, it is what he created and he truly displayed every bit of talent he had. A record full of interesting tracks with different yet cohesive production makes for a wonderful debut.

 

  1. Rainbow – Kesha

rainbowBoth Lorde and Swift may have made strong comebacks in 2017, but it was the reinvention of Kesha that made for a truly pleasant surprise. Following a very public legal battle, the star returned to her comfort zone – the recording studio – and made a record that, while flawed, displayed her extensive capabilities to dabble in various genres and uncanny ability to write from unique perspectives.

 

  1. What Do You Think About The Car? – Declan McKenna

declan mckennaIn a year of marvellous debuts, McKenna seized the opportunity to capture the views of his generation. Discussing a variety of subjects that plague millennials, McKenna put those issues to an indie rock soundtrack fabulously.

 

  1. Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey

alt pop lanaAs always, Del Rey produced an album full of vintage, wistful and melancholic gorgeousness. While the first half of the album has its let downs, the second half is home to some of Del Rey’s best work to date.

 

 

 

  1. Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

Dua_Lipa_(album)A tour de force of pop magic that ranges from slower acoustic to tropical club anthems – such as the insatiable ‘New Rules’ – Dua Lipa affirmed that she is the next big power in pop music and she is here to stay.

 

 

  1. Ride – Loreen

Loreen_-_Ride_CoverMoving from her prior EDM driven releases to a more mid-tempo electro-alternative sound in a seamless fashion, Loreen’s Ride gave a darker and mature look at the star’s already unique sound and vocals, bring about one of the year’s best alternative releases.

 

 

  1. Places – Lea Michele

Lea_Michele_-_Places_(Official_Album_Cover)Places is like listening to someone slipping into their old favourite jumper after spending the entire day in an uncomfortable gown. Michele never truly sounded comfortable on her debut (except for the stunning ‘If You Say So’) but that discomfort disintegrates as she steps into her Broadway shoes and her comfort zone on the masterful traditional pop of her sophomore effort.

 

  1. Nervous System – Julia Michaels

268x0wAlthough it is technically an EP, Nervous System is one of pop’s best songwriters make her grand entrance into the singing side of her industry. A fabulous collection of modern mainstream pop that, while not overly unique, is fantastically executed.

 

 

  1. Younger Now – Miley Cyrus

MileyA beautiful but bumpy return to her country roots, Younger Now brought about some of Cyrus’ best work and worst work alike. Tracks like ‘Malibu’ and ‘I Would Die For You’ mark some of the most mature and intentional work of Cyrus’ career and made for an enjoyable listen despite its shortcomings.

 

  1. Ctrl – SZA

1200x630bbA masterclass in modern R&B, Sza explored themes of femininity, what it means to be young and all the issues that come with that with commanding lyrics and breath-taking production that displays a grasp and willingness to push the boundaries of R&B that is beyond her years.

 

 

  1. American Teen – Khalid

1200x630bb (1)Another album based in R&B, American Teen pushes the boundaries of the genre in the exact opposite direction that SZA went in and does it just as wonderfully. Khalid embraces the mainstream influences of pop music while remaining firmly rooted in R&B with brilliance and conviction.

 

  1. Gemini – Macklemore

220px-Macklemore_GeminiA mixed album that feels more uneven than the other 14 albums on this list, Gemini is held together by its brightest moments and the spirit of the artist behind. Every track and every moment, good or bad, feels genuine and earned and necessary and that, is the brilliance of the album.

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Younger Now – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus’ Younger Now’ serves as an ode to both of her past selves and embraces her future.

Miley

Miley Cyrus has been through the ringer. Born into music royalty, and with the determination to follow in her father’s footsteps, Cyrus was a working adult at the age of fifteen, churning out episodes and soundtracks at a ridiculous rate. That all culminated in her imploding and producing her incredibly successful and even more controversial Bangerz era. Since then she’s grown her hair and grown up, which is ever so evident on her ironically titled sixth LP Younger Now.

Sonically, the album bounces from country to pop to a blend of the both. A perfect example of this, the album’s lead single, ‘Malibu’, a magical reinvention following the antics of her Bangerz era and the complete off the wall weirdness of her Dead Petz era. A slow, yet pounding number, Malibu served Cyrus on multiple levels. It was refined and well-constructed, taking her craftsmanship to a new height, but also put her prior mistakes firmly in the past.

This genre blending is also noticeable on ‘Thinkin’’, a country-rock-pop hybrid that demands attention with its earworm chorus that sticks in your brain with a vengeance. That same vengeance is present on the darker, folk-infused ‘Bad Mood’, where Cyrus’ vocals attack, perfectly matching with the brooding, intense production.

 

Miley-Cyrus-Malibu-3

Despite the more forgettable tracks (‘I Would Die For You’, ‘Week Without You’ and ‘Rainbowland’), Cyrus proves that when she is good she’s great. ‘Younger Now’ and ‘Inspired’ both embrace a more traditional country ideal, affirming her return to her country roots and wholesome image.Lyrically hollow, both tracks’ real standout element is Cyrus’ soaring voice.In fact, Cyrus’ vocals are breath-taking on every track, notably on cuts like the beautiful ‘Miss You So Much’, a marvellous testament to love set to a undulating acoustic instrumental that truly showcases Cyrus’ talent as a singer-songwriter and album standout ‘She’s Not Him’, a spectacular ballad about Cyrus’s inability to fall in love with anyone except her muse.

Ultimately, ‘Younger Now’ is a strong return to form from Cyrus. The album serves as a goodbye to her rebellious image of a bad girl and adopts wholeheartedly the inner flower child she left behind so many years ago. It is mature, yet young. It is strong, yet vulnerable. Whatever it is, it is unapologetically Miley.

TRACK REVIEW: ‘Younger Now’ – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus’ return to her country roots continues to deliver strong hooks – but remains hollow.

miley-cyrus-younger-now-single

After years spent annihilating the image of her past self, Miley Cyrus’ latest era is attempting to do it all over again. Her odd return to some of the wholesomeness that made her a household name in the first place continues with her latest release. Following the gorgeous “Malibu” and uninspired “Inspired, comes the title track from her forthcoming sixth album ‘Younger Now’.

The track reflects upon her tumultuous career as she explains away her eccentric Bangerz-era behaviour with hollow lyrics about change and time. The track isn’t necessarily bad, in fact it’s quite catchy and her vocals are soaring.

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However, it sounds regressive rather than progressive. It sounds like the same formula of pop-country that sound tracked her Hannah Montana days that’s just been adapted to the maturity level of a 24-year-old. It sounds disingenuous, as if the bold, risk-taking Cyrus has been stuffed in a box. The return to country-tinged pop is not the problem, instead it is the lack of believability with which it has been done that lets the music being produced down.

Overall, it is a strong song with a wonderful vocal performance and solid hook. Nevertheless, from this particular performer, known for her creativity and boldness, it sounds like a cop out.

 

Check out the music video for ‘Younger Now’ below: