Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Miley Cyrus brings a little disco moment to the beach.
Miley Cyrus has played with genre extensively throughout her career, and it’s probably because her voice just sounds good in every single one of them.
She can be a country darling, a cover queen, a rock star, a pop performer, or a jazzy crooner. The world is her oyster, and her instrument — that incredibly versatile voice — can take her anywhere she might want to go. Her highly-anticipated new album, Endless Summer Vacation, arrives March 10th, and Cyrus describes it as her “love letter to LA.” “Flowers” is the first single from Endless Summer Vacation, and the new era of Miley is officially off to a dreamy, glittering start.
It’s easy to forget, sometimes, just how long Miley has been in the public eye. Hannah Montana premiered almost 17 years ago, in 2006, and Cyrus has remained as a consistent part of the pop culture fabric ever since. The lyrics in “Flowers” feel like a personal a reclamation of her private life that has never felt that private at all. “We were right ’til we weren’t/ Built a home and watched it burn,” she sings, lamenting her relationship, presumably, with ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. (The song was released on his birthday, after all).
It’s not all doom and gloom in Cyrus’ version of Los Angeles, though — once the chorus hits, she arrives at the conclusion that everything is going to be okay, and there’s even a strong chance she’ll be better off going forward: “I can take myself dancing/ And I can hold my own hand/ Yeah, I can love me better than you can.”
We’d also be remiss not to mention the dazzling, artful music video, which dropped alongside the track. The visual shows Cyrus literally shedding layers, re-acclimating herself with her own skin at her own home. (If there’s one thing Miley can be counted on to do, it’s to find a pool and get in it.)
If the hazy, peaceful California tone of “Malibu” were to be applied to a dance pop track, the result might sound something like “Flowers,” which seems to interpolate Gloria Gaynor’s iconic “I Will Survive.” If that is in fact the case, it’s hard to believe that choice could be accidental — this is Miley embracing her story as her own, stepping into her autonomy in a fully realized way, and pushing her sound in a relatively new direction. Her raspy vocals offer an edge to the disco-toned anthem, leaving us all excited to see what else Endless Summer Vacation has in store.
— Mary Siroky