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
Cailin Russo – “PSYCHO FREAK”
Cailin Russo got the memo that this week was for disco-infused bops. The transportive pop track puts the listener smack in the middle of a club, but specifically at the point where everything feels like it’s going right — the playlist is perfect, no one’s tired, and the vibes are immaculate. “PSYCHO FREAK” captures that feeling and revels in the joy.
Russo is an experimental creator, one who says she thrives at the intersection of music, fashion, and art. With a new album on the horizon titled Influx, there’s never been a better time to enter her creative world. — M. Siroky
Noa Kirel – “Gone”
By matching an upbeat, bouncy sound with a vulnerable story, Israeli singer Noa Kirel has struck gold with her new single, “Gone.” The dark-pop track arrives from the vocalist set to compete in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest just a few months from now, and exists as a showcase for her talent as a dancer and all-around performer as much as it serves as a vehicle for her impressive vocals. “My favorite thing about you is you’re gone,” she says, definitive and confident. — M. Siroky
Purr – “The Natural”
Slow-going, somewhat sardonic, and backed by wailing pedal steel, Purr’s “The Natural” has a lot going for it. With its country-nodding instrumental and double-tracked vocals, the song lulls you into a warm trance for just under four minutes. During that time, vocalist Eliza Callahan dryly takes on the prospect of aging with darkly funny, sometimes self-deprecating lyrics (“I’m not a natural liar/ I’m not a natural anything”). Perfect for a rainy Sunday morning or an introspective night drive, Purr continues to deliver creative, emotionally intelligent indie tunes. — Jonah Krueger
Dazy & Militarie Gun – “Pressure Cooker (Remix) (Feat. Mannequin Pussy)”
“Pressure Cooker,” Militarie Gun and Dazy’s collaborative single, was already a certified bop when it initially dropped last year. With hints of Beastie Boys and Odelay-era Beck in the instrumental and Militarie Gun’s infectious energy, it was an irresistible, dance-worthy jam. Now, on the song’s new remix, indie punk favorites Mannequin Pussy are getting in on the fun, contributing background vocals and an extra verse. Really, there’s only one suitable response: an enthusiastic “hell yeah!” — J.K.
Mhaol – “Therapy”
Over a fuzzed-out bass groove, the opening lines to Mhaol’s “Therapy” minces no words: “You know you really fucked me up/ And I don’t think that you care/ I should bill you for my therapy.” On paper, it sounds serious — and it is — but in practice, it couldn’t be more fun. Vocalist Róisín Nic Ghearailt delivers the lines with a playful snark, and the instrumentals seem like they could fall apart at any moment. All of which is to say, “Therapy” might be the perfect anthem for when you’re totally over them… like, for sure, 100% over them… stop asking about it, I’m over them. — J.K.