Younger Now sees Miley Cyrus putting away her tongue and piercings, with her declaring that her return to pop and country marks an “honest” and “true” artistic direction for herself. Way to go in proving her detractors that she cultural appropriated and milked hip hop culture for the last few years, really. Then again, she has Thor’s brother back in her life, so we all know that young love can addle up a person’s mind in various wonderful ways. To underscore Ms Cyrus’s embrace of her country roots, her godmother Dolly Parton shows up here to provide backing vocals as well as co-lead vocals in Rainbowland, one of the most country tunes in this album.
While all is sunny and sweet here, with lovely heartfelt paeans of love such as Malibu and the upbeat Rainbowland, the bulk of the songs here lack some special something, such as a hook or catchy chorus, to stick to the mind. Things simmer here, but never reaching boiling point in any notable ways. I find myself missing the messy, frantic energy of Bangerz or the experimental chaos that is Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz – Younger Now feels overly sanitized and scrubbed of everything that makes Miley Cyrus an interesting artist.
Is this a calculated effort to win over her detractors, or a sincere effort? Either way, it’s a shame that something like this, with Ms Cyrus’s hands all over the production and writing, ends up being on the pleasant but bland side.