‘Endless Summer vacation’: a great fit for Miley Cyrus

Latest album blends pop and rock, creates new classics


Caroline Owen

“Endless Summer Vacation” was released March 10 and is Cyrus’ latest all-original album since “Plastic Hearts” in November 2020.

Gaby Esquivel, staff reporter

Miley Cyrus’ single “Flowers” was released on Jan. 12 and became an instant hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks straight. This single served as a tease for her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation, released on March 10. In less than a month the album had over a billion streams on Spotify. 

Miley Cyrus has always crushed the pop genre from the very beginning of her career, but in the past years, she has also demonstrated her skills in different genres such as rock. In this album, Cyrus includes both pop and rock labeling them as a.m. and p.m. Both of these genres were beautifully combined, and though both sides shine bright some of her p.m. songs were a bit try hard.

Endless Summer Vacation feels as if Cyrus’ albums Plastic Hearts (2020) and Younger Now (2017) had a baby. Over the years, pop listeners have seen Cyrus develop as a person and artist, from her iconic, innocent Hannah Montana era to her scandalous “Wrecking Ball” era. Now, with Endless Summer Vacation, she shows her soft and gentle side as well as her demanding and tough side.

The first half of the album is pop or a.m., and these upbeat songs of summer whisk you away to a sunny beach. The album opens up with the aforementioned single “Flowers,” which has been labeled as a breakup song, something for which Cyrus is well-known. Because of that, fans have speculated that this song is inspired by her divorce from Liam Hemsworth in 2019, though Cyrus hasn’t confirmed nor denied this connection. But “Flowers” is more than just a breakup song. It’s about being self-sufficient without a significant other. The most memorable lyrics—“I can buy myself flowers, write my name in the sand”—demonstrate how having self-love and taking care of yourself is better than being surrounded by a toxic partner.

This album also includes a demo version of the song, which replaces the upbeat drum with a slow piano and uses Cyrus’ raw voice, without autotune. The juxtaposed versions of “Flowers” show the contrasting ways in which people go through breakups. Another breakup song with a deeper meaning, one that is not being talked about enough, is “Jaded.” The song shows her remorse for the loss of her relationship but also her recognition that it’s not always one person’s fault. Lyrics like “I could have taken you places, you’re lonely now and I hate it” add a vulnerable side to the heartbreak anthem.

The pop-oriented songs feel more true to Cyrus’ real self.

Another song that is particularly relatable, and an instant favorite on the album, is “Island.” In this song, Cyrus asks herself if loneliness is a joy or a punishment. The lyrics, “But no one here needs nothin’ from me, and it’s kind of nice,” are some of the best to come out of this album. It inspires listeners to ponder if being alone is really necessary and suggests that we might as well take advantage of the people that surround us.

A standout track is “Rose Colored Lenses.” Though it’s technically a love song, its strong suit is childhood nostalgia. The song is a time machine back to carefree childhood summers. The phrase “wearing rose-colored lenses” and playing pretend refers to escaping the reality we face and just focusing on the good and the romance that there is in the world. Though she does express that the romance is unlikely to happen, she continues to hope that her dream becomes a reality and stays at peace with her loved one.

The other half of the album is p.m., which is more hardcore and almost angry. In some of the rock songs, it felt like Cyrus was trying too hard to imitate her own past rock hits, like “WTF Do I Know.” “River” was easily the worst song of the album, and it was lost from the beginning with an intro beat that sounded like an ‘80s arcade dance game. From the start, she explains how he is so invested in the love, she feels that she almost feels like she is drowning in it referring to them as a river.

Endless Summer Vacation is the perfect album if you want to relax and pretend you are on vacation or if you are ready to go and party with your friends at a nightclub.

Though it is romantic to say that your love for someone will never dry out, I thought it was odd when she imagined having children with the person. One of the highlights of the p.m. side, however, is “Violet Chemistry,” which is an instant catch. This song creates a vivid image of her pushing to have a spark and just have something new happen. She knows it can’t last forever, but that’s what makes an experience memorable and fun. She establishes this in the bridge which is probably the best part of the song and really soothing to hear and was reminiscent of her Bangerz era because in this song she is also trying to experiment with different things.

Overall, the pop-oriented songs feel more true to Cyrus’ real self. While her experimentation with different genres is commendable, especially considering her strong, raspy voice, the more mellow but groovy beats and meaningful lyrics of “Island” and both renditions of “Flowers” carry the album. Endless Summer Vacation is the perfect album if you want to relax and pretend you are on vacation or if you are ready to go and party with your friends at a nightclub.