MILEY CYRUS MIGHT JUST BE THE ULTIMATE 21ST CENTURY POP STAR
Written by Lola Narawa on March 24, 2023
Since Cyrus launched her recording career 17 years ago, when she played a fictional pop star in the hit Disney series Hannah Montana, she has released everything from peppy pop-rock to risqué R&B, and reflective folk-pop to spangly country-disco. Now, the 30-year-old singer, actress and cultural lightning rod is enjoying one of her biggest ever hits with Flowers, a breezy paean to self-love that contains echoes of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Cyrus and subtlety haven’t always gone hand in hand – she quite literally rode a wrecking ball in the video for her 2013 chart-topper Wrecking Ball – but Flowers is notable for its vocal and musical restraint. “I can love me better than you can,” she sings on the wistful chorus of this sun-dappled disco track, which has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the last seven weeks. It is the lead single from Endless Summer Vacation, her eighth studio album, which is released today and poised to usher in another imperial phase for the singer. River, the album’s brilliant second single, is another instant Cyrus classic – not least because it seems cut from the same sonic cloth as Midnight Sky, the singer’s Stevie Nicks-inspired hit from 2020.
Cyrus’s successful shapeshifting reflects not just her own musical versatility, but also the unusually fluid musical era that she is navigating.