On ma­ture re­flec­tion

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - LOUISE BRU­TON

Out with the Bangerz and in with the new. Mi­ley Cyrus’ Younger Now finds the 24-year-old in a chilled out space, us­ing her country roots to de­liver a love letter to her fi­ancé, the Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth.

To catch you up, Cyrus and Hemsworth first got en­gaged in 2012, called it quits a year later so she could act the mag­got, while re­leas­ing Bangerz, a bonkers pop al­bum, and Mi­ley Cyrus & Her Dead

Petz, a psy­che­delic al­bum ded­i­cated to her dead pets. We got a lot of Mi­ley in that time – too much, some might ar­gue – and things have calmed down. Thank god.

Lead sin­gle Mal­ibu in­tro­duced us to this new Mi­ley. “I never would’ve be­lieved you if three years ago you told me I’d be here writ­ing this song,” she sings softly, twirling around in a video, dressed in vir­ginal white and sur­rounded by dog­gos. She leans into her Nashville twang and hippy sen­si­bil­i­ties, cul­mi­nat­ing in two mid­dling duds: Rain­bow­land, a duet with her god­mother Dolly Par­ton that doesn’t go any­where; and In­spired, a song about want­ing to save the bees.

“No one stays the same,” she drawls on Younger Now, ad­dress­ing her shapeshift­ing skills nec­es­sary to sur­vive in the pop world and, thank­fully, this shift works. She’s Not Him isn’t an op­por­tunis­tic, grabby song about her sex­u­al­ity, it’s a sim­ple song about that crazy, lit­tle thing thing called love. And Mi­ley is just full of it now.

On both Thinkin’ and Bad Mood, it’s the ob­ses­sive kind of love, which she shakes off in A Week With­out You, where she cel­e­brates the free­dom of sin­gle­hood. “I’d go and grab my old blue jeans,” she sings, “I’m sick of wear­ing this silly dress”. If that’s free­dom to you, Mi­ley, then fire on.

Younger Now presents us with a more re­flec­tive Mi­ley. Her tonguewag­ging ways are back in her dress­ing up box, and as she dons her cow­boy boots, we can en­joy this oa­sis of calm un­til her next phase be­gins. mi­l­ey­cyrus.com

MI­LEY CYRUS Younger Now ★★★★ RCA Records

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