Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Miley Cyrus – Younger Now

We return her enthusiasm.


Alex Clifton: Confession: I’ve never really cared for Miley Cyrus’ music. There’s something about her tonal quality that doesn’t sit well with me and her music has always been middling at best. She’s tried to be cute, edgy, hard, and experimental, and none of those have ever sounded great. Yet there’s something to be said for “Younger Now” — for once in her entire musical career, Cyrus doesn’t sound like she’s trying. The entire tune’s full of weird platitudes regarding change, the lyrics are a bit basic, and I can’t say I’d seek this song out, but it finally feels like she’s found her niche and enjoys the music she makes. That’s all you can ever ask for from an artist, I suppose. I still have mixed feelings about Cyrus in general (appropriation, etc.) but maybe this era will mark a welcome change for her.

Alfred Soto: Miley Cyrus can sing, but those stretched syllables are hell on my concentration. Also, while I sympathize with clinging to the insouciance of youth, Cyrus’s public persona suggests she’s more interesting as an adult channelling the energy of youth.

Katie Gill: Miley Cyrus is 24. I don’t want to be ageist, but “I feel so much younger now”? Really? Speaking as a 25 year old, I’d honestly be surprised if any of us WANT to go back to our younger, high school to undergrad years (fun fact! Legally drinking and not living in a dorm is AWESOME.) There’s so much potential here: after all, a younger Cyrus still spent most of her life in the spotlight. How do you reconcile that with feeling younger? Instead, she gives us a song composed of nothing but platitudes and fortune cookie fortunes over a stale instrumentation.

Eleanor Graham: She doesn’t actually feel younger now. Age is still measured in linear years and not square inches of skin. VMA-gate Miley was only “mature” in the least literal, most Daily Mail sense of the word; and Miley in a high-cut red leotard performing a terrible cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” is still about as indelibly, nakedly young as pop gets. But this isn’t about that. This is about a peaceful transfer of power. A resurrection with director’s commentary. “Even though it’s not who I am,” she explains patiently. “I’m not afraid of who I used to be.” As T****r S***t attempts to take a knife to her past incarnations without cutting ties with her original fanbase, to exclude herself from every narrative going while sitting smugly atop the platform those narratives provided, and thus becomes engulfed in an ever more impenetrable web of political and cultural discourse, Cyrus manages a simple and bloodless transition. From Bad Girl to Good, from breasts and gold grills to a white dress laced to the neck, but for the lipgloss one of Sofia Coppola’s Civil War schoolgirls. This and the country rock sounds are part of her plan to ensnare Trump supporters and – what? Even if Cyrus were somewhere between Billy Bragg and Bob Dylan, their votes are not up for grabs. Their hearts, perhaps. Their $9.99, certainly. But “Younger Now” doesn’t have the aesthetic of moral bankruptcy. Cyrus follows Joan Didion’s advice: there are no ugly confrontations, just a smile and a shrug and a “change is a thing you can count on.” The music sounds good; clean, like fresh air.

Maxwell Cavaseno: More and more, Miley Cyrus’s current phase feels less like the next step of a continuous desperation to be the star of her generation and instead appears to be evolving into their conscience. “Younger Now” sonically feels like a big budget Neko Case song, with the intent of continuously reminding us that the perpetual zest of annoyance that characterized so much of Cyrus’s more ‘edgy’ period has been expulsed like so much poison for the sake of a nice, responsible, maturity. This is the Miley so many of us all knew she was deep down, whom she has finally allowed to breathe without trying to be so wild and crazy. Fact of the matter is, this burnout for all its satisfaction as a pop song feels more desolate than the pine-needle provocations of Bangerz & Dead Petz. If anything, her more crooked material at least had the ideas of a wild desire to impress people. Now we’re left with placation and a bowed head of humility, tragic resignation that just feels less like being tamed than being broken.

Katherine St Asaph: How many pop stars have to penitently abandon electro before we note it not as individual awakenings but a trend? The playbook is the same: hemlines lowered, parties canceled, acoustic guitars mixed to near-pornographic emphasis, duet with Dolly Parton or someone like her. Miley has read your thinkpieces and made musical apologies, mea maxima Crow. Or maxima megachurch, as the stolid kick drum suggests big sterile auditoriums and the nonspecificity of Cyrus’ supposed awakening would work fine at a youth-group baptism. You probably think I hate this, but it’s not all bad. Pro: Synthpop is plenty friendly to alto voices and thick timbres (evidence: the entire ’80s), but perhaps in a soft-rock setting the solidity to Miley’s voice might be less lost on listeners, since they think it isn’t autotuned. Con: The demographic cynicism of it all; I’m sure it’s not lost on Miley or anyone that Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” is in the Top 10 and is getting the kind of pop radio airplay that hip hop-influenced tracks increasingly aren’t. Pro: I’ve got a soft spot for pop-rock, that spot where Lilith Fair meets U2; it’s funny and kinda vindicating to see people like it when not by those names. Con: With “maturity” and “realness” invariably comes a thematic flattening, the pat morality of a story’s end; there’s more weirdness and emotional ambivalence in Tove Lo or Halsey or the near-entirety of R&B than these bowdlerized bangerz.

Rebecca A. Gowns: Such a confusing career move. Miley’s trading in her tasteless minstrel show act for a scrubbed-up, more “mature” brand and a whiter shade of pale. Even though she claims she’s “younger” now, the song feels decades older and terribly dated, much like those rich teenage girls who dress like their mothers. She’s trying to sound more self-assured, but all I can hear is a little girl clomping around in big high heels, telling us she’s not a baby, she’s five; she refuses to do what we expect from her, but her imagination is still confined to the walls of her own house.

Scott Mildenhall: It’s almost startling how Miley Cyrus seems to have opted out of the illusion of notoriety just as easily as she bluntly manufactured it. All that carry-on a few years ago pierced consciousnesses beyond common pop-cultural bounds, but it was only ever a moment. The narrative needn’t be rounded out: from the media to the media-averse, the uninvested most likely made their money and moved on, or simply forgot. Teflon controversy and the allegedly anarchic give way to breezy spirituality, a break with the past is used as water and not petrol on the flames, and short memories are harnessed. Miley Cyrus sounds like she’s forgotten she cared, and that she wants you to do the same.

Reader average: [2.5] (4 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

10 Responses to “Miley Cyrus – Younger Now”

  1. Life hasn’t let me blurb much this week, but let me just say that as good as Miley’s voice sounds here, I just can’t separate her appropriation from one album to the next – especially when she effectively shit on her past. It’s disgusting and this song feels like her trying to give the “economically anxious” folks an anthem.

  2. how?

  3. This Joanne’d attempt at a career shift of hers is BOMBING LMAOOOO

    Music is awful and bland too.

  4. re Stephen’s comment

    i explained it in my blurb in a roundabout way. miley said in an interview she wants to reach out to trump supporters in a non-hostile way. her hypersexuality and the imagery she appropriated from hip hop during the “bangerz” era read as hostile to those people. with this song she’s renouncing all of that:”even though it’s not who i am/i’m not afraid of who i used to be!” she’s even presenting the demise of that image as inevitable: “what goes up must come down.” which is ostensibly an appealing narrative to conservative fans. country rock prevails! conventional femininity prevails! dare i say it a performance of virtuous white femininity prevails!

    i think it’s a jam ngl, i love the guitar. and i don’t expect spotless ethics from pop stars. but i think you have to understand the context just to make sense of those weird blank lyrics.

  5. This all makes a certain amount of sense, but I’m not sure conservative fans and “economically anxious” is a synonym here. That said I’m not interested in having a political semantics debate on TSJ, esp. not over a song that I think we generally agree is p. much ‘fine’ at best and a little insidious in differing ways.

  6. @Maxwell: Yeah, @Eleanor hit the nail on the head. Again, though, she does sound terrific on this track – so that’s something.

  7. I know it’s been mentioned many times but Eleanor you are such a great writer. And to think you’re only gonna get better… *head starts spinning*


  9. @Eleanor: @Joshua is totally right.

  10. agreed

Leave a Reply