Miley Cyrus’s Long-Awaited ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ | Does it Live Up to the Hype?

Photo: Endless Summer

Arguably the biggest star from the prime of Disney Channel, Miley Cyrus, who launched her career and fame with her hit television show ‘Hannah Montana, has recently become an unbeatable force in the music charts. In January of 2023, Miley released ‘Flowers’, the lead single of her upcoming eighth studio album. The self-reclamation disco-funk track was a massive commercial success, breaking several records, including the most streams in one week on Spotify. The single debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Global 200. This is only Miley’s second #1 hit of her career, succeeding her 2013 internet-breaking track ‘Wrecking Ball’.

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The extreme success of ‘Flowers’ can be attributed to many things. Of course, one of the leading forces today in influencing music charts is TikTok. With the catchy chorus, snippets of the track can be split and used for millions of different sounds on the platform. The song also went viral for its supposed lyricism relating to Miley’s ex-marriage with Liam Hemsworth. Having supposedly dedicated ‘When I Was Your Man’ by Bruno Mars to Cyrus, Hemsworth has apparently heard Miley’s response with ‘Flowers’, which has a chorus directly negating the chorus of the Bruno Mars track. Upon the release of ‘Flowers’, Miley Cyrus’s album has been one of the most anticipated musical releases of 2023. In theme with the euphoric California dance track, the album is titled ‘Endless Summer Vacation’. Fans waited for the March 10 release of the album to see how it compares to its catchy and now-iconic lead single.

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‘Endless Summer Vacation’ Shows Off Miley Cyrus’s Mature & (Still) Amazing Voice

The album is split into two parts, “AM” and “PM”. Stated to represent the morning time and the high of a new day, the “AM” portion of the album delivered the same twang and borderline country-funk that ‘Flowers’ delivered. Showcasing exactly what separates Miley from the other primary pop girls, Miley’s unique vocal fry and tone complement the production of the “AM” half of the album. The “AM” half is a great introduction to the album following the release of ‘Flowers’, as it stays on theme with what listeners were expecting the album to be with the lead single.

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The first half of the album was a great portrayal of how Miley’s music and voice have matured a lot from her Hannah Montana days and even her ‘Bangerz’ album. The album showed Miley’s maturity and how her many years in the industry and developing into the sound that she has today is from her extensive experience of growing up as a superstar in the elite world of music and Hollywood.

Video – Rise and Journey

The “PM” half of the album came abruptly yet was enticing. Kicking off with ‘River’, the second single off of the album, the album’s second half started with this dance-pop synth hit, changing the vibe and theme to the “slinky grimey glamour” that the “PM” is supposed to represent. Following ‘Flowers’, the next standout hit of the album is ‘River’. Unfortunately, many of the songs are forgettable due to their inability to stand out. The album is a good listen all the way through, as Miley’s voice is outstanding, but there aren’t many catchy hooks or fresh sounds that would appeal to the masses. There are many slow songs in the small tracklist which opposes the expectations set by an album titled ‘Endless Summer Vacation’. With how strongly ‘Flowers’ announced Miley’s comeback, more single-worthy hits in the album were expected. Perhaps the album’s songs will grow on listeners given some time, or a deluxe version of the album will spawn more single-worthy tracks.

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Critical Reception & Performance

Critically, the album received mixed to medium-high ratings. Scoring a 79/100 on Metacritic but a 6.2/10 on Pitchfork, reviews are scattered and don’t seem to give a consistent opinion about the album. All critics have mentioned the album’s worthiness of getting a listen at least one time through, due to Miley’s vocals carrying the performance. Many reviews have praised Miley’s voice and talent on the tracks but agree that many songs on the tracklist aren’t replay worthy. This statement can be backed by the final numbers after the first tracking week following the release of ‘Endless Summer Vacation’. Although the album spawned the longest-running #1 hit of 2023 (‘Flowers’), the album only earned 119,000 album-equivalent units with 55,000 of those being pure album sales. It debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, falling behind TWICE’s twelfth mini-album/EP ‘Ready to Be’ and Morgan Wallen’s ‘One Thing at a Time’. Third on the Billboard 200 chart is still impressive, but with how record-smashing ‘Flowers’ was, the album’s numbers were expected to coincide. This is Miley’s 14th Top 10 album.

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The Plans for the Album | Tour & Deluxe

There are currently no plans for a tour yet, but it is heavily speculated. Given Miley has not toured since 2015 with the ‘Milky Milky Milky Tour’, and Miley’s festival run as of late, Miley might be ready to take the stadiums and arenas back and there’s no better time as her relevancy is at a peak right now with the release of ‘Flowers’ and ‘Endless Summer Vacation’. Brandi Cyrus, Miley’s sister, has heavily suggested an upcoming second version or deluxe version of ‘Endless Summer Vacation’. On a podcast, Brandi stated that her favorite song is not on the album currently and that it will be “coming out later”. Deluxe albums gain a lot of attention and offer the chance for an album that lacked some single-worthy tracks to provide some more for fans and listeners. The deluxe release would also give the album another chance at getting the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 since it was blocked on its first tracking week by TWICE and Morgan Wallen.

By Nino Vongphachanh

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