A smashing success; it may be that the traditional family is in crisis, no one wants to get married anymore and “doing it alone” is the latest trend of late-capitalist society, but Miley Cyrus’ hymn to sentimental independence hit the bull’s-eye this year , conquering the top of over thirty countries in the world and breaking various streaming records. “Flowers” is a simple but very effective song, played on a classic funk-pop twist and a refrain that follows the old concept of “radiophonic”, providing the piece with viral potential without losing that reassuring linearity of drafting that satisfies the listeners of every age. Along with Shakira’s other huge success against her ex-husband and Twingo, the first quarter of 2023 was tamed by disappointed and wounded women, ready to regain their independence – Miley coming out of a divorce, a house burned down by a fire and a change of record label.
However, introspection and desperation are in full flight, because the tenacious and experienced author, as well as a constant public figure since the cradle, has already deftly assimilated her problems and moved on, leaving behind just a telegraphic sentimental description. “Endless Summer Vacation” therefore presents itself as a normal pop listening in which sun, well-being and a millionaire bank account cure all ills.
On the same vein of “Flowers” there are various melodic constructions, covered by a grainy electronic veil or supported by an electric guitar: the explosive refrain of “Jaded”, among the best of the album, and the inevitable admission of one’s own incompromising temper with “Wildcards”. On the invective of “Muddy Feet”, co-written with Sia, Miley undoubtedly proves to have the right voice, but between angry lyrics and “screamed” refrain, the piece is also an amazing collection of clichés.
Then there are the moments of revenge and return to life, such as the other single “River” and the ethyl detachment of “You”, potentially perfect to follow this return to author pop-rock already advanced by Harry Styles, but it is difficult to get excited in the face of such calligraphic repropositions. However, the enveloping electronics of “Violet Chemistry” does better, which advances a cautious request for love and finally shows a little tenderness and healthy heart hesitation. On the other hand, the wink to theAmerican from the prairie with “Thousand Miles”, co-cooked with Brandi Carlile using every trick of the trade – but how many more times will we have to hear the expression “like a rolling stone”? Sure, “Handstand” is a species, an alienating synthetic insert that seems to come out of a Nineties production by Mandalay and Talvin Singh, but it doesn’t take much and you immediately return to the fold of conformity with a very unimaginatively called reggae sweetness… “Island ”. At the end, the celebratory piano ballad “Wonder Woman” is already explained by the title.
If it is true that an album of pop mainstream American is not here to save our lives, unfortunately it must be noted that “Endless Summer Vacation” adds very little to Miley’s hitherto botched but undoubtedly eclectic career. But don’t call it a faux pas; in its reassuring melodic development vintage and orderly display of clear human feelings, the album is the most contemporary there can be, precisely because of the way it manages to recook the constant retromania of the Net with a series of universal themes. After the success of “Flowers”, the whole disc is likely to garner good responses, following the current of colleague Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”, another simple pop album kissed by an incredible success, demonstrating the need on the part of the general public of compact and digestible products that contrast this anxious and confusing era.
The fact remains that Miley would have what it takes to go further, just think of the glam turn of the previous “Plastic Hearts” or the unforgettable chapter freaks of “Dead Petz”. Among the best moments in the lineup, now, if anything, figure “Rose Colored Lenses”, a story of emotional ambivalence supported by a seventies piano carpet that creates the right atmosphere. It’s not enough to make listening memorable, but Miley is a bit like the new Cher and she prefers to come and go without getting stuck, safeguarding not only her career but also her psycho-physical health, she’ll take care of the rest in the next chapter. Impossible to blame her, but “Endless Summer Vacation” is really too bland and vacuous to be listened to with enthusiasm.