Endless Confliction

Miley Cyrus’ “Endless Summer Vacation” is an unapologetic expression of self-love that falls slightly short of expectations

(Sony Music via AP)(Uncredited/Associated Press)

(Sony Music via AP)(Uncredited/Associated Press)

Ella Jensen and Isabella Tickner

As said by Rolling Stone, Miley Cyrus’ new album “Endless Summer Vacation” is “the perfect goodbye to messy histories and hello to new opportunities.” Cyrus explores her independence through this album as she reflects on past relationships. While many fans anticipated an album-long scathing assessment of her previous relationship with Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus touched on her relationship with him in only a few songs, zeroing in on the ideas of autonomy and confidence. This album centers on the ideas of love and intimacy, seamlessly transitioning from breakup ballads to pop hits. However, the overall focus of this album is Cyrus herself. Although not all of the songs are winners, Cyrus explores her sense of self with an unapologetic mindset, which we cannot help but commend.

Nevertheless, this album isn’t the star’s best work. From cringe-worthy metaphors to lyrical brilliance, this album is far from consistent. Musical gems are hidden among bland and uninspired “filler” songs, leaving the listener conflicted with the album as a whole. We both ranked our top three and bottom three songs, giving our unfiltered (and obviously expert) opinions on the album.

Ella’s Top 3 

“Muddy Feet” (feat. Sia) – Controversial opinion: this was my favorite song on the entire album. I scream this song from my soul, both hypothetically and literally. I would like you to disregard Isabella’s opinion on this song as it is both uncalled for and objectively incorrect.

“Jaded” –  This song is poetry. It has beautiful lyrics and an interesting beat that infiltrates your subconscious, leaving the song playing in your head on loop for days to come. This is an essential song for your playlist titled “Breakup anthems to scream in the car with the windows down.”

“Flowers” (Demo) – I loved the non-chorus sections of “Flowers,” and this acts as an extension of those parts. Although obnoxious, the catchy pop instrumentals of the regular version are noticeably absent in this song, leaving the chorus of the demo nearly impactless. Regardless, it offers a new side of the song, exchanging the upbeat self-reliance for a heart-wrenching moment of serious character development. If you pretend you’ve never heard the original version, the demo is really, really good. 

Ella’s Bottom 3

“Wildcard” – This song didn’t stand out to me — positively, that is. This song is a rollercoaster ride of emotions; however, the only emotions you’ll feel are confusion and secondhand embarrassment. It’s as if Cyrus took all of her songs from her angsty teen years and slapped a coat of glitter on them, hoping we wouldn’t call her out on it. If she was trying to be profound, maybe she should have picked up a thesaurus. 

“Thousand Miles” (feat. Brandi Carlile) – This one is definitely a skip for me. Cyrus tried to branch out here, but it fell flat. The lyrics are cute, but it’s seriously underwhelming. She tried to replicate the beauty of sisterhood, but her tribute to Noah Cyrus was far from quality. The instrumentals at the end sealed my negative opinions… they don’t match the vibe of the other songs in the slightest.

“Island” – This song sounds like how a piña colada tastes — it’s decent, but with a slight flavor that doesn’t belong (coconut, or in this case, Miley). I like the song, but Cyrus’ voice doesn’t fit the tone. When she sings “I’m on an island, even when you’re close, can’t take the silence,” I can’t help but imagine her stranded on a sandbar with Liam Hemsworth’s ghost haunting her. The metaphor is a bit too on the nose for me, and it taints the song with its cheesiness.

Isabella’s Top 3

“You” – I visibly frowned when I listened to this song. I’d say it’s my favorite off the album it’s raw and sad and expresses the unreasonable loyalty she feels to someone who completely screwed her over. Her vocals are so good; she needs to sing in this style more often. She devoured itdevoured. 10/10. Added to my playlist.

“Flowers” (demo) – This version of “Flowers” is infinitely more emotional. Having both the demo and the “perfected” version in the album was a smart choice. Having that contrast of the two adds depth to the listener’s understanding of how Cyrus is feeling. She’s a genius for this.

“Violet Chemistry” – I feel like I would hear this in the background of a party in a teen rom-com, so I didn’t originally like it, but it grew on me. Why are all her songs so catchy? This ended up being stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I’m a sucker for good backing vocals.

Isabella’s Bottom 3

“Muddy Feet” – I really, really, really wanted to like this song. The lyrics are too good; angry songs are my favorite, so I had high expectations. Unfortunately, the beat and vocals just fell so flat. It’s boring. Immediate skip for me.

“Wildcard” – This song sounds like a mashup of every other song in this album. It’s forgettable. As usual, her lyrics are great and extremely real, but the song doesn’t do it for me. It has a bland beat and fails to stand out. When compared to other songs like “You” and “Flowers,” it really falls flat.

“Wonder Woman” – This is giving middle school “emo” vibes. It’s a very personal song and I applaud her for it, but I couldn’t take it seriously with the whole third person narrative. I love the vocals though.