Miley Cyrus’ new album, Younger Now, is out now. As is typical with the child star-cum-pop star-cum-cultural-appropriator-extraordinaire, a new album means an entirely new Miley. Gone are the dreadlocks, the twerking, and the days of doing acid with Wayne Coyne. (In a May 2017 interview with Billboard, the Franklin, Tennessee-born singer exclaimed that she hadn’t smoked pot “in three weeks!”) Here’s everything we know about Miley’s sixth studio album.
The album is produced by Cyrus and Oren Yoel
A departure from 2013’s Bangerz, which featured producers like Mike Will Made It, will.i.am, and Dr. Luke, and her followup Dead Petz, which was a split effort between Mike Will Made It and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, the new album is produced by Cyrus herself with some help from Bangerz collaborator Oren Yoel. According to her interview with Billboard, Cyrus wrote all of the lyrics and melodies on the new album, with Yoel playing all the instruments. On the album credits for Younger Now, Yoel is credited with co-producing album singles “Malibu” and “Younger Now,” as well as the promotional single “Inspired.”
She abandoned her rap persona in favor of a stripped down, country-pop aesthetic
Once critiqued for her appropriation of hip hop culture, Miley has officially discarded her rap persona. When pressed about the criticism she’s attracted for shedding this former skin—as though rap was just a tool to be used for profit—the singer responded, “I respect that, and I can’t tell you that that’s my intentions. So I always feel, you know, apologetic and sympathetic to those who feel a way. But that’s not my intentions so I can’t say that I agree.”
Cyrus now aims to appeal to the country fans that she may have lost in her transformation into a pop-rap star. “The fact that country music fans are scared of me, that hurts me. All the nipple pastie shit, that’s what I did because I felt it was part of my political movement, and that got me to where I am now. I’m evolving, and I surround myself with smart people that are evolved,” the singer told Billboard last month.
The artwork for Younger Now features a Jeremy Scott-styled, rockabilly shot of Cyrus
Cyrus released the artwork and 11-song tracklist for Younger Days on Instagram in August. The same day, Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott revealed that he designed the studded leather outfit the pop star dons on the cover and in the video for title track “Younger Now.”
The pair have collaborated in the past, releasing a colorful collection together for New York Fashion Week in 2015. The Jeremy Scott ‘fit recalls classic rockabilly looks from artists like Johnny Cash, which is most likely a purposeful homage. According to Billy Ray Cyrus, the new album reminds him of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton. Speaking of which…
The album includes a collaboration with Dolly Parton
Younger Now includes the musical and songwriting styles of country legend (and Miley’s godmother) Dolly Parton. According to the album credits, Parton co-wrote “Rainbowland,” a song named after Cyrus’ Malibu recording studio. In a new interview with NPR, Cyrus credits her godmother with pushing boundaries and making country music “sexual.”
There were four advance songs released: “Malibu,” “Younger Now,” “Inspired,” and “Week Without You.” The only to reach the Top 10 was “Malibu.”
“Malibu,” premiered on Beats 1 with a subsequent video in May. She then performed the single at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. The video and performance solidified her new look—casual white layers and loose flowing hair, with a wide-brimmed hat to complete her return to country-pop. It peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard charts; by comparison, “We Can’t Stop,” the first single off Bangerz, went to No. 2.
Miley followed up “Malibu” with titular single “Younger Now,” a jangly country-pop tune about embracing your past while accepting the necessity of change. The accompanying video matches the aesthetic of the album artwork, with Cyrus sporting her Jeremy Scott leather two-piece and a greased up pompadour hairdo. “Younger Now” peaked at No. 79, however.
In June, Cyrus released promotional single “Inspired” via digital download. The artist dedicated the release to Pride Month, and the lyrics fittingly express themes of finding resilience and, well, inspiration, even in the darkest times. Finally, just last week, Miley released a twangy, country-inspired track about escaping a bad relationship, “Week Without You.” Neither has charted yet.
“Inspired” is an ode to Hillary Clinton
More than just a song for Pride Month, Miley told Billboard that the lyrics to “Inspired” are personally dedicated to Hillary Clinton: “It was my Hillary Clinton song. I wrote it actually maybe a week before I went and campaigned for her…And she sent me a letter about it. Cause I sent it to her the day after the election, I said, ‘I wrote this song for you, and the reason I thought you would like it is because I always imagined you with your dad, when I wrote about me and my dad playing in the creek.’ Because, you remember when at all the debates she would bring up her dad? Her dad obviously played a very impactful part in her life, and my dad played one in mine.”
Listen to Younger Now below.