Single Review: Miley Cyrus - Malibu | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Single Review: Miley Cyrus – Malibu

Miley Cyrus explores new sounds on her latest single, writes Ben Johns

In an attempt to shed her Hannah Montana image, Miley Cyrus transformed into the tongue wagging, twerking, joint toting starlet that young people loved to love and parents loved to hate. As a result, the Bangerz era became one of the most ‘shock value’ campaigns from a female popstar since fellow Disney alumni Christina Aguilera’s Stripped.

On new single ‘Malibu’, Miley proclaims 'I never would’ve believed you / if three years go you told me / I’d be here writing this song' and neither can we. Cyrus’ voice is like a musical chameleon which adapted to match the beats of MikeWillMadeIt, the piano of 'The Climb', but as her cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ demonstrated, it is most at home paired with a guitar. ‘Malibu’ is a return to her familial roots.

For most of the song, Miley is accompanied by a simple guitar which adds a sun-kissed tinge to the song as she sings about being as free as 'birds catching the wind'
For most of the song, Miley is accompanied by a simple guitar which adds a sun-kissed tinge to the song as she sings about being as free as 'birds catching the wind'. The production gradually builds, and after Cyrus coos about being in Malibu, a percussive hand clap is added to the guitar riff which amplifies the sunny feel featured in the song. It exudes happiness, and as seen in the music video, Miley seems happy too.

Whereas on previous singles, a number of writers were responsible for helping Cyrus write her hits, on ‘Malibu’ she shares the writing credits with producer Oren Yoel. However, some of the lyrics perhaps show some flaws in her burgeoning career as a lyricist. The final verse, 'we are the waves that flow back and forth / sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and you’re there to save me and I want to thank you with all of my heart', verges on cliché. However, her vocal performance exudes a sense of honesty and offers a subtle poignancy to the proceedings. It’s difficult to completely roll your eyes at what seems like a real representation of Cyrus’ feelings for her fiancée, Liam Hemsworth.

Whilst ‘Malibu’ might lack the catchy chorus of previous lead singles, it’s a cute song which sounds like something that Miley Cyrus wants to release. And who can criticise her for wanting to explore something new to her?

(@ben_johns)



Published

15th May 2017 at 10:00 am

Last Updated

14th May 2017 at 11:17 pm



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