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TRACK BY TRACK: Miley Cyrus's 'Endless Summer Vacation'

Written by Gabi Lamb. Published: March 16 2023
(Miley Cyrus/YouTube)


Already,Miley Cyrus’s new track “Flowers” is a hit — but on March 10, the rest of the album Endless Summer Vacationcame out. The album pays homage to the city of Los Angeles and features production from Mike WiLL Made-It,Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon, andGreg Kurstin. In typical Miley fashion, it’s a departure from her earlier sounds; Endless Summer Vacationis a break out of her rock & roll era and into something soft and vibey, perfect for the upcoming Summer months.


So, here’sEndless Summer Vacation track-by-track!


1. "Flowers"

The self-love single we have all been bopping to already, “Flowers” introduces the synth-heavy disco sound that dominates Endless Summer Vacation. It’s a healing sort of post-breakup song, and its slow, vague start sets the stage gorgeously to lead into the dance-worthy chorus. Cyrus’s vocals are smooth and balmy as a California Summer breeze, perfectly breathy in the refrain. The song is hypnotically repetitive, but really gains power toward the end as her signature growl enters the chorus and bridge. “Flowers” is already a hit and an exciting way to kick off her new sound.

Favorite Lyrics: “I can buy myself flowers...”




2. "Jaded"

“Jaded” deepens into a more indie, dream-pop sound at the start, almost like The Strokes with the drums pulled back. The echoing, wavy guitar melts into the bluesy vocals of Cyrus, and the steady, simple drums which are introduced keep the guitar and vocals in the limelight. The song switches gears, however, in the chorus, where it goes full ballad. The haziness of the song dissipates into something sharp and twinkling for a moment, before pulling back into calm. The song wavers between composed and hurt, drawing to an ambivalent fade-out where the wound may not be healed but is at least laid to rest.

Favorite Lyrics: “We went to hell but we never came back...”




3. Rose Colored Lenses

Bright, warm lyrics and simple, walking instrumentals are the hallmarks of “Rose Colored Lenses”. It induces a sort of delirium as the lyrics collapse into one another; the chorus and verses spin in circles and circles before collapsing into the grass as the relationship described does. The song induces the feeling of a never-ending Summer day, where the sun is bright and everything feels a little magical and a little languorous. It basks in the joy of romance, but the head-spinning repetition gives the haunting sensation that it is all but a memory being relived over and over again.

Favorite Lyrics: “With our head above the clouds / Fallin’ stupid like we’re kids...”




4. Thousand Miles

With a feature from country-rock star Brandi Carlile, “Thousand Miles” gives some homage to Cyrus’s country roots. The more stripped-down acoustic guitar twangs alongside a momentous drumline that in the chorus gains an almost musical theater quality. The bagpipe-like instrumental in the bridge and ending offers an interesting breakage in the piece and solidifies the country influences in the song. Cyrus sings about the long journey to go, and recalls in her sound the journey from her past. It’s a very Miley song with a heavy dose of yearning nostalgia.

Favorite lyrics: “Oh, I pick up the phone and I call back home / But all I get is a dial tone...”




5. "You"

The blues influences are strong in “You”; it’s the type of song to hear late night in a smoky lounge, intimate and wistful. The slow, swinging piano and orchestral sounds are cut by minimal electronics, which keeps it modern while drawing on jazzier sounds. The vocals shine in the chorus, where Cyrus’s powerful voice breaks recklessly over the instrumentals. It’s got a raw, hurting sort of quality that cements its place as The Sad Song of the album.

Favorite Lyrics: “Then I’ll pick a fight / To make up on the floor / Of your room...”




6. "Handstand"

The spacey synths of “Handstand” offer a respite from the more classical sounds of “You”. It’s artistic and surreal -- spoken-word poetry put over wholly modern sounds. It calls up musical ideas closer to the typical work of someone like Grimes, and while using electronic sounds, it’s not necessarily a dance song. The soundscape of “Handstand” is vast, and intriguing. The crystallized pop creates a glowing network in itself: a beautiful cyber-dream to wander through.

Favorite Lyrics: “Electric eels and red venom in the sky / We can see the riders on horseback...”'




7. "River"

“River” delves deeper into the electronics of “Handstand” but with a faster dancefloor pace and less experimental sounds. It’s pure pop, with those groovy '70s vocals and triumphant synths almost reminiscent of video game tracks. “River” is pure fun and connection; it’s an exciting break from the more emotional pieces and has that catchy party song element that will make it popular for nightlife people in the coming months. “River” is a song about dancing and for dancing.

Favorite Lyrics: “Your face is all in my hair (hair) / Covered up in your sweat...”




8. "Violet Chemistry"

Leading once again with a drawn-out synth chord intro, “Violet Chemistry” then bursts into speed unexpectedly. It’s an end-of-the-night kind of song for when you don’t want the night to end quite yet and is well-placed at number eight, where its “stay awhile with me” chorus urges listeners to stick with the rest of the album. The vocals in the verses have a sound like Doja Cat’s popular album Woman, but the chorus has a more fundamental pop sensibility like in previous track “River”.

Favorite Lyrics: “Stay awhile / Don’t deny the violet chemistry...”




9. "Muddy Feet"

Cyrus grows darker in “Muddy Feet”, which features more experimental pop artistSia. Its melancholic piano and flute flourishes combine with a trap beat to make something uniquely haunting and angry. The low, punchy lyrics crescendo into a groundbreaking power. It’s got a simmering verse and raging chorus that are well-tempered by cool instrumentals. “Muddy Feet” is an addictive and heady revenge anthem that injects a dose of needed harshness and authority into the album.

Favorite Lyrics: “And you smell like perfume that I didn’t purchase / Now I know why you’ve been closing the curtains...”




10. "Wildcard"

“Wildcard” begins traditionally pop, with its staccato drums and smooth instrumentals, but throws an actual wildcard halfway through where it slows and crashes into a more rock ballad-type of thing. The sound is best described as bouncy and has a certain marching type of quality that imbues some theatricality. It’s hard to place a finger on “Wildcard”, just as it’s hard to place a finger on Cyrus and her sound.

Favorite lyrics: “I walk in the door with my lips stained red / Pillows on the floor and the flowers dead...”




11. "Island"

“Island” sounds like a heartbeat to start and reverts to the slower, more ephemeral qualities of the earlier songs on the album. The instrumental washes in like a wave alongside a tinkling melody before the beat drops listeners into the main body of the song. The star of “Island” is in the production, which has some Caribbean influences in its easygoing swing and syncopated drums. It’s a carefree type of song that leans heavily into the idea of a beach paradise, with layered vocals that mirror the waves washing over one another throughout the song.

Favorite lyrics: “But I’m still wishing / For all the love that I don’t have...”




12. "Wonder Woman"

All piano, pure ballad and homage here. “Wonder Woman” is a sweeping, real type of song which drops all electronic sounds full-stop. It’s intimate, honest, and lovely. The stripped-down nature of the song allows Cyrus to really shine a light on the main subject: the wonder woman she knows and the wonder women in all our lives. It’s a poignant finale to a well-rounded album and brings in a new sound that prevents the ending from being boring. “Wonder Woman” is the starry finish to what is truly a dreamy album.

Favorite Lyrics: “She’s a won’t-stop woman / Hours on her hands...”




Have you listened to Endless Summer Vacation yet? Let us know what your favorite track is!