Take away the flailing tongue, the twerking and the endless stream of glitter, and Miley Cyrus post-Hannah Montana wasn’t all that bad. 2013’s Bangerz had plenty to justify Cyrus’ spot in both pop’s crowded mainstream and its left-field (‘We Can’t Stop’, ‘Wrecking Ball’, ‘Do My Thang’). But after reviving her relationship with Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus seems reborn (again)- and it’s not necessarily for the best artistically.
‘Malibu’ sounds like the kind-of innocuous backing track that you would find in a ‘Visit California’ commercial. Cyrus’ voice is very versatile – her transition from country to fully-fledged pop was seamless – but on ‘Malibu’ she just sounds disinterested, chasing a predictable rootsy soft-rock reinvention. Rebirth is not a bad idea by any stretch, in fact it’s often a viable way of staying relevant in pop’s brutally transient landscape. Unfortunately on ‘Malibu’, despite its campfire sing-along chorus and sunny guitar line, she sounds so disappointingly safe that you begin to cry out for the wonderfully weird Miley Cyrus of old. Compared to ‘Malibu’, something mildly brave or controversial would suffice- even a poorly-timed twerk would do here, Miley.
Image courtesy of Billboard