From Disney channel to duetting with Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus is clearly comfortable changing up her sound. Much like the Gaga’s and Swift’s of the pop industry, Cyrus has practically become a pop star chameleon. As one of the fortunate few with the musical talents to shift with the times, even if it the results aren’t always glamorous to say the least, Cyrus seems to have almost taken comfort in the uncomfortableness of being a genre-rejecting pop nomad.
With her last album, 2020’s “Plastic Hearts,” something felt different though. It felt like Cyrus was able to take the best of her past offerings, whether that be the bad girl attitude of her “Wrecking Ball” days or the tenderness of her country music attempts, and combine them with a style of music perfectly suited for her gravely, pop-charged vocals.
In short, Miley Cyrus was meant to be a rock star.
Nonetheless, you still had to wonder if her newest efforts would keep her as such. Even the likes of Lorde, an artist who never once seemed uncomfortable with her choice of style, felt the need to make a change for her most recent album. Practically the innovator of the dark pop sound in the mainstream, Lorde still went for a breezy, summer theme for her latest effort to decidedly mixed critical success.
Pardon me if the name of Cyrus’ next album, “Endless Summer Vacation,” evoked those same fears. Luckily, if the first single off Cyrus’ upcoming March 10 release is any indication, she still plans to stay grounded in rock.
“Flowers” may not have the same snarl as “Night Crawling” or the power guitar of “WTF Do I Know,” but it’s a rock single through and through. With a bassline seemingly pulled straight from Este Haim’s songbook, “Flowers” is the kind of bouncing alt rock-pop mix that still feels as though it’d be right at home on “Plastic Hearts” somewhere between “Midnight Sky” and the Joan Jett duet “Bad Karma.”
With the kind of confident, almost defiant lyrics that have already stirred up fans on social media with speculation, Cyrus once again strikes a stirring balance between pop and rock even if she doesn’t seem poised to embrace the latter with the same kind of devil-may-care attitude as Demi Lovato.
Combine that with a pop-power ballad chorus and Cyrus’ signature vocal style and you get a song that seems destined to be the first major hit of 2023.
Spotlight Score: 8/10