Miley Cyrus releases album ‘Endless Summer Vacation’ 

On Friday, March 10, Miley Cyrus released her eighth studio album, “Endless Summer Vacation” — a more pop-centered follow up to her 2020 glam rock album “Plastic Hearts.”

During promotion leading up to the release of “Endless Summer Vacation,” Cyrus explained that when it came to the sequencing of this album, she divided it into two parts: a.m. and p.m.

Cyrus explained that the first half of the album represents a.m., “the morning time, where there’s a buzz and energy and there’s the potential of new possibilities.” While the second half of the album represents p.m., inspired by the nighttime which carries the “feel[ing] like there’s a slinky, seediness and kind of a grime but a glamour at the same time.”

After seemingly getting a taste of this concept through her first single “Flowers” — released on Jan. 13 — I was very excited to see Cyrus’ vision fully fleshed out. So, when I hit play during the early hours of its release, I was kind of thrown for a loop. I have to be honest — upon my first listen, I did not really vibe with the album.

I spent those first 43 minutes anxiously anticipating the first song that would stick out for me to put in my eventual top five list, but it just never came. Instead of my usual task of narrowing down a long list of favorites, I was instead faced with the challenge of pointing out a song that I actually liked.

After spending a good few minutes of silence debating what I must have done wrong, I decided to listen through the album again — and I am so glad I did. While I still could not really identify the “a.m. and p.m.” theme of the album, I did figure out that I clearly like the first half better — so that’s something.

I also was able to confidently compile my top five list, so here is the manifestation of my ranking stress:

1. Flowers

The first single, the first song on the album and the first song on my list! “Flowers” truly deserves to be given its flowers, not only for its chart topping accomplishments, but also for its uplifting funky disco beat. I do imagine myself strutting Cyrus-style every time it comes on, an opportunity I will always indulge.  

2. Jaded

On my first listen, I wasn’t too sure about this track, but after my second listen I can confidently say that it is one of the better songs on the album. I can now appreciate the juxtaposition between the light, summery, twinkle-filled instrumental and Cyrus’ raw vocals that she is known for. I can already imagine the concert crowd singalong that will accompany Cyrus as she belts the word “jaded.”

3. Rose Colored Lenses

I am now realizing my so-called “top five list” is no longer a ranking in order from best to worst, as I just decided that “Rose Colored Lenses” might be my favorite song on the album. The song truly embodies that dreamy optimistic feeling forever tied to the idea of seeing the world through rose colored glasses.

I also think I am drawn to this track because it feels like a cross between every song on the “Booksmart” soundtrack and “Woman” by Harry Styles — which makes sense, as it was co-written and co-produced by Tyler Johnson, the genius also behind Styles’ song.

4. You

Cyrus first debuted “You” during her 2022 New Year’s Eve special with Pete Davidson when it was so new that she hadn’t even recorded it yet. The live version of the song ended up going on her third live album “Attention: Miley Live” back in April 2022, so the final version of this song has been a long time coming — and the passionate piano ballad did not disappoint.

5. Island

The final song I want to mention is “Island” — the only song from the p.m. side of “Endless Summer Vacation.” As its name suggests, the song has a smooth island groove that makes me, too, beg the question, “Am I stranded on an island? Or have I landed in paradise?”

Rating: 3.5/5 stars