Track Review | Miley Cyrus, ‘Malibu’
Miley Cyrus eschews hip-hop (and urban culture) on her new single, “Malibu.” The most shocking thing about “Malibu” is that it’s NOT shocking.
“It’s been a long time coming.” Alas, the time has come for Miley Cyrus to release a new single. The last time Cyrus released a proper album was in 2013 when she dropped her set of BANGERZ. BANGERZ was an effective album, yielding hits with “We Can’t Stop” and the infamous “Wrecking Ball.” Ahead of her forthcoming album, she drops a new single, “Malibu.”
The first observation upon listening to “Malibu” is that Cyrus eschews hip-hop influence. “We Can’t Stop” found her embracing hip-hop culture through and through, referencing twerking and popping mollies. “Malibu” has none of that. A summer single in titular association, as well as visually (video) and lyrically, “Malibu” is a bit hard to characterize. Clearly, “Malibu” is not what is expected from the pop star following her radical artistic makeover.
Miley Cyrus has grown up, which is a pro in regards to the vibe of “Malibu.” This is a serious song, not intended for carefree fun or rebellion. It’s about love: “reunited and it feels so good.” On the first verse, she portrays a picture of being lost and found through true love:
“I never came to the beach, or stood by the ocean / I never sat by the shore, under the sun with my feet in the sand / But you brought me here and I’m happy that you did / ‘Cause now I’m as free as birds catching the wind…”
The chorus summarizes the dedication in she feels toward her man:
“But here I am, next to you / The sky’s more blue in Malibu / Next to you in Malibu / Next to you.”
The second verse grows more personal – there’s no possible way she’s NOT referencing Liam Hemsworth here.
“I never would’ve believed you if three years ago you told me / I’d be here writing this song.”
In addition to the lyrics, the music itself is a departure. Guitars as opposed to synth? Closer to alternative as opposed to dance or urban-pop? The shift is definitely notable to say the least.
How does “Malibu” stack up ultimately? It’s different. Cyrus deserves credit for opting for a serious direction and going personal as opposed to shallow or fictional. Save for the chorus – and not initially for that matter – there’s nothing catchy about “Malibu,” which is bit difficult to digest given her past work. Still, this is above average by all means because there’s something here. What? Hard to decipher, but something.