ENDLESS SUMMER VACATION – MILEY CYRUS
Released: March 10, 2023
Genre: Pop; Dance-Pop
Runtime: 43 minutes
The eighth studio album by Miley Cyrus is an amalgamation of moody dance-pop with her usual twang of country music soothed in. Miley has had a mixed career, but it wasn’t until her previous run of albums, namely “Younger Now” (2017), “Plastic Hearts” (2020) where we see Miley escape from her raunchy bad girl phase and more or less going back to her country/pop-rock roots. Where 2020’s Plastic Hearts saw the Disney teen star dive into a more punk rock aesthetic, Endless Summer Vacation still holds some of that feeling but it’s a bit more melodramatic and a complete gear shift with the vibe she presents.
The lead single “Flowers” was a fantastic opening track, amazing storytelling from the 30 year old as she accepts and comes to terms with her divorce from her now ex husband Liam Hemsworth and how much better off she is now that he is gone. The chorus interpolates Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man”, singing about how she has found fulfillment in loving herself and that she can do it better than he could ever. This song’s baseline and violin chord arrangement align similarly to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, another post break up song.
Miley’s vocals are some of the most electric and raw in the industry, with a range that can swiftly change from smooth and mellow to bombastic and powerful notes, all with a crisp rasp in her voice. Though her songwriting can be very hit or miss, never bad though, ranging from emotionally powerful to just average. Miley really shows off her talents with the songs “Rose Coloured Lenses” and “You” with beautiful instrumental arrangements and vocal performances, unfortunately all the best parts of the record happen in the first half. The second leg of the record falls flat in some areas, some little highlights here and there but nothing exceptional worth noting.
Compared to it’s predecessor Plastic Hearts, Endless Summer Vacation whilst at times fun just lands a little short of the finish fine in regardless to creative innovation and fun. I will forever give props to Miley for her beautiful vocals, but I’m still waiting to hear something that can really blow my socks off.
KAYTRAMINÉ – KAYTRAMINÉ (AMINÉ & KAYTRANADA)
Released: MaY 19, 2023
Runtime: 33 minutes
Portland rapper, singer, songwriter Aminé (pronounced: uh-mee-nay) and Canadian producer KAYTRANADA have come together for a joint collaborative project. This half an hour album boasts some creative and fantastic beats from the aforementioned producer and some slick verses from Aminé and his guest features, which is a pretty impressive line up I might add. From Hip-Hop legends such as Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg, to some of the hottest talents in the game like Freddie Gibbs.
The debut single for the duo “4EVA” featuring Pharrell Williams on the hook, is a funky dancehall beat with infectious high hats and a groovy bass line. Aminé showing off some great flows and delivering some slick bars, the song is mixed beautifully with moments of bless from some graceful symphs. I was unapologetically two stepping and vibing to this for weeks, and I still am. Whilst is the third track on the record, it’s a good break from some of the gritty, hard or laid back hip-hop instrumentals KAYTRANADA provides.
Another highlight on the album is “Master P” featuring Detroit rapper Big Sean, who has been on a great streak of features in the last year and his performance here definitely doesn’t disappoint either. With choir like vocals creatively chopped and sampled in the beat, accompanied by some crisp drum beats and a booming bass. Aminé and Big Sean really bring out the best in each other on this one.
I don’t have many complaints on this record, it’s not often we hear KAYTRANADA crafting some slick hip-hop records, he seems to mainly stick to a groovy drum and bass house records. Whilst we got that with “4EVA”, I still would’ve loved to see Aminé tackle some more of these beats and we’ve seen him do in the past. Other than that this is a short fun record I’d happily recommend.