I grew up with Miley Cyrus. She’s the Madonna of my micro-generation, that batch of kids born between 1995 and 2000. We’re old enough to have owned and operated a VCR but young enough to remember having the Internet at least on the periphery of our entire lives, if not always the forefront. I am a child of Hannah Montana. When I went shopping with my dad at Walmart for new school clothes before my 6th grade year started, I bought the Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus double album. That album provided the soundtrack to much of my pre-middle school life, that weird in-between time when you’re not really a teenager but also not a little kid anymore. You feel everything and nothing. Gravity doesn’t really know which way to pull you so you’re in a stasis between what you were before and what you will inevitably become. So yeah, I’ll fight someone over Miley. Anyone at any time.
I became an adult right around the time when Bangerz released. Actually, that CD was one of my 18th birthday presents from my parents, who paled at the theatrics and the unapologetic sexuality of that record and decided to buy it for me anyway. There’s a photo of me floating around on the Internet where I’m dressed as Miley for Halloween, tongue out and peace sign flashed.
All of that said, I think Endless Summer Vacation is her best album yet. She’s a woman who’s been through a lot and that is evident not only in her autobiographical lyrics but the lived-in feel of the music itself. The entire record, from beginning to end, is a pop masterpiece. Although to be honest, I hesitate to put that label on it, slapping it in a pop box. Cyrus has, for the entirety of her career, defied all genre expectations and instead exists as a mashup of everything all at once. Any box you put her in will inevitably be smashed and there she’ll be, dancing madly in and around the detritus. We should all just be happy to be along for the ride.
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