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New Miley Cyrus album nods to country roots

Image: Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now” via AFP Relaxnews

The provocative singer and performer, who started her pop culture career a decade ago as a wholesome Disney teen star, has somewhat bridged her polar phases with her new country-tinged album dropping this week.

Miley Cyrus officially announced her new album on her website in August, and the time has come. The raspy-voiced Southern-inflected singer wrote both the lyrics and the melodies ­herself for the new LP. Entitled “Younger Now”, pop culture website the AV Club joked of the title: “Although she’s only 24, ever-busy pop star Miley Cyrus is apparently just as capable of nostalgia as the rest of us.”

Billboard, who featured Cyrus on the publication’s cover in May, described the new output as “pretty singer-songwriter-y” and “an unprecedented dose of twang to a mix that includes quiet acoustic turns and epic pop.” Rolling Stone similarly noted a shift: “In recent months, Cyrus has simplified her image to one that’s a bit more reminiscent of her days as the child star of Disney channel’s hit series, Hannah Montana.”

Cyrus has already released several of the new songs as a lead-in to the release, notably: “Inspired” (which she performed in June at Ariana Grande’s “One Love Manchester” benefit concert), “Malibu”, and the namesake title track. Cyrus, who played a headlining set during the iHeartRadio Music Festival held in Las Vegas on Saturday, debuted live the track “Week Without You” (which NME qualified as a “country-tinged, retro affair”).

This album follows up her most recent efforts “Bangerz” in 2013 (inextricably associated with her notorious MTV Video Music Awards performance with Robin Thicke and the track “Wrecking Ball”) and her 23-track-long album “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” in 2015 (produced with members of The Flaming Lips).

Cyrus has been involved in other pop culture projects in the interim, from an acting part as a hippie in Woody Allen’s “Crisis In Six Scenes” television series to serving as a key advisor during the 10th season of the reality singing competition “The Voice”. For the latter project, she signed on as a coach for the 11th season to replace Gwen Stefani, becoming the youngest judge to appear on the series. After taking a one-season hiatus, she is again scheduled to return as a coach in the upcoming 13th season.

Cyrus has already revealed the full “Younger Now” tracklist. In addition to the four pre-released songs, there’s a notable guest appearance from country icon Dolly Parton on the track “Rainbowland” (Parton just so happens to be Cyrus’s godmother.)

“Younger Now” is out Sept. 29. JB

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