Miley Cyrus is back with “Endless Summer Vacation” and We Ranked All 13 Songs
by Katelyn Rodriguez
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Katelyn Rodriguez. Find her on Instagram at @katelynrodwrites. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has officially been a little over a week since Miley Cyrus released her highly-anticipated eighth album “Endless Summer Vacation.” This album was one of my highly anticipated releases for 2023 and it didn’t disappoint. I have had it on repeat since it dropped March 10 and each time I listen it just gets better lyrically and production-wise. Now that I have had time to sit with this album and fully process it, I decided it was time to rank the 13 songs Miley blessed us with. So, without further ado, here is my “Endless Summer Vacation” ranking.
13. Flowers (demo)
I love “Flowers” just as much as the next person, but the demo, despite it being extremely raw vocally, just didn’t do it for me. This is most likely because I’ve gotten used to the uptempo version of the song that was released as a single. However, if anything this stripped-down version shows off Miley’s vocal ability, while also allowing listeners to grasp the confidence in her voice that gradually grows throughout the demo.
Usually, I am a big fan of songs incorporating spoken word into them, however, “Handstand” is one of those songs that fell flat for me. By the time the song starts after the minute-long spoken word intro, it feels like it starts in the wrong place. The inclusion of hyper-pop production on this track is very cool, especially for fans of the genre. While this song is a bop, it isn’t really for me and it feels more like an interlude between the first half and the latter part of the album.
Between this song and “Muddy Feet” the ex I won’t be naming has it out for him. Track two, “Jaded” is the first taste of the situation we get from Miley and her vocals are insane on this song. She gives listeners her usual growly and raspy tones in addition to brutal honesty hidden under guitars and drum beats. It describes one’s partner as being “Jaded,” or bored of a situation — in this case it’s the relationship — so it’s revealed he tried to satiate that lack of interest with other vices.
“Wildcard” gives me serious “Never Be Me” vibes when it comes to the song’s underlying message. It goes into detail about how forever might not come for her and her partner due to uncertainty in previous relationships, as well as how she is all in when she is in love or she doesn’t want it at all. It is very similar to “Never Be Me” from 2020’s “Plastic Hearts” because that song talks about how she has expectations placed on her by her former partners and that she won’t fit into that mold. Whereas, on “Wildcard” she expresses an overall similar sentiment. The beginning line of the track drew me in and, despite it being number 10, it still holds a special place in my heart.
When this track was first released as a single in January, I knew this album was going to be on my no-skips list. I remember losing it upon realizing the chorus was a play on the lyrics of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars — I love a good interpolation. “Flowers” is still such a bop and doesn’t fail to make me dance despite the number of times I’ve heard it played on TikTok, the radio and my streams of it.
8. Thousand Miles (feat. Brandi Carlile)
The second this song played I was taken back to my childhood. The feeling of this song is very reminiscent of Miley’s Disney days and it doesn’t help that parts of it sound like her cover of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” which was released on her 2010 album “Can’t Be Tamed.” The decision to feature Brandi Carlile on this track was an amazing one because when paired together their vocals are unmatched. Miley revealed on her Disney+ special that she wrote this song for her little sister Noah after one of her good friends lost their sister. She said the song originally started as a sad song but has since taken shape as the version that made it onto the album.
7. Wonder Woman
Honestly, when I first listened to “Wonder Woman” it made me sob. Miley’s vocals are so raw on this song and the fact she is only accompanied by a piano makes it all the more haunting. She said she wrote this song about her mom Tish after her grandma (Tish’s mom) passed away and that it’s about the wisdom they instilled in one another and have passed down to Miley. Listening to the song with that in mind, I can see how some of the lyrics can apply to my relationship with my mother, grandmother and aunt. They, like the women in Miley’s life, are strong in every sense and won’t let others around them see them break.
6. Muddy Feet (Feat. Sia)
This song should make a certain ex want to go into hiding for the foreseeable future. Miley didn’t come to play with “Muddy Feet,” especially when it comes to exposing his infidelity to her. The lyrics simply state that she isn’t going to take the sh** he gives her by being unfaithful to her since it has ruined all the good things about their relationship. Sia is featured on the track toward the end with her signature runs, which I’m thankful for because I think a full-blown lyrical feature would’ve taken away from the unabashed nature of the song.
For some reason I always latch onto certain songs on the b-side of an album and “Island” is the winner on this one. Similarly to “Rose Colored Lenses,” this song exudes the feeling of summer, except we’re now somewhere tropical. In her Disney+ backyard session, Miley revealed this song is about the life she has created for herself and how it can oftentimes feel like she is “stranded on an island” However, she also expressed that the loneliness could also be some form of paradise. I love how this song was produced, especially at the end where the lyrics fade out to reveal the sound of waves crashing on the shore.
4. Rose Colored Lenses
If there’s one thing I’m going to get across about this song it is that it feels like summer. This song is one that fully encompasses the “La Vie En Rose”-esque feeling of falling in love and living life during the haze of the initial honeymoon phase. When I first listened to this song I immediately saw some part of myself reflected to me in terms of infatuation, which made me latch on to it. The lyrics and backing track truly make this song feel very whimsical and fun. While there are many songs I would like to see be made into a music video, “Rose Colored Lenses” is definitely among them.
The first time I heard this song was during the New Year’s Eve special Miley hosted with Pete Davidson in 2022. It was from that moment on I knew I would be obsessed with this song when it finally came out. Now that we have the studio version of this song, my statement holds. It fully encompasses the feeling of wanting to spend your life with someone and experience significant moments with them. Miley’s gritty vocals fit the song perfectly and it shows that her voice was made for balladesque songs like this.
My decision to have “River” as my number two didn’t come lightly, especially because I feel like it’s tied at my number one spot right now. However, despite that, this song is addicting, to say the least. It is one of those songs that needs to be played in a club due to its synth-pop beat. While suggestive at times, its lyrics, at times, convey the feeling of wanting to have something long-term with a partner, specifically when Miley mentions “you could be the one, have the honor of my babies.” The accompanying music video she released for the track the same day the album dropped is visually stunning and was shot in black and white.
Finally, my number one song on “Endless Summer Vacation” goes to “Violet Chemistry.” Like “River,” I need to hear this song played in a club this summer for me to fully have my main character moment. Miley’s use of her lower register alongside the electronic backing track scratches an itch in my brain. However, the standout moment for me is the sudden change in pace around the 2:15 mark. I love a good pop-culture reference and the inclusion of “mixing all the colors like we’re making a Monet,” did it for me. If you need me, you’ll find me listening to this song on repeat for the foreseeable future.
Overall, “Endless Summer Vacation” is being added to my list of no skips albums. Miley didn’t come to play with this one and it shows in each song. It was definitely hard for me to rank these songs because my favorite song changes almost daily. However, my top three always remain the same.
Do you agree with this Endless Summer Vacation ranking? What songs are in your top three? Let us know in the comments!