Miley Cyrus' new album, Endless Summer Vacation, is many things: a self-described love letter to the city of Los Angeles, a full day in two distinct halves (the track list is divided into "AM" and "PM" songs), a fresh start on the new label home of Columbia Records, and a commercial comeback thanks to lead single "Flowers" becoming Cyrus' first Hot 100 chart-topper in nearly a decade.
Above all, however, Endless Summer Vacation is an apotheosis. After spending the decade following her Disney Channel rise by trying on different styles of popular music, from hip-hop to country-pop to guitar-rock, Cyrus positions her latest full-length as a culmination of her experiences and strengths, with a variety of sonic approaches folded into the mix. Cyrus, one of the more gifted pop artists of her generation, knows exactly who she is, and Endless Summer Vacation reckons with both where she's been and where she might be headed next.
"Flowers" previewed the '70s haze of the album's overarching pop-rock approach, but Endless Summer Vacation also includes nods to the psychedelica of the Dead Petz era, the sturdy rock of Plastic Hearts and the trap beats of Bangerz, as Cyrus revisits relationships that didn't work out, peaceful blips that should have lasted longer, and personal truths that have led her to this moment as a fully self-assured 30-year-old. The themes are presented confidently, and the guest list is limited; Brandi Carlile and Sia appear on "Thousand Miles" and "Muddy Feet," respectively, but their voices are mostly used to buttress Cyrus' own, which has always been a remarkable instrument but has developed even greater nuance. She sings with purpose throughout the album, imbuing lines that could be delivered in any standard pop track with enough personality to convince the listener that, no, only Miley could sing this.
That's always been Cyrus' calling card - there's no one else in pop music quite like her. And with Endless Summer Vacation, an irreplaceable talent pulls together all of the ideas she's previously explored into a single, grand statement.
So which songs are the early standouts? Although all of Cyrus' new album is worth exploring, here is a preliminary ranking of every song on Endless Summer Vacation.