By Ella Malmgren
On March 10, Miley Cyrus released a 42-minute session on Netflix called ‘Endless Summer Vacation: Backyard Sessions,’ performing a compilation of songs from her new, eighth album…and a hit song from her past.
The documentary is a combination of performances in her backyard, and intimate interviews in her Los Angeles home, which was previously owned by legend Frank Sinatra.
In the interviews, Cyrus talks through her songwriting process for her new album, Endless Summer Vacation, and explains how it encapsulates her current experience. The album has now surpassed 900 million total streams on Spotify – becoming her fastest album to reach that milestone.
“I’ve been calling this album ‘the Cinderella shoe’ because it’s just a perfect fit, and it feels like it’s only mine, and it could only be mine,” said Cyrus in the documentary.
The star had a very public marriage and divorce with Liam Hemsworth, and their relationship was on-and-off for 10 years. It ended with the divorce filings in 2019.
This album is a series of pop-ballads, in which she sings through her post-divorce emotions. The songs talk about healing, and realizing how you need to rely on your own power.
Preceding the release of her album and the documentary, the singer released her single ‘Flowers,’ which currently holds the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100.
“Flowers” puts a spin on the song “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars, which Hemsworth coined as “their song” for their relationship.
In “When I Was Your Man,” Mars sings, “I should’ve bought you flowers / And held your hand / Should’ve gave you all my hours / When I had the chance / Take you to every party ‘cause all you wanted to do was dance / Now my baby’s dancing / But she’s dancing with another man.”
Conversely, in “Flowers” Cyrus sings, “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand / Talk to myself for hours / Say things you don’t understand / I can take myself dancing / And I can hold my own hand / Yeah I can love me better than you can.”
Not only is it a subtle dig to Hemsworth, who attributed that song to their relationship, but Cyrus is also singing about how she’s stepping into a new, self-sufficient mindset.
In the documentary, she also included a performance of her iconic song, “The Climb.” The song was released in 2009, as a part of “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
In some ways, the performance was a dedication to her past, and to her fans that have stuck by her side for over a decade.
But the song also has a timeless and relevant meaning – that the joy of our accomplishments comes from the journey in which we pursue them, rather than the moment we fulfill them.
As the documentary goes on, there’s a switch from day to night. The singer reveals that the album is broken up into two parts, to represent the hope of the morning, and the energy of the nighttime.
“In the nighttime, it feels that there’s a slinky, seediness, and kind of a grime, but a glamor at the same time,” said Cyrus. “In the evening, it’s a great time for rest, it’s a time to recover — or, it’s a time to go out and experience the wild side. In L.A. there’s a certain energy to the night that you can kind of feel trouble boil up to the surface and it’s very inspiring to me.”
The documentary is a perfect representation of what the album represents, and who Cyrus is becoming in this new chapter of her life.