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"Malibu" is the lead single from Miley Cyrus' sixth studio album, Younger Now. It was released through RCA Records on May 11, 2017.

BackgroundEdit

Following the release of her fifth studio album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, Cyrus resumed working on her upcoming sixth studio album. Cyrus announced in October 2016 that she was re-engaged to actor and current fiancé Liam Hemsworth, with whom she starred in the Nicholas Sparks film adaptation of the novel of the same name, The Last Song. Cyrus wrote "Malibu" while taking an Uber on her way to her first day on The Voice.

"Malibu" was first announced in a May 2017 cover story for Billboard magazine, where Cyrus announced that the song, which would be the lead single from her upcoming sixth studio album, which was later announced to be titled Younger Now, and it would be released on May 11, 2017. In the same interview, she also addressed being sober for three weeks prior, and noting that this had an impact on the song. While its title references the city of Malibu, California, the song mainly discusses her relationship with Hemsworth. Cyrus described the song as being about "finding a new love with an old love", and about finding a "new freedom" in that. The production of the song was handled by Oren Yoel, with whom Cyrus worked on songs such as "Adore You".

The cover artwork of "Malibu" was revealed on May 10, showing Cyrus lying on top of the grass back in her backyard, with her engagement ring on; it was taken by Hemsworth. The song first premiered on Beats 1 on May 11, 2017, presented by Zane Lowe. It was then released for streaming on Apple Music and other streaming platforms.

Composition Edit

Rolling Stone characterized the song as pop rock, whereas Spin described it as "SoCal soft rock". It is performed in the key of A♭ major with a tempo of 140 beats per minute. Cyrus' vocals span from E♭3 to F5.[

The song's lyrics differ from Cyrus's previous two albums, and provide introspection on her love life with Liam Hemsworth, whom she lived with in Malibu at the time of writing the song. The New York Times said Cyrus sings about "past insecurities, current contentment and 'Hoping I just stay the same, and nothing will change/And it'll be us, just for a while.'"

Live performances Edit

Cyrus performed "Malibu" live for the first time at Wango Tango on May 13, 2017, as a special guest performer. A little over a week later, she gave her first televised performance of the track at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on May 21. She was introduced by both her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, and sister, Noah Cyrus, before performing the song. She wore a pair of white jean shorts, a white crop top, and a tan cowboy hat. Cyrus began to choke up towards the end of the performance, becoming teary-eyed and thanking her fans. A day later, she performed the song on The Voice finale, in front of a forest-themed backdrop similar to in the song's music video. She prefaced the performance by dedicating it to Ariana Grande and victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, which had occurred 2 days prior to her performance, saying, "I'd like to dedicate this song to my good friend Ariana Grande and to everyone who experienced that horrific attack yesterday. Our hearts are with you.” On May 26, Cyrus also performed the song on the Today show as part as their Citi Concert series.

On June 10, Cyrus performed "Malibu" during the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party. She also performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, along with "Inspired" which Fallon called her "the real deal", the following Wednesday.

Critical reception Edit

The New York Times's Jon Pareles described the song as "nice as can be", saying, "The only shock is that there's no shock." Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone called "Malibu" a "stripped-down song...[which] buoys Cyrus' simple vocals and lovestruck lyrics." Forbes writer Hugh McIntyre says "'Malibu' is unexpected upon first listen", and notes Cyrus "has gone in an Americana direction, opting for a guitar-based composition instead of the electronic sound her fans have become used to over the past few years." Joey Nolfi of Entertainment Weekly gave the song a positive review, describing it as "minimal, refreshing, and simple in tone", as well as "radio-friendly." Time's Raisa Bruner called "Malibu" a "stripped-down" and "breezy" track, and noted that the track deviates from her previous work, which included "zany stage antics" and "conversation-sparking politics".

The New Yorker's review by Amanda Petrusich was also critical of the track. The New Yorker recognised the musical strength of the song, stating "Musically, “Malibu” is a mix of Laurel Canyon and Nashville, equal parts bohemian and smarmy; it is as if Dolly Parton were finally called upon to sing a late-era Stevie Nicks track"; however, the review called Cyrus' performance of it "lifeless", writing that her disposal to the hip-hop culture she once embraced now feels "disingenuous, if not sinister". Petrusich stated that "this is too bad, because Cyrus has a rich, husky voice, and, when she inhabits it with more gusto, like on her previous singles "The Climb" and "Wrecking Ball." it conveys both fragility and tremendous strength." Pitchfork writer Jillian Mapes was more critical of the song, calling the song "sedated", "wholly inoffensive", and "a shrug of a song", while saying that "[Malibu is] so breezy, it makes Sheryl Crow seem edgy, or Lady Gaga's Joanne resemble a legit rock'n'roll reinvention."

Variety writer Chris Willman had a mixed opinion on the track, calling it "sweet" and "deeply felt", praising Cyrus's "guilelessness" and Oren Yoel's production skills while also comparing her sound on the song to that of Seals and Crofts, but adding that the track itself has "any number of clunker lines" and non-sequiturs. SPIN's Andy Cush expressed a mixed reaction to the track, saying that while it boasts "earnest lyrics, unfussy production with handclaps and clean electric guitars, [and] a mild twang to remind you of her status as the progeny of a country star", he found the track to be "utterly inoffensive" and that Cyrus's persona in "Malibu" felt like "her most deliberately constructed persona yet", while likening her sound to that of Sheryl Crow and Don Henley.

Music video Edit

The music video for "Malibu" was released on May 11, 2017, and was directed by Cyrus and Diane Martel. The music video features several shots of Cyrus on a beach with balloons, sitting in front of a waterfall,[44] in wildflower fields, and running with a dog, all while dressed in various white outfits. In the video, she also shows her engagement ring.[45] It garnered over 50 million views within its first week.

Gallery Edit

LyricsEdit

[Verse 1]
I never came to the beach, or stood by the ocean
I never sat by the shore, under the sun with my feet in the sand
But you brought me here and I'm happy that you did
'Cause now I'm as free as birds catching the wind
I always thought I would sink, so I never swam
I never went boatin', don't get how they are floatin'
And sometimes I get so scared of what I can't understand

[Chorus]
But here I am, next to you
The sky's more blue in Malibu
Next to you in Malibu
Next to you

[Verse 2]
We watched the sun go down as we were walking
I'd spent the rest of my life standing here talking
You would explain the current, as I just smile
Hoping that you'll stay the same, and nothing will change
And it'll be us, just for a while
Do we even exist?
That's when I make the wish, to swim away with the fish
Is it supposed to be this hot all summer long?
I never would've believed you if three years ago you told me
I'd be here writing this song

[Chorus]
But here I am, next to you
The sky's so blue in Malibu
Next to you in Malibu
Next to you
Next to you
The sky's so blue in Malibu
Next to you

[Outro]
We are just like the waves that flow back and forth
Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning
And you're there to save me
And I wanna thank you with all of my heart
It's a brand new start
A dream come true in Malibu

Trivia Edit

  • On May 27, vocal group Cimorelli released their acoustic cover of the song "Malibu" on YouTube.
    • On the same day, singer Rebecca Black also covered the song and filmed its music video in Malibu beach, which Shem from Kiss FM felt that the singer had "displayed her singing chops".

References Edit

Younger Now
September 29, 2017 • TBA • TCA Records
Songs
Released InspiredMalibuYounger Now
Unreleased Bad MoodI Would Die For YouLove SomeoneMiss You So MuchRainbowlandShe's Not HimThinkin'Week Without You
Artists
Miley CyrusDolly Parton
Tour
None tour yet
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