When the headlines broke of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s path to divorce, everyone, even my Nana, wondered why. With her new song “Slide Away,” Cyrus bares it all.
The first time I listened to it, mind you it was 12:15 a.m. and I was two glasses of rosé deep, tears took over my eyes. We 90s kids grew up with Miley, as the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus and as the star of Disney’s “Hannah Montana.”
We watched her and Hemsworth fall in love on the set of the 2010 film “The Last Song” when they were only 17. We watched them fall hard, struggle, break up, and get back together nearly a decade later. Then we watched as they shared vows and promised to love each other, “’til death do them part.”
Hearts broke all over the world with the announcement of their separation. And the question on all our minds was “Why?”
Well, with her vulnerable lyrics, Cyrus tells the story of how they grew apart. Don’t give it a listen if you don’t have a box of tissues nearby.
Another female artist who blew me away this week was FLETCHER, or Cari Elise Fletcher as she is formally known. She released her second EP, which is a start-to-finish story of a bad breakup.
She’s a New Jersey native who not only sings, but acts as well. I first came across her when I attended the Kiss 108 concert at the Xfinity Center two months ago and she took me by surprise. Her stage presence was contagious and her songs were not only pop magic, but they were extremely relatable. The five tracks she released on Friday are no different.
A near shoo-in for song of the summer — it may be the middle of August but I’m going to stick it out as long as I can because I’m in no rush for an early setting sun and cold weather — is “Be Honest” by soul R&B singer Jorja Smith and Nigerian Afro-fusion artist Burna Boy. It’s sexy, steamy, and I can’t get enough.
This New Music Friday was a huge win for America’s female pop stars. Let’s dig in.
“You Ruined New York City For Me” an EP by FLETCHER
- “You Ruined New York City For Me” is FLETCHER’s second EP, following in line behind 2016’s “Finding Fletcher.” The five songs revolve around one bad breakup. She’s genuinely vulnerable in her lyrics and emotional in her vocals. The production team behind this EP really knew what they were doing because every song is a future smash hit. I have a biased love for the song “Undrunk” because I saw her play it live and I couldn’t get it out of my head for a week. “If You’re Gonna Lie” is a catchy play on words that tells the tale of the beginning of a breakup. “All Love” is a song that bares all the hurt of seeing your ex with someone new, forcing you to find ways to sugarcoat the pain. If I were to guess which track from this EP will be her biggest hit, it would be “About You.” It bares the soul of someone nearing the end of a breakup cycle, when none the memories will go away and you can’t stop thinking about the good parts of the relationship. The final track, “Strangers,” is the goodbye breakup song that every person needs. It illustrates the moment when the pain has passed and you’re nothing but people who pass each other on the street. Make room female pop stars, because FLETCHER is coming for your throne.
“Slide Away” by Miley Cyrus
- Cyrus is coming in hot fresh off the news of her separation from Hemsworth. Her vulnerable lyrics, with her flawless vocals to match, have blown me away. The song gives listeners a look into their love story and breaks down when they began to grow apart. The soft genuine tone throughout showcase that Cyrus doesn’t need all the extra sparkles and personality to prove she has talent. All she has to do is sing. I’ll take this Miley Cyrus over the hip-hop try hard Miley Cyrus any day.
“Lover” by Taylor Swift
- I haven’t been a fan of Swift’s music since her 2014 album “1989,” and I didn’t even love that one. “Lover” is the best of her recent releases from her anticipated “Lover” album, set to debut on Aug. 23. It brings me back to a time where Swift wasn’t engulfed in the pop world, when all she needed to blow people away was her voice and her guitar. The new track is vulnerable, genuine, and opens the once-kept-secret door to her love life and shares it with the world.
“Highwomen” by The Highwomen
- This is the first track released by the women in country power group that gave room for each member to showcase their vocals. Each verse has a different vocalist telling the stories of strong women, from those who led their families to escape Honduras when the Contras overthrew the Sandinistas, to those were accused of witchcraft and Salem and forced to be hung in the city center, and to those who ran with their families during the Civil War. It’s a beautiful telling of stories of strong women that decorate our history. It’s a statement song that rips at your heart and fills your eyes with tears.
“Motivation” by Normani
- The former Fifth Harmony band member continues to make a name for herself. She released herself from the girl band’s brand with her release of “Waves” earlier this year. With “Motivation, she has put herself in the running for pop’s next superstar. It’s catchy, sexy and the music video is the perfect tribute to the female r&b stars of the 90s. Her dance moves alone need their own award. I’ll never say no to fangirling a good upbeat pop/r&b mix.
“Be Honest” by Jorja Smith featuring Burna Boy
- What do you do when two of your favorite artists come together on the same song? You play it on repeat until your roommates yell at you to turn it off because it’s 12:30 in the morning. Culturally sexy and smooth, this R&B soul track from Smith and Burna slowly entices you. The beat makes you want to move, Smith’s vocals are mesmerizing, and Burna is pure fun. While it may be nearing the end of the season, this is one of my favorite songs of the summer.
“Hallucinations” by PVRIS
- Apple Music describes PVRIS, an alt rock trio formed by singer Lynn Gunn in 2012 out of Lowell, as dreamy electronica with a mix of dark, beat-heavy rock. With their newest release “Hallucination,” that description still very much stands. Gunn’s gorgeous vocals, led by the song’s strong EDM beat, create a world where you can’t escape the images of your ex. With a topic we all too well understand in a song that captures you throughout the whole listen, all I have to say is bravo, PVRIS.
“What’s It Like” by You Me At Six
- This song is what happens when a pop rock band goes pop modern EDM. The English band, formed in 2004 with a claim to fame gained in 2010 with their second album, is a five-man band. But, it doesn’t really sound like it with their newest track. While I’m all for modernization, I hate when bands or artists lose themselves in the process. If I had no clue who this band was prior to the release, I’d say this was a decent song with great vocals from Josh Franceschi and high-level production skills.
“Sneeze” by P-LO featuring Kehlani
- I am a huge Kehlani fangirl, so I’ll listen to any new release that she’s featured on. California-based Rapper P-Lo (Paolo Rodriguez) may be new to me, but he’s been around the music scene since 2008, as a member of the former Heartbreak Gang, an American hip-hop record production collective. It’s a dope beat with backtracks of old songs I can’t seem to find the name of at the moment. The way his verses and her vocals collide with the music is symphonic.