Should Have Been Bigger: Miley Cyrus’ “Younger Now”

Lost Hit: Miley's' 'Drive'
Miley Cyrus' sublime 'Drive' really should have been a single from 'Bangerz.'

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

Sometimes you don’t get what you want, you get what you need. And that’s particularly true of Miley Cyrus’ Younger Now album. It wasn’t the sequel to Bangerz that Smilers secretly wanted, but it was a potent reminder that you don’t need dozens of collaborators and an A&R team the size of Texas to make an excellent pop album. Instead, the country-tinged opus was recorded in the 26-year-old’s home studio in Malibu with producer Oren Yoel. Together, they crafted a collection of songs that dared to be hopeful and unashamedly romantic.

The one thing it lacked was obvious singles. “Malibu” dutifully became Miley’s 9th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, but the rest of the album was more focused on mood and emotion than pop hooks and meme-friendly lyrics. There was one song, however, that combined both. “Younger Now” is a deceptively deep ditty about embracing the past and, in doing so, blunting its power over the present. It also happens to be catchy as fuck. Which makes its (relatively) disappointing chart performance something of a mystery.

“Younger Now” stalled at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite having an adorable video that found the hitmaker channeling Elvis Presley and making out with senior citizens. It deserved so much better, but still holds up as a warm ray of light in Miley’s discography. “Feels like I just woke up, like all this time I’ve been asleep,” she begins the bouncy bop. “Even though it’s not who I am, I’m not afraid of who I used to be.” It’s a message, and a song, worth remembering. Revisit the slept-on gem below.

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