On her 2013 album Bangerz, Miley Cyrus dived completely into turnt-up Atlanta rap, recording with super-producer Mike Will Made-It. With her 2015 curiosity Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, she teamed up with the Flaming Lips and went all the way off the deep end. But now Cyrus has a new album coming back, and it looks like she’s returning to the country-influenced pop that first helped make her famous back in her Hannah Montana days. And today, she’s debuted her new single “Malibu.”
When Cyrus announced “Malibu” (which is sadly not a Hole cover) last week, she drew criticism for distancing herself from the rap music that influenced Bangerz and for reaching out to Trump voters in a Billboard cover story. (She went into damage-control mode on Instagram shortly afterward.) Zane Lowe just debuted “Malibu” on Beats 1 Radio. It’s a peppy, guitar-driven jam about finding personal liberation at the beach, and it sounds like money. It’s also pretty good! We don’t really talk about Cyrus’ voice that much, but it’s a raw, smoky, impressive instrument, and “Malibu” shows it off well. Listen to it and check out the beach-friendly video below.
Cyrus will perform the song for the first time at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday.