It’s a bizarre moment for fans of the 2013 girl-pop landscape’s shining stars. Katy Perry is forgoing tepid empowerment anthems to make freaky-deaky music out of clumsy food metaphors. Lady GaGa ditched her little monsters to “go country.” And most surprising of all, Miley Cyrus buried her Dead Petz (R.I.P.) to make folk-rock lite for your mom.
Given the title and cover art of “Malibu,” Miley had me assuming she was embracing Lana Del Rey-core. Harmless enough, I guess. That’s what the West Coast does to you. But hold onto your sun hats, because “Malibu” is basically a Mumford & Sons track circa 2012. Listen to the song and it doesn’t take much to imagine Marcus Mumford crooning his way through “sometimes I get so scared of what I can’t understand” to hand claps that lead into a pseudo-hoedown, making it the song of the summer on your local adult contemporary radio station.
“Here I am, next to you / The sky’s more blue in Malibu,” Miley says on the chorus, apparently referring to her reconciliation with Liam Hemsworth (unequivocally the hottest Hemsworth, don’t fight me on this). In addition, Miley shouts out the good people at the California Air Resources Board, who have done excellent work in both science and policy to reduce emissions and indeed make California’s skies more blue.
Miley also reflected on the song’s meaning in a recent interview…
“What this song represents doesn’t necessarily mean Malibu. It means surround yourself with love and nature and be happy. And be with your love even if that’s a fucking pig. Be with who you love.”
Almost sounds like she’s endorsing beastiality here. Someone call the Malibu Chief of Police.
But Is It Good?
I mean, “Malibu” clearly knows its audience. And Marcus Mumford is probably somewhere smashing a synthesizer, furious that he didn’t write this track before his led Mumford & Son’s self-destructive pivot into being the Most Boring Band on Earth®.
I award this track mediocre rum that clearly knows its audience: