Cyrus easily flipped the breezy pop-rock track into an unplugged gem featuring the twangy interplay of two acoustic guitars. But Cyrus’ vocals remained at the forefront as she delivered the smoky verses and choruses of “Malibu” and paraded about an array of impressive vocal runs.
Cyrus also spoke with host Elvis Duran about her new single, noting the song’s lovestruck lyrics aren’t necessarily about a relationship, but rather self-care. “It can so easily be generalized into a love song,” Cyrus said. “I had to really heal myself individually, and then this song – about finding a new love with an old love, maybe you’re finding a new freedom – is also about individuality and the freedom in that. And realizing that certain doors lead you to one place you never imagined you would be, and if that can be through a person, that’s really awesome.”
“Malibu” marked a stark sonic shift for Cyrus, who returned to her rock and country roots after her hip-hop-heavy 2013 effort, Bangerz, and her 2015 psychedelic trip with the Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. The track will appear on Cyrus’ as-yet-untitled LP, which is expected to arrive later this year. Cyrus recorded her new album with producer/multi-instrumentalist Oren Yoel.