‘Endless Summer Vacation’ should end Grammy shut-out for Miley Cyrus

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year, you’ve likely heard Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers.” The comeback single after her 2020 record, “Plastic Hearts,” has become one of her biggest hits ever, spending seven weeks (so far) atop the Billboard Hot 100, the most for any Miley Cyrus song. To top all that off, Cyrus recently dropped her highly anticipated eighth studio album, “Endless Summer Vacation.” It might be her first that is both emotionally mature (unlike, say, “Bangerz”) and commercially successful among the general public (unlike her most acclaimed release, “Plastic Hearts”). So, will “Endless Summer Vacation” be Miley’s first ride into Grammy success?

Miley Cyrus has had a lackluster Grammys track record. The singer has only been nominated twice, for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2015 for her smash record “Bangerz” and Album of the Year in 2022 as a featured artist on Lil Nas X‘s “Montero.” But while “Bangerz” is a Grammy-nominated album, it could still be considered a disappointment: songs from the album like “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop” were completely ignored, and there’s a chance “Bangerz” only made it in due to a tie since that year had six nominees and Cyrus was the only one without an additional nomination. The rest of her discography has been dismissed completely by the Grammys. In particular, her snub for her aforementioned rock album, “Plastic Hearts,” seemed egregious, especially considering how barren that year was for great, popular rock albums. Cyrus herself seemed disappointed by the snub, and rightfully so.

But things have changed. First, “Endless Summer Vacation” will likely be placed in Best Pop Vocal Album, which means Cyrus won’t have to face those snobby older rock voters. But most importantly, there’s a lot of hype for Cyrus within the industry and the general public. While the Grammys are ostensibly about artistic integrity, the pop categories are keener to nominate bigger hits over smaller-yet-acclaimed records. This won’t be a problem for Cyrus: “Flowers” is one of the biggest songs of the eligibility season so far, and “Endless Summer Vacation” has done well too, debuting with over 119,000 units in the US.

Another advantage is Cyrus’s public persona. During the “Bangerz” era, many voters might’ve been put off by her more abrasive, raunchier style in what was her first venture into adult music. This time around, she’s making music that’s adult-contemporary-friendly, and the public is on her side. Part of the reason why “Flowers” became such a big hit is how it addresses the breakup of her marriage with Liam Hemsworth. We know Grammy voters love narratives, so it’s likely that they’re both aware and in support of her through her private ordeal. Plus, it helps that the music has been very well received. “Endless Summer Vacation” has averaged 79 on Metacritic, indicating strong reviews.

It seems like time is on Cyrus’s side this year. With previous Grammy winners like Adele, Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo all unlikely to drop new music, and no signs of artists like Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, and Dua Lipa releasing soon, “Endless Summer Vacation” so far seems like a pretty safe bet for a couple of nominations. Granted, it’s still early and things could shake up, but voters — especially pop voters — will likely have Cyrus’s back this time around, and could perhaps go all the way to giving her an overdue win. That’s probably the only thing she can’t do on her own.

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