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A long time in the making, Noah Cyrus exceeds expectations with debut album The Hardest Part

"The Hardest Part"

Release date: 16 September 2022
9/10
Noah Cyrus - The Hardest Part - cover
13 September 2022, 10:30 Written by Laura Freyaldenhoven
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“When you don’t know where you’re going, just stand still” Cyrus sings on opening track “Noah (Stand Still).”

These lyrics put into context the framework of this record: Moments of her life, frozen in time. Experiences of love, pain and confusion, poured into an extraordinary work of music that showcases a young woman’s ability to translate feeling into song.

Steeped in sprawling soundscapes that combine infectious pop sensibilities with the country soul of Noah’s southern roots, The Hardest Part finds Cyrus at her most vulnerable. It’s the truest expression of a journey of recovery and healing. Where “Mr Percocet” sees her confront the demons of a relationship affected by substance abuse with a razor-sharp tongue and unflinching honestly, title track “The Hardest Part” talks about new beginnings to a chorus of ethereal harmonies that feel like salvation.

Beautifully intricate arrangements flow through every nook and cranny of the album and flush out every last locked-up emotion but what truly sets the record apart from its contemporaries is the sheer poetry of Cyrus’ lyrics. Perhaps the most notable iteration comes in form of “I Just Want A Lover,” a track laced in clarity and determination to kick the habit (“I just want a lover who’s in love with me / not another liar making love to me”). Though nothing beats the utter brilliance of the track’s very first lyric: “In our united hate of America our hearts are just as broken as the nation.”

With its attention to detail and exceptional vocal delivery, The Hardest Part is a debut for the ages. An album that is both culturally relevant and sonically refined to the point of timelessness. If Cyrus can make pain sound this beautiful, her take on love must be otherworldly.

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