When it rains, it pours. In the case of Miley Cyrus‘ new music, she’s opened the floodgates to reign a “river” of joy down upon her fans. On Friday (Mar. 10), Miley shared the music video for “River,” the new single off her Endless Summer Vacation album that also arrived that day. In the visual, Miley, 30, dances around in a little black dress, while singing about finding new love (perhaps, referencing her current boyfriend, Maxx Morando).
Things appear to be serious between Miley and her lover, as she sings about the future in the song’s second verse. “You could be the one, have the honor of my babies, hope they have your eyes and that crooked smile,” she croons.
Miley spoke about the inspiration behind “River” in a snippet from her upcoming Disney+ special, Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions). In the clip she posted to her social media on Mar. 8, Miley said that she wrote River during “a time in my life where I was going through just a lot, emotionally and personally. All of my songs evolve. They can start as something that was a trouble, like, it just feels like it’s an April shower. It never stops raining and then it started raining down love.”
At the end of the clip, Miley cracked a joke about the song. “‘River,’ sometimes we just need a ‘dance floor banger,’” she says in a mocking tone. “a.k.a. they don’t want me to talk about the fact the song is about [bleep]. It’s f—ing nasty.”
“River” follows “Flowers” as the second single off of Endless Summer Vacation. The prior single gave Miley her first No. 1 hit in a decade, ending a ten-year drought following 2013’s “Wrecking Ball.” In its first seven weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, Miley’s “Flowers” spent six of them at No. 1, losing the top spot to an Ariana Grande-powered remix of The Weekend‘s 2016 song, “Die For You.” Before that, she reached No. 54 with “Prisoners,” her song with Dua Lipa, and No. 14 with “Midnight Sky.”
Endless Summer Vacation is Miley’s eighth studio album. Her first three LPs on Hollywood Records – a record label owned by the Disney Music Group – saw her embrace the Hannah Montana of it all, with Meet Miley Cyrus arriving in 2007. After Breakout (2008) and Can’t Be Tamed (2013), Miley shed her teen idol image and explored more adult sounds and themes. She released three albums with RCA — 2013’s Bangerz, 2017’s Younger Now, and Plastic Hearts in 2020 – and put out one album independently (Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz) before signing with Columbia Records to release Endless Summer Vacation.
The album was greeted with hype from fans and critics who were ready for the Miley Cyrus-aissance. Early press for the album made it sound like Endless Summer Vacation is the career-defining record that tied together all of Miley’s influences into a complete, cohesive package. The album “marks the culmination of her unlikely journey from Hannah Montana to world-wise adulthood,” writes Rob Sheffield for Rolling Stone. “She’s always been a classicist, with her unique knack for interpreting famous songs from the past. And she’s always played the long game, a clever pop scholar with a profound sense of history, and her place in it. But her new music makes it sound like Miley is setting out to write her own classic oldies, the kind of songs she would choose to cover.”