“Miley Cyrus Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions)” is one of the newest documentaries on Disney+ centered on Miley Cyrus’s new album “Endless Summer Vacation”. As the name suggests, most of the documentary takes place in Miley Cyrus’s backyard, with some scenes taking place inside her home. However, instead of songwriting sessions in Miley’s backyard, with perhaps rougher and unedited versions of the songs on the album, the documentary mainly features performances of the final versions of the songs, with the one exception being the hit song “Flowers”.
While Miley does take the opportunity to explain some of the meaning behind her songs along with snapshots of the songwriting process, she largely allows the music to speak for itself, which I think is to the documentary’s detriment. The film wasted the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at her album, using the runtime for song performances instead. With amere 43 minute length, there was not nearly enough time spent on Miley’s creative process.
That being said, the performances were well done and attention grabbing. For the one particularly emotional song, “Wonder Woman,” the set was moved inside with a singular piano opposite of a flashy performance to emphasize the weight within the music. Miley and the makers of the documentary made sure that the visuals and the physical aspects of the performance were appropriate for the song choice and they did a wonderful job.
The performances that caught my attention the most were the demo version of “Flowers.” Before Miley performed this version of “Flowers,” she explained how she wanted to convey a progression from convincing herself to actually believing what she was saying. Ultimately, she was much more successful in this documentary version of the song than the original music video, and it seemed more relatable to her audience. Many people need convincing that they can love themselves, and this version comes across more as a pep talk after a breakup rather than a confident statement.
Miley’s revisit of “The Climb” also caught my attention because it sounds more authentic compared to when it was first released. Miley explained that before her performance she had experienced a sort of tunnel vision while she was trying to reach her goals, but she ultimately remembered her journey much more vividly than her destination. Whereas before, the song suspiciously felt like someone older and wiser wrote it for her to sing. This performance shows how much Miley has grown to see the truth of the lyrics.
All in all, the documentary provided some insight into the creative process, but left a lot to be desired. If you are a fan of Miley Cyrus, or are just curious about her latest album and have not been able to listen to it yet, this might be worth your time.