Review: The Easiest Album to Fall in Love With is ‘The Hardest Part’ by Noah Cyrus

Noah Cyrus 
The Hardest Part
4 out of 5 Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Noah Cyrus seems to be more astute than many of her 22-year-old peers. Maybe it’s due to her being the youngest of six Cyrus children—after all, birth order psychology seems just as likely as astrology these days. Or perhaps it’s just the nature of growing up a hop, skip, and jump away from the belly of the entertainment industry. Whatever the source (or sources) of maturity may be, it seeps into her own music in the most delightful way.

On September 16, Cyrus drops her first-ever full-length album titled The Hardest Part. The album is a tightly bundled 10-song debut with Cyrus having a bow on the previous phase of her life. Further, in the writing and production of The Hardest Part, Cyrus kicked addiction, fell out of romantic love, and rediscovered the familial love she had lost to substance abuse.

“I’m really happy because this record also saved my life in a way,” Cyrus told American Songwriter in a recent interview.

Music had become her outlet, her stabilizer for the myriad of emotional shifts occurring right under her feet in the past few years. And to kick it all off, Cyrus begins her album with a forthright scene-setter titled “(Stand Still).” When I turned 20, I was overcome/ With the thought that I might not turn 21, Cyrus sings. As the song progresses, though, Cyrus recalls advice she received from her father about finding stillness in the chaos. It’s an apt song for this world’s current climate and, as we would assume, the many still to come.

Right after Cyrus’ welcome, listeners are hypnotized by the sweet-sounding “Ready to Go” and subsequently hit with a Kacey-Musgraves-in-her-star-crossed-era tune titled “Mr. Percocet.” Then, listeners arrive at one of the brightest highlights of The Hardest Part, Cyrus’ duet with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. “Every Beginning Ends” is the painful realization that a romantic flame has burned out. The two artists trade respectful laments as they come to terms with loss. 

After this call-and-response, listeners have hit the halfway point in the album and are met with the title track, “Hardest Part,” which takes its name to heart. Cyrus’ vocals begin instantaneously alongside the instrumentation for the song, creating a strong beginning to talk about endings. But, as Cyrus sings of growing older and seeing the end of an era, we can’t help but feel that this is just a stepping stone for her. We have a feeling that there is still more to hear from the artist (including the five remaining tracks on the album).

The back five tracks include the uncomplicated, ’80s-esque “I Just Want A Lover” and the reverent “Unfinished.” The song “My Side of the Bed” then rears its theatrical head as Cyrus’ breathy vocals sing atop piano musings. Finally, the album rounds out with the folky first single release “I Burned LA Down” before closing out with a country ode to Cyrus’ late grandmother Loretta Finley.

Overall, the hardest part about listening to Noah Cyrus’ The Hardest Part is turning the album off.

Photo by Clyde Munroe

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