AUDIOJUNKIE: Cheat Codes, Miley Cyrus: genre-bending pop

Top photo, Cheat Codes from their official Facebook page. Below, Miley Cyrus screenshot from 'Flowers' official music video

Electronic dance pop trio Cheat Codes just released their country project titled “One Night in Nashville.” Here, the group makes a 180 to an entirely different genre than their listeners are accustomed to hearing from them.

Originally a one-off track project turned into a whole album for the popular electronic music act as Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell and KEVI of Cheat Codes fuses two almost non-related genres—country music and club electronica—which to be honest, doesn’t sound so strange sonically than it might seem when its just on paper.

They make it sound easy. The formula is quite straightforward: get a country music singer and let him or her sing over their brand of EDM. And they take it further like on “I Remember,” which features country singer-songwriter Russell Dickerson and his twangy vocal inflection and all but singing pop style.

Ditto for Canadian country singer Mackenzie Porter on the anthemic build, drop and surge of “One Night Left.” Cheat Codes honors country music by not just focusing on the singers of the genre but in putting as many traditional country instruments into the tracks as much as possible. And is it weird that it actually sounds so natural? Because that’s how it sounds on opening track “Something’s Coming” with those finger-picking style guitar intros. Trading verses are Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady A.

An easy favorite on the album is banjo-laden “Bets On Us” with country music royalty Dolly Parton singing a pop leaning number. “One Night In Nashville” has fourteen tracks in total, including hook laden and inescapable “How Do You Love” featuring Lee Brice and Lindsay Eli, “Already Hangover” featuring the dulcet voiced Maddie and Tae, “Never Love You Again” featuring the soulful vocal jam of Bryn Christopher, Little Big Town and more.

And yeah, props to Cheat Codes for tying country music, anthemic pop with big choruses and EDM into a tasty EDM suite. “We knew it was a different world musically from the one we lived in, but we knew we wanted to be a part of it,” Cheat Codes said adding, “we felt so comforted and welcomed by this incredible community of creators. The journey that began two years ago, now gets to be heard around the world, and we could not be more excited about this collection of songs.”

Pop-rock and once country music sweetheart Miley Cyrus returns with a new song in “Flowers.” It’s ‘new year-new miley’ on said new track as she returns to a more pop style sound after going full on classic (pop) rock on 2020’s “Plastic Hearts.”

“I can buy myself flowers / write my name in the sand / talk to myself for hours / yeah, some things you don’t understand,” she intones at the chorus. The melody of the song is somewhat reminiscent of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Some go as far as to say that Miley’s song is a response to said tune, especially as she sings “But I can take myself dancing, yeah / I can hold my own hand / yeah, I can love me better than you can,” which is somewhat similar to Mars' own lyrics. But any comparisons on said sons end there, as Miley’s more about exorcising her past via truth bombs about her previous marriage and eventual divorce.

Sucks to be at the other end of this song, but Miley definitely hits it on the head with this one when it became an instant hit at the charts recently.