Miley Cyrus’ highly anticipated eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation, has arrived. The singer’s self-proclaimed “love letter to L.A.” is a triumph, traversing themes of self-reliance, resilience, new love, and wild, wild sex. As its lead single “Flowers” also demonstrated, it includes the last lingering emotional dredges of Cyrus’ relationship with her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, (hopefully) offering the singer’s final thoughts about the relationship. But most of the record side-steps the divorce to focus on Cyrus’ new chapter, including “Violet Chemistry,” an underrated banger that’s rapidly become a fan favorite.
The theme of the song is straightforward: “Violet Chemistry” is about that ages-old coincidence of meeting an old flame on the dance floor at the club and deciding to go home together at the end of the night. It’s the emotions of the song that get a little complicated; inevitably, there are feelings of excitement and apprehension, blues and fiery reds mixed to create a charged purple cocktail. Combined with the immaculate production of the song, neon synths and shuffling, pounding percussion, it’s set it into motion as one of the most invigorating and interesting cuts on the record.
Perhaps a reason the track stands out so starkly is its stacked credit list. Mike WiLL Made-It produced the track (an explainer for why it sounds like it shares a soul with Cyrus’ Bangerz era), with Cyrus’ current boyfriend Maxx Morando also scoring a producer credit, while James Blake and Sia are listed as co-writers alongside Cyrus, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Jesse Shatkin.
Cyrus has kept mum about the exact details of how the song came about; she didn’t perform the track as part of her hyped and revived Backyard Sessions for Disney+, either. And she’s barely done any interviews, if any, about the album. So most of what we’ll be able to decipher of its backstory will have to come from its lyrics.
“Violet Chemistry” is, overall, fairly generic when it comes to its lyrics — and we definitely don’t mean that in a bad way, not everything needs to be deeply confessional! The song kicks off painting a vivid scene of what every club looks like when 4 a.m. hits: “When the floor is wet/ And the lights come on, but you don't wanna leave/ And your phone is lost/ But the car's outside, waitin' out on the street.”
It’s at this wicked and slippery, but magical hour that Cyrus implores her lover, crush, whomever she’s encountered on the dance floor, to continue the party at her place. “Tonight, we'll just be wrong, ain't done this in so long/ We ain't gotta talk, baby, we'll keep the stereo on/ When the floor is wet/ And the lights come on, but you don't wanna leave.”
The chorus pummels in and illuminates the real crux of the song: a push for intimacy and connection, whether physical or emotional, for forever or just a few hours. There’s a thrill in indulging in something that’s more violet and messy, something that’s only strong enough to fuel one night together before fizzling out. Not everything has to be eternal — and that’s what makes the most temporary things more fun. “Stay awhile, stay awhile with me/ Stay awhile, don't deny the violet chemistry/ Stay awhile, stay awhile with me/ Stay awhile, put your arms around me/ Put them around me.”
The song’s languid bridge breaks that feeling down more succinctly: “Fingers start to dance along the figures and the shapes/ Mixing all the colors like we're makin' a Monet/ There's something between us that's too major to ignore/ May not be eternal but nocturnal, nothin' more.”
Considering the lyrics of “Violet Chemistry” in the context of Cyrus’ personal life gives it a special sort of power; her embracing the temporality of one-night stands is liberating, indulgent, and exactly what she deserves. The song is also just an absolute wallop; when the beat kicks in at the chorus, it’s like a rave gaining a second wind. If anything, the song solidifies the real chemistry Mike WiLL Made-It and Cyrus share as song-making partners.
As fans and the media focus on the gossip-laden “Jaded” and the album’s bombastic second single “River” (another fantastic song, I’ll admit), “Violet Chemistry” has been right there delivering immaculate, unmatchable vibes quietly and effortlessly. But the song’s rapidly getting noticed — as it should. Selena Gomez recently posted a selfie of herself with the song’s title as its caption, fueling rumors that she could be on the track’s remix (which is unconfirmed and, as of now, unfounded). Fans online have fully embraced the track, too, even meme-ifying it as the spirit sister to Taylor Swift’s “Lavender Haze.”
Not every song on Endless Summer Vacation holds that real, incandescent, unruly spirit of summer, but “Violet Chemistry” does. It’s sticky, sweaty, and will have you hoping it will last forever.