Former Disney starlet gone wild Miley Cyrus released her album “Bangerz” on Tuesday. She attempted to transition away from her squeaky clean reputation on 2010's “Can't Be Tamed” album but it just came off as forced. Cyrus again tries to shed her “Hannah Montana” past and does so with greater success on this new 13-track LP. Naturally, Miley experiences some missteps but she stumbles upon pop gold along the way. Hip-hop beats and grimy dubstep production compliment her new and carefree attitude.
The absolute best on the album (and one of the best tracks of the year) is “Wrecking Ball.” Looking past the music video that has become a novelty, Cyrus delivers one of the best performances of her career. She gets emotional on this sophisticated slice of synth-pop, reflecting on a loving relationship that sadly went sour. Cyrus digs deep when singing, “Don't you ever say I just walked away / I will always want you,” and she rises to the heartbreaking occasion.
For an album titled “Bangerz,” Miley sure serves up of a bunch of tracks that deal with breakups and heartbreak (probably pulling from her recent failed relationship with actor Liam Hemsworth). She channels that pain into more solid pop tracks like the dark, bass-heavy track “Someone Else” and the soaring ballad “Maybe You're Right.” Miley makes sure to get the last laugh though on “FU,” the best of the bunch. On the text message-friendly kiss off, she twistedly wails, “Oh, you broke my heart!” The deep dubstep production and French Montana feature drive Cyrus' revenge all the way home.
Cyrus also packs the party jams on too with hip-hop producer Mike Will Made-It behind most of them. On her woozy club hit “We Can't Stop,” Cyrus lets everyone know that she doesn't give a damn what they think. “It's my mouth, I can say what I want to,” she sneers. Miley just wants to have fun on songs like the country-tinged romp “4X4” featuring Nelly (a “Hoedown Throwdown” for 2013) and the Pharrell-produced, Prince-esque tune “#GetItRight.” Fellow pop star Britney Spears is even roped into the action on “SMS (Bangerz),” a frenetic club track that samples Salt-N-Pepa's “Push It.” The two singers boast about money and men on the bizarre yet fierce collaboration.
The album could have done without the twerk jam filler “Love Money Party” with Big Sean but it was probably thrown into the mix due to Cyrus becoming synonymous with the dance. Miley also twists Ben E. King's classic “Stand By Me” into another meditation on lost love. It was a very valiant effort but rapper Future's dragging vocals and Cyrus referencing Kendrick Lamar's famous molly lyric sink the tune.
“Bangerz” definitely delivers on its promise of big club tracks. The heartbreak aspect of the album was a bit surprising but it proved that Miley could write songs with vulnerability and depth as well. Cyrus could care less though what any review says and that is what makes her new record so alluring. She gets down to the thump of her own bass speakers and revels in the adventurously fresh result.
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