Album Review: Miley Cyrus – ‘Bangerz’

It is impossible to ignore Miley Cyrus‘ transformation of innocent Disney star to a sledgehammer-licking, scantily-dressed, twerking adult.

It appears that the uproar of Miley’s provocative new image has suffocated the sound of her new album Bangerz. Instead of reviewing her musical talent, the media are far too busy scrutinizing the morality of licking D.I.Y. tools. The truth is, Miley Cyrus is using her new found sexuality to promote her music but scan through the top 100 charts and so is everyone else. Now, bring your eyes to the top of the chart and Cyrus is there, straddling the #1 position. Albeit, she’s straddling it naked on top of a wrecking ball but since every other artist would take their kit off for a similar success, she must be doing something else right.

The single famous for sparking plenty of debate, ‘Wrecking Ball’, is outstanding. The quieter parts of the song, where a soft synth is the only instrument and Miley’s Southern twang is truly flaunted by the slight autotune. Miley Cyrus can sing. Although she may not be the Disney star we envisaged, it would be wrong to say that her talent is solely built on commercialism. However beautiful the lyrics may be, the metaphor of a ‘Wrecking Ball’ is not unique to Miley and Liam Hemsworth’s break up. Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch all have identical titles for their songs.

The opening track ‘Adore You’ is another heartache ballad that similarly, peacocks Miley’s voice. The slow, stripped-down chorus shows beautiful vulnerability.  However, this begs the question of where the ‘provocative pop songs’ that Sony promised to squeeze out of our beloved Hannah Montanna lie? This is where the problem arises.

‘SMS Bangerz’ is supposedly a hip-hop / pop song. The track opens with Cyrus rapping in her pre-adolescent, high-pitched, Southern twangy voice. We are met with a strange sense of déjà vu as Southern American, Disney star-cum bad girl Britney joins her successor, Miley. This results in overly-autotuned references to money and ‘strutting my stuff.’

‘4×4′ becomes a bit silly. The intention to shock the audience can only be humoured as Miley chants “I’m a female rebel / Can’t you tell? / Drivin’ so fast / About to piss on myself”. The ridiculousness of the lyrics masks how horrible the hyper and repetitive music is. Her other songs, which include features with Ludacris, Nelly and Big Sean, all focus more on repulsing mothers (and Sinead O’Connor), rather than creating a promising chart topper.

It would be wrong to suggest that all Miley’s attempts at Popand hip-hop music are ‘bad’. The particularly catchy track on the ‘Bangerz’ album is ‘#GETITRIGHT’. Which does essentially, get it right. The cover of ‘Stand By Me’, named ‘My Darlin”, has its moments of genius too.

In general, the album has no continuity. Lyrically, she seesaws between a desperate monologue about her ex-fiancé and a desperate desire for sex. The juxtaposition just doesn’t quite fit. Melodically, there is little clue to a definite ‘sound of Miley Cyrus.’ The album, despite focusing on a pop / hip-hop sound, only seems to be praiseworthy during the ballads. Although this album was produced with the intention to shock, the message we are supposed to be left open-mouthed by is still unclear.

Daisy Foster

…Daisy is listening to The Doors – ‘Riders On The Storm’…



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