Miley Cyrus has stole the headlines throughout the majority of 2013, but unfortunately usually for all the wrong reasons. With provocative photoshoots and music videos we never expected to see from the once Hannah Montana star, October finally see’s the release of her studio album Bangerz.
With no visuals and just a free iTunes stream a week before it’s release, can we finally put the press aside and appreciate the 20 year old for her music alone?
The album opens with Adore You, a ballad quite obviously written about ex fiance Liam Hemsworth. Although they officially announced their split last month, Miley has left her thanks to the actor in the liner notes. She writes “I could not have made this album without one person…. FE. Thank you for inspiring me (PS. I Love You).” Although not a direct message, Miley has referred to Liam as ‘FeFe’ on many occasions in the past. The song is okay, but it doesn’t go anywhere, and it feels very misplaced as track 1.
Second track is first single We Can’t Stop, and then we’re on to the first of the collaborations on track 3 – SMS (Bangerz) featuring none other than pop princess Britney Spears. The song has no real meaning at all and uses too much of that robotic tuning that so many artists seem to be fans of lately. But, of course, it will get praise for the Britney feature alone. Track 4 is the second out of five collaborations (six if deluxe edition), this time from rapper Nelly. The music of 4×4 gives us a dosage of old Miley, with a slight country twang, but singing the lyrics ‘driving so fast bout to piss on myself’ maybe takes away the hope of her bursting into the Hoedown Throwdown. However, Nelly’s feature works well and I could see this perhaps being a single.
My Darlin’ is track 5, featuring Future. This song reminds me of something you’d find on Justin Bieber’s Believe album, which isn’t a bad thing. This is definitely the first song on Bangerz that makes me want to listen on to see what the other 11 tracks have to offer. Miley’s vocals are strong throughout and she samples lyrics of 60’s track Stand By Me.
Wrecking Ball is up next, and after listening to the whole 13 tracks, it still stands as the best song on the album. The best vocally, lyrically and musically, listening to the song without the video makes a huge difference. No gimmicks, just pure and honest emotion. Something Miley needs to show more of.
Back to collaborations, and track 7 features Big Sean. Love Money Party jumps us back to the upbeat end of the spectrum, yet is very mediocre and repetitive. Track 8 is #GETITRIGHT, and despite the daft hashtag in the title, this is probably one of my personal favourites on the album, and it’s no surprise, being written and produced by Pharrell Williams. Unlike most of the R’n”B/rap like tracks on Bangerz, this is just a great pop song which could definitely be a huge summer hit. Would absolutely love this to be a single to see a more chilled out and fun side to Cyrus.
Track 9, Drive, uses a dub-step beat throughout accompanied by strong heartfelt lyrics about love, which then ends and leads straight into the lyrics ‘Oh you broke my heart’ from track 10, FU featuring French Montana. This is definitely the most diverse song on Bangerz, opening with an almost cabaret like sound. Miley’s vocals on FU are bigger and rougher than we’ve ever heard from her before, and give off an Amy Winehouse vibe. The sound is dub meets rock and the aggression through the sound isn’t too overpowering. Definitely a change for the girl who can’t keep her tongue in her mouth.
Just as we start praising Miley for her musical talent, Do My Thang goes back to that “gangster” sound that definitely doesn’t suit the star that once sang about The Climb and having a Party In The USA. Putting on an odd accent throughout and not finishing the ends of her words like “worr” (worry), “binezz” (business) and “befo” (before), the track just feels very lazy, rushed, and a definite space filler. Not a great follow up to FU.
Things start looking up again when we get to track 12; Maybe You’re Right. Miley is back to correctly pronouncing her words and actually singing. Belting the lyrics “You might think i’m crazy, that i’m lost and foolish leaving you behind, maybe you’re right”, this is obviously another track about her failed relationship with Hemsworth.
The last song (on the standard edition) is Someone Else, a definite fitting title for the changes Miley has made over the past year. This synth heavy track is definitely another space filler, and I feel it would’ve been better to end on Hands In The Air featuring Ludacris, which was left for the deluxe edition of the album alongside two other tracks.
Overall, Bangerz is a bit of a disappointment considering all the hype around the star. The whole thing feels rushed and too heavily produced. The public are anxiously waiting to see a stripped down side of Miley – not in the literal sense – and this album doesn’t do that at all. If anything, it fabricates her further to not have a clue who she really is.
That being said, I am definitely a fan of My Darlin’, #GETITRIGHT and FU, it’s just unfortunate that i’d only choose to listen 3 tracks again out of a 13 track album.
Bangerz is out October 7.