Risky Tracks Match Miley’s Adult Image
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
With the don of her new image, Miley Cyrus is essentially flipping off the music world with a giant foam finger. With the release of her provocative fourth album — her first album out of Disney’s shadow — Cyrus proves she’s not only unashamed and unafraid to be completely herself with her music but that she’s experimenting with a new brand of pop and trying to establish herself as an artist.
What makes Bangerz such a success, despite the controversy surrounding its artist, is that it manages to transcend genres without seeming disorganized. There’s plenty of club-ready hits for those hoping for something to live up to “We Can’t Stop” — although her highly anticipated collaboration with Britney Spears, “SMS (Bangerz),” is the weakest track on the album, with so much overlaid rapping and vocals that it degenerates into mere noise. There’s some country twang, a tribute to Cyrus’ Tennessee roots and perhaps even an ode to the late Hannah Montana, deceased as of last week’s Saturday Night Live. And then there are some crooning love songs, thrown in for good measure.
Admittedly, “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop” are probably Bangerz most notable tracks, if only for the fact that they completely abolished everyone’s previous views of a good girl, the non-tongue-wagging Miley of the past. Aside from that, many of the tracks have a lot of individual merit. “4x4,” a collaboration with Nelly, has a hoedown feel, although Cyrus establishes with the lyrics that this isn’t an innocent country throwdown. The driving percussion, energetic beat and blending of Nelly’s and Cyrus’ vocals make it infectious.
“Do My Thang” is a risky track and Cyrus’ very obvious statement that she couldn’t really care less about what people think of her. The lyrics are ridiculous, but it’s pulsing, it’s daring and the fact that Miley can pull it off makes it stand out as another of her party-ready hits. “FU,” which features French Montana, fully captures the strength of Miley’s vocals in this rage-infused song that proves she don’t need no man.
The album gets its depth and range from its handful of softer tracks, although whether they stand up to “Wrecking Ball” is hard to decide since Cyrus seems a bit out of her element when moving away from the fist-pumping, hard-partying anthems. “My Darling,” a duet with Future, comes across as messy. The layering of the vocals is sloppy, and Cyrus lacks any emotive expression, so the effort comes across as labored. “Adore You” is almost exaggeratedly slow, but there’s a sweet, earnest sense of love to it that mellows out Cyrus’ image, and the image of the album.
The album is not the best album that has ever been released, but it’s definitely more than was expected and surpasses the mass-produced sound of recent releases by other pop sensations. But it does highlight Cyrus’ smoky vocals and what seems to be her push in the direction of music: She’s blending genres and influences, she’s creating something that’s shocking but still manages to hook listeners. Her first independent debut proves that she won’t be stopping anytime soon.