Miley Cyrus - Bangerz Review
Posted by Tony Acero on 10.08.2013
Miley Cyrus has crossed genres with her fourth studio album, Bangerz. Is it as successful as the hype would have you believe, or does the shock factor disappear after track 1? 411's Tony Acero chimes in with his full review!
1. Adore You
2. We Can’t Stop
3. SMS (Bangerz) feat. Britney Spears
4. 4×4 feat. Nelly
5. My Darlin’ feat. Future
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Love, Money, Party feat. Big Sean
8. Get it Right
10. FU feat. French Montana
11. Do My Thang
12. Maybe You’re Right
13. Someone Else
Miley Cyrus has become another in a long line of artists who attempt to garner heat from the media in order to sell a record. Make no mistake about it, everything that she has done in the past year plus has been thoroughly intentional, and the intentions have finally come to fruition with her fourth studio album – yeah, that’s right – fourth, Bangerz. If you didn’t know she had three previous albums, then it’s obvious that the outlandish actions of the twenty year old starlet have worked to great results. From her seemingly random photoshoots to the performance that pissed off PTA reps everywhere, Miley Cyrus has built a hell of a springboard for her album, but does it end up shocking the world even more, or is it more of a sorry attempt at trying to reinvent oneself?
I’d personally go with the latter for various reasons. Within the first five tracks, you get to meet a new Miley each one. The opening track, “Adore You” is her attempt to let you know that she still has a heart, and wants it to be fed with love. It’s a slow ballad that smells like Pink but never gets to the range Pink has. Immediately after the song that asks, “Baby, are you listening?” Miley turns to saying that it essentially doesn’t matter.
The breakout single of the album, “We Can’t Stop” is as infectious as it is poppy, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a track on the album, it’s simply mask 2. One track later, and we have Britney-lite with – you guessed it – Britney Spears, who, with one semi-verse, shows her superiority without effort in “SMS (BANGERZ).” From romance, to party anthem, to woman empowerment, the first three tracks make the album feel like a compilation, and just when you think one may settle into either of these ideas/themes, we get one of the most awkward “hoe-down” songs ever produced with the Nelly-featured “4x4,” where Miley’s proclamations of “going so fast drivin so fast bout to piss on myself” are about as laughable as Nelly trying to close this square-danced jig up with some “Mississippi rap.” Track 5 is possibly the worst song on the album, and in rare form – it’s not all Miley’s fault. A complete butchering of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” is front and center with the most ironic name in crooning history, Future (because he is anything but) being the co-pilot.
By Track six, we return to form and the album that had no direction finally settles onto something that is somewhat linear in terms of cohesiveness. “Wrecking Ball” is in the same vein of “We Can’t Stop” in that it is snack food for the ear; it’s infectious and somewhat a good song. It works with Miley, rather than for Miley, and seems like a true start to this compilation of songs that tries so desperately to be an album. After “Wrecking Ball,” we get a second half whose sole purpose is to get played at the club, and although the beats have their bit of fun, it’s Nicki Minaj club-fodder for sure; transition songs that will be played for 40 seconds in between bigger tracks. Features Big Sean and French Montana help out with some bumpers in “Love Money Party” and “FU” respectively, but they’re easily forgettable. Miley attempts to round the album out with “Someone Else,” another slower track that touches on love, but by this time we’ve done what we could to settle on a dance hit. The heavy bass in the background and the slight hints of Teena Marie save the song from dullness, and is about the best way to close an album that never found itself.
One could easily dive into the psychoanalysis of identity, and just what Miley is going for in this album, but that’s not my position or intentions. Suffice to say, this album lacks any one identity and attempts to capture the sounds of numerous stars, including but not limited to: Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Lana Del Ray, Janet Jackson, Pink, Teena Marie, and Andy Milonakis. Not once, however, does this album scream “Miley.” In a few years, Miley will either become the bald Britney or the chunky Christina, but in order to truly become her own person, she’s got to find some sort of cohesive and literal identity.
As far as an album, it takes far too long to find itself, and although the production saves it from falling into Kreayshawn territory, there is nothing to truly latch onto other than the hype that has been created by Miley and the media. I’ve long since appreciated those that can effectively manipulate the media – even with full knowledge that I am a part of said manipulation – but when it comes to the review, the album speaks for itself moreso than the personality behind it, and with Miley, it simply doesn’t scream anything other than “I don’t know who the hell I am.” A cry for help, a stance of what I call Inauthentic Uniqueness, or just a girl trying everything to see what works for her? I don’t truly know, but Bangerz comes off more as a list of copies than anything else.
The 411: In terms of identity, cohesiveness, or lack of skipability, this album does nothing of the sorts. Musically, there are some risks from Mike Will, and they work out for the most part. Miley’s first three albums have proven that she can sing and her voice is just unique enough to bellow out success – it’s simply never heard here. The lyrics never reach a level of profundity and mostly come off as cliché. The guest stars are inconsequential. The only reason this album will find success is because of the hype behind the persona that Miley has created and the idea that Miley is the person to be playing right now. She has successfully crossed genres in that she is accepted by the hip hop world and is embraced by the pop world, but it’s most likely for all the wrong reasons. Bangerz will usher in a new Miley that I hope finds some semblance of solidarity, because the potential is there – regardless of genre – for the her to be more than just the white girl that twerks.