Album review: Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz”

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Julia Truszkowski

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On Oct. 8, Miley Cyrus released her highly anticipated new album, “Bangerz,” with more provocative lyrics and catchy beats.
Source: mileycyrus.com

By Julia Truszkowski

As a seventeen year old at the peak of her “who cares what the world thinks, Imma do what I want,” rebel phase, I’m raising a fist and sticking my tongue out right along with Miley Cyrus. I literally can’t stop, won’t stop blaring “We Can’t Stop” at maximum volume in my PT Cruiser pretending I know what “so turnt up” means. On the other hand, my more conservative mother longs for the days when her children were watching Hannah Montana go on about “sweet niblets”–before Miley became the more provocative party girl she is today.

Whether you’re a critic or a devout Smiler such as myself, I’m sure we can all agree on a few things regarding Cyrus’s new album Bangerz:

1) We’ve had enough of the sexy monotone robot-lady voice purring, “Mike Will Make It” at the beginning of every track. No one wants a flashback to seventh grade, when Jason Derulo trademarked every song with his signature, overly complicated ode to himself.

2) What the heck are “Bangerz” anyway?

3) Miley sure does have quite a few tricks up her sleeve.

 

The LP begins with the mellow, rather ambient “Adore You.” The synthetic beat seems to roll in like waves lapping a beach behind Cyrus crooning, “I love lying next to you/I could do this for eternity/You and me were meant to be/In holy matrimony.” At first I was taken aback by the lack of autotune and drug references, but everyone knows Miley is full of surprises by now. With this dreamlike ballad, Cyrus throws a curveball that leaves listeners wondering what is yet to come, and proves to the critics that she’s about more than just “poppin’ Molly.”

I’ve already used up my daily dose of “We Can’t Stop” puns, so I’ll just say that this track is inescapable. With an infectious, dubstep-tinged beat and a chorus suited for swaying Red Solo cups and suggestive dancing, it truly rivals LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” for title of Party Rock Anthem. Besides, we can’t stop singing along. (Sorry, folks.)

The third track, “SMS (Bangerz),” has about as much substance as a hollow marshmallow. Aside from a catchy electronic beat and Miley repeating the word “bangerz” (seriously, what does that even mean?) consistently every five seconds throughout the song, there is nothing memorable here. Britney Spears’ appearance does nothing to liven the track, singing airily and with little enthusiasm before attempting to rap. Yikes.

Cyrus attempts to do the impossible on “4×4”: combine her country roots with her new edgy, party girl persona. The song falls somewhere between country, hip-hop, and electronic, with the occasional mariachi-esque guitar riff. Seeing as this track feels out of place and falls a bit flat (with the help of great lyrics such as “driving so fast ‘bout to p**s on myself”), Miley shows us that the impossible is still impossible.

In “My Darlin,’” Cyrus adds her own spin to the classic Ben E. King hit “Stand By Me.” This track is by far the most R&B inspired on the album. At this point in the album, I’m overwhelmed by the vast array of genres thrust at me, but this is one of the best. When stripped down to simply vocals, it is clear that Miley has raw talent, and we catch a glimpse of it in this song.

Aaaand for the power ballad. In her second hit single “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus doesn’t hold back. With the thumpin’ bass and full-on belting of the chorus, this song is unforgettable (and Cyrus swinging nude on a wrecking ball certainly helps). When stripped of synthesizers and collaborations with rappers and whatnot, Miley proves she can produce a truly powerful song.

Continuing her pattern of unpredictability, Cyrus picks the headbanger “Love Money Party” to follow the previous sentimental ballad. “Now this is what I’m talkin’ about,” I think to myself as she launches into the chorus. She simply chants “love, money, party,” but the synthesizer that accompanies the chant makes it anything but dull. I can already see club-goers shouting along.

I like “#GETITRIGHT” a lot more than I should probably admit to a high school newspaper review, because these lyrics are raunchy. Miley kisses Hannah Montana goodbye in this suggestive… invitation, so to say. Ahem. My mother would shake her head in disgust, but what can I say? It’s catchy, and who can resist a song with whistling?

The next, dubstep-tinged track “Drive” has a very radio friendly feel to it. In fact, it follows an exact Top 40 formula: building verses, an infectious hook, and BOOM. Chorus backed with a bass-heavy beat. While not her most original work, the song has everything it needs to be a hit.

Hey, you. Single girls. Yeah, I know you’re eating Ben and Jerry’s and crying to Taylor Swift, but turn that off for a second. “FU” is the song for you. In addition to Miley’s stellar falsetto, this song is perfect for your night out slashing your ex-boyfriend’s tires or egging his parents’ house. Actually, I shouldn’t be promoting this behavior. Just listen to the song and you’ll feel a little better, I promise.

“Do My Thang” is the exact reason conservative mothers are shunning Cyrus’s evolution, which subsequently makes it all the more appealing for rebels such as myself. It’s as though Miley let out all her bottled up drug references and profanity in this rager. But Miley isn’t known for her lyrical geniusness, so just ignore the message and dance, okay?

Cyrus uses her better judgment and settles down after a few immensely suggestive tracks with the more child-friendly “Maybe You’re Right.” She follows in the footsteps of Katy Perry and other pop superstars with the self-assured lyrics “You might think I’m crazy/That I’m lost and foolish leaving you behind/Maybe you’re right.” This is the perfect post-breakup song.

Bangerz ends with the personal “Someone Else.” Clearly directed at ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus belts “If you’re looking for love/Know that love don’t live here anymore/He left with my heart/They both walked through that door without me.” While the lyrics offer an insight to Miley’s personal life, the song, which falls smack in the middle of the ballad to banger spectrum, probably wasn’t the strongest track to finish with. But if you’d rather end with Ludacris, just buy the deluxe edition; you’ll probably be a bit more satisfied.

 

Best “bangerz”: “We Can’t Stop,” “Love Money Party,” “Do My Thang”

Catchiest hits:  “#GETITRIGHT,” “FU,” “Maybe You’re Right”

Powerful ballads: “Adore You,” “My Darlin,’” “Wrecking Ball”