I’ve been in a musical rut lately. Nothing has really grabbed me. I listen to new music every week, and it’s fine, but even after a couple days there aren’t any tracks that necessarily stand out.
This morning I decided I owed it to Miley Cyrus to listen to her new album, “Bangerz.” My last two posts have been about Miley, one pondering her trampy Rolling Stone cover and the other about some of the questionable decisions she seems to be making lately. Maybe I have been hard on her, and I wanted to give her a fair shot at what is supposedly her love: music.
The tracks “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” have already gotten a lot of play, largely because of the accompanying videos in both cases. Miley’s VMA performance was based largely on the video for “We Can’t Stop,” and the video for “Wrecking Ball” features a nude Miley swinging on a wrecking ball (duh) and licking a sledgehammer. Almost overlooked amongst the videos and the Rolling Stone covers and the Twitter fans and the VMA is…the music itself.
It turns out “Bangerz” is really good. Miley has helped herself by pairing up with numerous big names on the tracks, including Britney Spears, Nelly and Ludacris. But the songs themselves are really diverse, many of them catchy. I love “4x4”, featuring Nelly, which feels like a rapper accidentally stepped into a hoedown. The other song that immediately appealed to me was “Rooting for My Baby,” which feels like it has a seventies vibe to it. I love that it’s a little quieter.
Miley really shows some range with the songs on “Bangerz.” There are songs that definitely show her southern roots, while others are much more “poppy.” She even sounds a bit like Rihanna on “Hands in the Air” from the deluxe version. She’s not afraid to be restrained when it’s appropriate and has edited herself well. It’s hard to believe the more grownup sound is coming just a few years after Hannah Montana wrapped.
My question for Miley is why she feels the need to package herself as kind of a vampy, pot smoking sex kitten? She seems like she’s (over)compensating for the squeakier Hannah Montana image that she’s trying to make us forget. Why not let the music do more of the talking rather than bang us over the head with all her antics? To me, she would seem much more mature if she toned it down a little, and I think her music would get a lot more attention. Right now, it’s getting lost in all the craziness, and she might appeal to a much wider audience- I fear there are a lot of people who will be dismissive of her just because of her image.
Okay, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about Miley. I really like “Bangerz,” much to my surprise, and recommend listening a couple times through so you can see for yourself whether you like it. I’m not putting a video on here because I think you’re better off just listening and not seeing what she has to offer.
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Filed under: Album Reviews