Miley Cyrus has been in the news quite a bit lately, but one of the least talked-about aspects of the Miley of it all is the music. I gave Miley’s new album “Bangerz” a mixed review in The Eagle’s latest Album Reviews Brew.
“In case anyone lived under a rock for the past few months, Miley Cyrus dominated the pop culture conversation with foam fingers, giant teddy bears, gratuitous nudity and problematic associations with hip-hop culture. “Bangerz,” her first album to fully abandon all traces of her Hannah Montana origins, is neither a game-changing triumph nor an outright disaster. Instead, it lands somewhere in the middle: several songs are excellent with strong vocal performances, but many of the raunchier hip-hop-flavored tracks fall flat.”
Read the rest of my review here. Click through for three more thoughts!
1. The guest spots on this album disappoint fairly consistently. Future lazily apes Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” on the lackluster “My Darlin’.” Britney Spears’ robotic shtick is nearly indistinguishable from Miley’s on the anemic title track “SMS (Bangerz).” French Montana and Big Sean do nothing to reverse my feeling that they’re among the laziest, hackiest lyricists in hip-hop right now. Overall, the “featured” verses feel like they’ve been shoehorned onto the album in an attempt to demonstrate Miley’s connections to the worlds of pop and hip-hop, rather than showcasing Miley’s impressive chemistry with those acts.
2. It’s equally encouraging and depressing to find that this album contains several excellent tracks beyond even the strong first two singles. “Adore You” opens the album on a lovely high note, and the Pharrell-produced “#GetItRight” injects a flirty, energetic vibe into an album that trends too frequently towards the dour. On a less bloated set of tracks, “Maybe You’re Right” might even pack an emotional punch. The glimmers of quality peaking through the cracks of Miley’s wild persona suggest that the wild persona isn’t entirely necessary, except for the purpose of boosting buzz. Let the music speak for itself, I say.
3. Can we issue a moratorium on hip-hop producers dropping their names every time they put their fingerprints on a track? I’m fine with a Mike WiLL Made It shout-out once in a while, but hearing his blatant self-promotional interjection on every single one of his tracks on this album grates on the nerves. Pharrell has reached a point in his career when his distinctive, malleable musical style speaks for itself. Let’s hope Mike WiLL Made It makes it to that point soon.