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Miley Cyrus: 'Bangerz' Album Review

Alicia Dewell |
October 8, 2013 | 3:47 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Does "Bangerz" live up to its considerable hype? (Photo via Wikimedia)
Does "Bangerz" live up to its considerable hype? (Photo via Wikimedia)
Miley Cyrus’ much-anticipated "Bangerz" set a high bar for itself with such a title. Still, it lives up to the hype.

On her fourth studio album, released today, Cyrus collaborates with musical sensations including Nelly, Ludacris and Britney Spears and big name producers Dr. Luke, Mike Will Made It, and Pharrell Williams.

Coming on the heels of a highly public image transformation, "Bangerz" perfectly epitomizes the phenomenon that is Miley Cyrus. 

Provocative. Energetic. Sexy. Raw. Empowering. Risky. Unconventional. Intentional. Fresh.

"Bangerz," at times, is all of these things. But most of all, it is Entertaining. Just as Cyrus’ new image seems to be about self expression and artistic risk taking, so too is her new album. 

On the album’s first track “Adore You,” Cyrus begs the question "Are you listening?" and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Raw emotional numbers like “Adore You,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Maybe You're Right” allow Cyrus’ voice to shine, establishing a baseline of vocal talent before she veers into more experimental territory. With their heartbreaking vulnerability, they also lend a sense of gravity to an otherwise party-anthem fueled album. 

In energetic numbers including “SMS Bangerz (feat. Britney Spears),” “Love Money Party (feat. Big Sean),” and “Do My Thang,” Cyrus tries her hand at rapping. Perhaps surprisingly, her delivery generally comes across as smooth, rather than forced. She holds her own with established rappers like Nelly and Big Sean. “#GETITRIGHT” and “Drive” stand out as especially catchy tracks on an album full of infectious numbers.

The album is more than an experiment in heartbreak and partying. With the twangy “4X4 (feat Nelly),” Cyrus calls back to her Tennessee roots. “FU (feat. French Montana)” explores and distorts an electronic-jazz sound, pairing soulful vocals with ridiculous and playful lyrics.

While some of her choices will inevitably meet with criticism from listeners who are accustomed to stylistic consistency from musical artists, the joy of "Bangerz" is Miley’s eagerness to constantly expand and redefine her comfort zone. 

The combination of simple emotionally fueled melodies and upbeat hip-hop/rap influenced tracks creates an overall engaging and cohesive musical experience. "Bangerz" exhibits a wide range of stylistic influences, yet one thing remains consistent from track to track- "Bangerz" showcases a Miley who, despite controversial publicity, knows exactly what she is doing.

By pushing her own creative boundaries, a justifiably confident Cyrus subverts the pop genre and in doing so creates an album that is as fresh as it is satisfying. 

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Alicia Dewell here.



 

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