Review: Miley Cyrus’s ‘Bangerz’ – By Cameron Heffernan

Does the pop starlet, steeped in controversy, deliver a semi-decent album? Yeah, she kind of does.

I don’t listen to Miley Cyrus. As a matter of fact, the only songs I had ever heard by her were the intro to Hannah Montana and “Party in The USA”. Literally, that’s it. As any person, who’s over the age of 11, I don’t very much enjoy music themed for children. Bangerz, Cyrus’s fourth studio album (not under the name of Hannah Montana), is nothing like previous albums. I’m sure you expected that though.

Obviously, Cyrus has transitioned far the hell away from the Montana days. Starting with the first single off the album, We Can’t Stop, we all got a hint that Montana had been murdered and buried, somewhere in an Tennessee marsh. We all knew what was coming, she cuts her hair, has an ultra-sexual, ultra-provocative performance on the VMAs, breaks up with fiancee, Non-Thor Hemsworth (I don’t really care which one is which, and I don’t care to look it up.), and after all that, caps it off with an SNL performance, which is never a good idea during a “media perceived” meltdown.  Her SNL performance went off without a hitch – granted she had no monologue and maybe starred in one to three sketches, while mostly playing as a background feature on her other sketches – she played well to the crowd and didn’t make an ass of herself. Which, with everything that she’s done lately, came as a surprise.

Bangerz, is very un-bangerzish. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a few bangerz on it. But all in all, she is really laying it on the line and letting Hemsworth know, I don’t need you, I’m free and sexual. I can’t stress it enough, she spends most of this album like any 20-year-old who seems to be going through some sort of sexual awakening, we’re all experiencing, since it’s literally recorded to an album. Obviously, her new single Wrecking Ball, is about her separation from Hemsworth. On top of that, there’s other tracks that work as a confessional for the ex-House of The Mouse disciple. FU, other than an obvious title, is another about her, “finding love where she never thought to look,” and how she “went through your phone and found some things; and Lol’d.” As if to say, we don’t know the full story on her and Liam (just looked up which one it is, you’re welcome.) It’s one of the actual bangerz on the album, and features the incomparable French Montana. Someone Else, is another title where she lambasts her infantile thinking of love, and now, like most of us in this world, has come to the realization that, love is a pain in the ass.

Miley attempts to enter realms unknown to a country singer from Nashville. Including rapping, calling an album Bangerz and making genuinely decent music. (sorry, I hate country, it’s an unfair bias.).

She is an awful rapper and doing the whole hip-hop culture invasion works at times and other times falls flat on it’s face with lines like, “you think I’m strange bitch? It’s fucking bananas; like orangutang, bitch.” She has a solid effort, but wordplay wise, it’s like your best friend who thinks he can rap and just invites a bunch of actual local rappers to rap with him at an open mic night. Thus, by association making him kind-of decent.

The guests she has, including Britney Spears, Nelly, Future, Big Sean, the aforementioned French Montana, as well as appearances by Ludacris and Pharrell (Pharrell serves as producer on a few tracks in the regular version too) on the deluxe edition. Which I strongly recommend for those two songs. Bring the majority of the talent to the tracks. Other than that, it’s Mike Will Made It’s time to friggin shine.

Other than Pharrell and someone named P-Nasty, Mike Will Made It uses this album as a statement for why he’s a top producer right now. Although his beats may sound identical at times, he creates enough variation between bangerz, dubstep and classic hip-hop beats, that he is 100% behind any success Miley may have with this album. If not for Mike Will, Miley’s album would be absolutely nothing, literally, the guy has every producer credit aside from three or four songs by Pharrell – which attribute more to her country throw-back, like the bonus track Rooting For My Baby, 4X4 and #GETITRIGHT.

Aside from those Mike Will Made It (rumored new-beau of Cyrus) lays down the fatty beats for someone who has no business being near any “streets”.

She tries, she genuinely does. She’s very aware of herself and what she’s about now. This mixed with her recent performance of SNL, is putting her atop the pop mountain. I get what Justin Timberlake is doing, it’s great, I like both 20/20 experiences. But they’re safe, he isn’t stepping out of any boundaries and if anything, he’s attempting to just mimic Michael Jackson, and it’s working very well. Take Back The Night, literally sounds like a MJ B-side and the entire second part of 20/20 sounds like a trip through the career of JT (which isn’t a good career: N’SYNC, manufactured boy band. Solo: He’s essentially done the same thing for three straight albums, then drops 20/20 and somehow is a music legend. Oh yeah, that’s what will happen when you’re a shitty actor and you wipe that awful crap from peoples minds with a good album. After a seven year hiatus from music). Much like his VMA performance. He’s just rehashing old crap, and since we have no one else to put up there, that’s family friendly, formerly apart of Disney’s factory and totally marketable no matter what, he’s basking in it and we treat him like a legend. He never got rid of the N’SYNC stigma, or musical style, pop music has just become more processed and is just mimicking things form 20 years ago as well as the music you believe to be underground. In JT’s case, 30 years, seeing as MJ made music like he is right now, around 1979.

I like what JT has done, but it isn’t original. I’m not saying a country artist going to rap is new. Well, actually it is. All I’m saying is that what Miley has done is shed that Disney stigma. She isn’t Hannah Montana anymore, and she’ll never be visiting that period of her life. Which is understandable, she was a puppet in a sense. From all that we’ve gathered with the fame machine that is Disney. You aren’t allowed to be a human. You’re a singing/dancing lab rat, that does what they say. JT, in a way is still doing this. The N’SYNC reunion, as cute as is it was, was one of those things that further signified that JT is duping us. He’s still that little boy with awful hair, that was put through a music processor to pump out hits and never go against the grain.

Hip-hop and pop culture meshing wasn’t started by JT and Jay-Z with Suit and Tie, but they’d like you to think it was. What I’m trying to say, is Miley actually felt like she recorded an album for arts sake. Not for album sales.

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