If there’s one thing Miley Cyrus wants you to know after buying this album, it’s that Hannah Montana is well and truly dead. Miley is all grown up and has spent the past several months showing off her tongue and shedding her clothes to prove this point. It has sometimes felt that this campaign has all been about shock value. ‘Bangerz’, Miley’s fourth studio album, is her chance to prove that there is substance behind the shock.
Lyrically, Miley’s found her voice but clearly she’s still trying to find her sound. Her rapping on ‘SMS (Bangerz)’ and ‘Do My Thang’ is more Ja’mie than Ja Rule and ‘4×4’ is an awkward country hip hop hybrid with a lazy feature from Nelly. Mike Will Make It’s ‘Love Money Party’ and ‘Hands In The Air’ are both quite shallow and lazy. Thankfully, the Pharrell-produced “bangerz” ‘#GETITRIGHT’ and ‘On My Own’ are both much better. ‘On My Own’ is particularly funky and is clearly inspired by Michael Jackson.
Despite Miley’s desire to make a dirty south hip hop record, the best moments on ‘Bangerz’ are the electronic non-bangerz. ‘Wrecking Ball’, for all of its video’s gratuitous nudity, is one of 2013’s best pop moments. It is the perfect song to sing with friends whilst commiserating about a broken relationship, particularly after a few drinks. Fans of ‘Wrecking Ball’ will also enjoy ‘My Darling’, ‘Drive’ and ‘Someone Else’, which all cover similar ground lyrically. Miley is no stranger to heartbreak and it shows perfectly in these more introspective moments. It’s not all doom and gloom though… Miley rises up again to give her ex a two finger salute in ‘FU’. Unlike the way she went about promoting the album, Miley sounds more like a scorned woman than a bratty teenager on this highlight, channelling her inner Christina Aguilera.
If you can forgive all of the attention seeking and publicity stunts, ‘Bangerz’ is a very enjoyable record. Admittedly, it’s not great for what it promises – the “bangerz” as a whole are lukewarm at best. However, if you look at it as an album about losing your first real love and trying (and sometimes failing) to figure out who you are, it works quite well.
* A hearty welcome aboard to our new reviewer Brad! (Spontaneous round of applause, please)