This review was originally published in The Broadie
After all the media nonsense that has surrounded the release of Miley Cyrus’ fourth album, you could be forgiven for expecting a boisterous party pop record in the vein of Ke$ha as opposed to the sugary teen pop of her Hannah Montana days. Bangerz, however, is an album that attempts to defy our expectations of the singer as she ventures into grounds previously untouched in her career, with rap, partying and a whole lot of twerking.
With ‘Adore You’, the album opens up with a love ballad, a theme followed in parts by ‘Drive’, but lead single ‘We Can’t Stop’, where Miley opens herself up lyrically to a world where non-stop parties, class A drugs and ignoring the ‘haters’ is the norm. This theme is continued in ‘SMS (Bangerz)’, in which Miley makes a poor attempt at rapping while Britney Spears warbles about flying on a bird. A different kind of duet soon follows, as Miley and Future sing on ‘My Darlin’’ about how their love is so amazing that they’ll make a 3D movie of it all, before a massive ‘Wrecking Ball’ swings in which, despite that video, may well be the musical highlight of the epitome.
Just where you think Bangerz may stand a chance with decent music courtesy of two Pharrell-produced tracks, ‘4×4’ stoops to a new low as Miley’s idea of teenage rebellion morphs into incontinence and blatant flaunting of the highway code with a country-style backing. The other Pharrell track, ‘#GETITRIGHT’, may have a dreadful name but, as we can expect from the man that refuses to age, the groovy instrumental and lively falsetto backing leaves a positive impression on the listener. Much of the rest of the album, however, remains generic pop with a vocal line either centred around rebellion or failing relationships and with the charisma of a donut. The album is really the mishmash of conflicting styles, themes and genres that the cover suggests.
Maybe one day we will fulfil Miley’s dreams and look back at Bangerz as pivotal in the story of pop music. Maybe one day we will yearn for lyricism as intellectually stimulating as “Driving so fast ‘bout to piss on myself”. For now, though, it’s just a bit awful. As Miley sings on ‘We Can’t Stop’, “Forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya”, but, with Bangerz, that somebody certainly isn’t me, and it probably won’t be you either.