It seems like everyone has an opinion on Miley Cyrus. Pharrell thinks she’s brilliant, Tim Gunn wants to slap her, and Sinead O’Connor is busy writing her seventh open letter. However you feel about her, Cyrus’s fourth major release, Bangerz, is a solid pop album and a wild departure from her squeaky-clean, wholesome Southern image.
Produced by Mike Will Made-It and Pharrell, Bangerz has a thumping R&B thread throughout its 13 tracks. The majority of them are surprisingly slow and methodical: “Adore You,” the album’s opening song, is a soft bass-heavy ballad featuring Cyrus’s oft-ignored pipes. The girl can (kind of) twerk, but did you know the girl can sing? She would like to remind you — and remind you she will.
Don’t get too comfortable with sensitive-songstress Cyrus because then we’re right back to single number one, “We Can’t Stop.” And this is where the tension of the album comes in: there is a definite identity crisis that Bangerz can’t quite shake off. It wants to party hard but then cry in the corner with its Malibu rum and OJ every 10 minutes. It flip-flops too often between tongue-wagging bravado and quiet contemplation to have a lasting tone, making it feel exhaustive by its end.
Bangerz, however, is a party in its own right. Cyrus has a plethora of collaborators: Britney Spears, Big Sean, French Montana all lend their time, so it’s rare you ever get a song that has Cyrus alone. Hell, even Nelly appears on a track. Remember Nelly? He wants you to.
All said, Bangerz is what it is: a very decent and very listenable pop album. “#getitright” is an up-beat ditty that is sure to get plenty of airtime, “SMS (Bangerz)” with Spears is a no-brainer, and “Someone Else” is sure to get even Sinead O’Connor feeling sympathetic.