Miley Cyrus: Bangerz

Posted October 9, 2013 by in Hip-hop



3/ 5


Genre: , ,
Producer: , , , , , , , ,
Genre: Hip-hop, synthpop, pop
Producer: Mike Will Made It, Miley Cyrus, Rami Afuni, Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Kyle Edwards, Marz, Mike McHenry, P-Nasty,, Pharrell Williams, Oren Yoel
Label: RCA
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 50:28
Release Date: 4 October 2013
Spin This: "Wrecking Ball," "We Can't Stop," "Maybe You're Right"


Old school riifs, pageantry of safe Top 40 familiarity, naughty girl gestures keeps Bangerz a float


A few tracks are just down right irritating to hear, plus the value of Cyrus's vocals are still worth questioning

Miley’s best album yet isn’t all that much of a bang

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Miley’s best album yet isn’t all that much of a bang

In America, the age of majority is 18. No country designates the age of majority above 21. If you glanced at the body of work of Miley Cyrus (and that polarizing TV persona Hannah Montana), who turns 21 this November, you’re left wondering if the young pop star is somehow trapped in a world of fantasy…and that she might not be maturing well. So far, her work hasn’t been all that flattering or critically aesthetic, except for  her  moving ballad “The Climb,” a motion picture contribution that’s associated with Cyrus’s past life as a Disney prop. She’s still managed to find her way back into the conversation using every gimmick known to a pop princess starving for attention: the talk-of-the-town controversial videos, her Gene Simmons-esque tongue wag, slutty college girl behavior, aloof Instagram pics and serendipitous candy-coated pop songs. And that’s probably why all eyes are on Bangerz, her fourth album using her birth name. Strategically speaking, it was most important to not release the album on the same week as Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, the queens of modern pop. If there was a graph showing America’s true feelings about the sheer talent of the aforementioned acts compared with Cyrus, the results would be staggering. Gaga and Perry are dynamic songwriters who have a pulse on Top 40 readiness. Cyrus has a strong dependence on a pool of behind-the-scene producers and songwriters who act like the Brill Building composers of the 21st century (Dr. Luke) and those lucky to get their name ascribed on Wikipedia. “We Can’t Stop,” a midtempo number that feels like Rihanna leftovers and a hangover of Ke$ha’s “Die Young,” hardly had any resistance when it made its climb to the top of the charts. The only thing that stood in its way was Robin Thicke’s Marvin Gaye rip-off “Blurred Lines.” But thanks to her fixation with the ass-shaking movement called “twerking” shown throughout her viral video and her explicit shout-out to Molly, the rebellious kind showed their devotion to Cyrus’s party anthem. “Wrecking Ball,” a subdued Dr. Luke power ballad perfect for those slow karaoke nights, used almost the same element of surprise to cache the ears and eyes of the curious, thanks to social media propping her NSFW stills on a real life wrecking ball taken from her popular music video. Both songs, a part of the Bangerz soundtrack, are quite flattering on the Cyrus enterprise. They appear to be decent songs that helps to raise her checker flag in the world of popdom although they tend tread more into the “here today, gone tomorrow” cycle.

Lyrically, she’s wilding out faster than Justin Bieber by going for more LMFAO Party Rock wackiness, which says a lot about female teen idols who are starving to become the next slutty Madonna. “Look at me, I’m high up off the ground, baby/Oh shoot, pass that shit around baby,” Cyrus sings into the depths of the Nicki Minaj-like beats on’s “Do My Thang.” There’s enough evidence in that line to summon a chaperone to the rescue. The three-ring circus is just a part of the metamorphosis of Miley, a campy process beleaguered with perpetual flickers of youthful rebellion. But for the most part, the music on Cyrus’s pedestrian vocals plays the appeasing urban card wisely. She uses Sam & Dave riffs on the Pharrell Williams-produced “#getitright” while Mike Will Made It stuffs vintage Salt and Pepa into “SMS (Bangerz).” And on top of the old school rap beats is the wickedly cool Girls Gone Wild expose. Right from the very first verse, she’s bragging about her cannabis rites (“All the way in the back, with a tree on my lap”). Later on, Britney Spears jumps in to poke fun at Daddy Dearest: “Catwalk, slick talk, flirting with the big dog/All I need is millis’ when I got Billy on my speed dial.” Then there’s the occasional playful track that for once proves that we shouldn’t be so uptight and serious when listening to the new Miley. The Yeehaw-country banter aboard “4×4,” probably the finest bit of playfulness of all the tracks, actually finds a way to make hootenanny rollicking seem hip to Cyrus’s generation.

Bangerz is still loaded with snags. “Adore You” tries to give Cyrus a ballad that rivals Rihanna’s “Stay,” but comes off as trite and colorless. “Love Money Party,” exposing more of her newly-discovered rap skills, is just irritating from beginning to end. Much of the album’s second half is beefed with potential radio playlist magnets like “Do My Thang.” A generous ear might even toy with “Maybe You’re Right” if they couldn’t decipher all the copy-and-paste production and melodic tricks taken from P!nk’s “Fuckin’ Perfect” and Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are.” Needless to say, the album’s prominent producer Mike Will Made It (Michael Len Williams II) gives Cyrus the ride of a lifetime. It’s her best and most significant work to date, and it could very well be the one album that makes him famous. He’s poured his trap beats on hit singles before, but nothing with as much ruckus as what Cyrus is making. Still, Bangerz isn’t an epiphany in pop music and it hardly does anything for those starving for the upcoming releases of Katy Perry and Gaga. And if you looked at certain polls, there’s not too many people that take Cyrus seriously. It’s scary when folks in Congress are more popular than you.

The other day, a peer of mine made a post that the critical world should not be trying to stifle the creative activity of Cyrus and actually should encourage her wacky behavior, suggesting that all of the strategy and image marketing is just as important to her artistry. If that is the case, then the music she’s making is just simply a pawn on the chess board. That kind of statement is just another excuse to prolong Cyrus’s seven minutes of fame with music aficionados. One thing’s for certain: Miley will go into history for being more famous than her father. I give her that.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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