Fucking confused. That’s how I, a college-age male, felt the second after listening to Miley Cyrus’ new album “Bangerz,” her third studio album since abandoning her Hannah Montana alter-ego.
To be honest, I don’t know why I listened to this. Maybe I thought it would be a cool perspective, coming from a guy who never really listens to Miley, but I don’t know why I thought that. I didn’t think this one through.
It’s no secret that Miley Cyrus’ persona and style have changed dramatically over the years. Gone are the days of Hannah Montana, the goofy, talented superstar who acted as a role model and inspiration to prepubescent girls and strange older men everywhere. Gone are the days of impressive, raw vocals on display in the 2012 “Backyard Sessions,” where Miley performs covers of classic country/folk songs. If you’ve never listened to it, do so now. I promise you won’t regret it.
Now we have the new Miley, full of auto-tuning, profanity, and, probably scariest of all, twerking. She is here and here to stay. Her avant-garde music videos, risqué photo shoots, and erratic behavior have garnered the attention and adoration of millions of people across the world. Hell, I’ve seen more of Miley Cyrus than I could have ever imagined or, for that matter, wanted to. Because of this, I have automatically associated everything Miley Cyrus with incredible disdain. So, going into listening to “Bangerz,” I had extremely low expectations and had a preconceived idea of what every song was going to be like. But as it turns out, the most distasteful thing about “Bangerz” (other than the title) is the artist who created it.
I could tell from the get-go that the songs in which she actually sang were going to be the ones I enjoyed the most. And after hearing her cover of “Jolene” on “Backyard Sessions,” I had big expectations.
In “Wrecking Ball”, you are fully immersed in the emotions of her failed love life, with a showcase of surprisingly powerful vocals and cinematic musical accompaniment. You can practically feel the emotional devastation she endured from her breakup with Liam Hemsworth. One must remember that the purpose of art is to generate a powerful emotional response in those experiencing it, and for that I believe “Wrecking Ball” is the best song on the album.
That isn’t the only strong aspect of the album. “Adore You” is a simple and well-crafted song, rich in emotion and featuring a smooth and captivating tone -— a perfect opener for the album. “We Can’t Stop” is an absolute crowd pleaser that is shockingly difficult not to sing-along to. The song “#GETITRIGHT” is an enjoyable and catchy with sexy and suggestive lyrics. Having Pharrell Williams produce it was an intelligent move. But seriously, a hashtag in the title of a song. Really, Miley?
“FU (feat. French Montana)” is a great example of how Miley could work with a hip-hop artist on a song while still showcasing her strengths, and is another of my favorites from the album. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end in the album.
Miley’s strengths are that she is able to get attention and appeal to the masses through catchy beats, great marketing, and a “good girl gone bad” reputation. As far as her actual music goes, she has a long way to go before I can take her seriously as an artist. Lyrically, she is an absolute joke; half the crap she spews out of her mouth either makes no sense or is completely distasteful garbage [ex. “Do My Thang” and “Love Money Party (feat. Big Sean)”]. Some of the music that went with the songs are catchy but utterly ridiculous, an example being the song “4×4,” in which instrumentals from more than four genres are present (for god sakes, make a choice Miley).
The artists she features in the album are very hit or miss as well. She chose more names than actual talent and some obvious replacements could have been made (Kid Ink for Future and literally anyone else for Britney Spears).
That said, Miley is an incredibly gifted vocalist with an absurd amount of potential. She needs to stray away from the hip-hop genre (Miley, you can’t rap) and focus on providing something a little more soulful and meaningful to the music industry. After all, her sphere of influence is one of the biggest in the business. She also needs to mature — the things she does may get her attention, but they have also turned her into a complete laughing stock. These are the things I think about, but realistically I see nothing changing. She makes a lot of money and seems happy doing it. Miley, like the song, “Maybe You’re Right.”
Lambert is a member of the class of 2017.