Miley Cyrus, ‘Bangerz’ Deluxe Version – Album Review
Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' is all over the place.
The singer's new album is heavy on rapper guest appearances and features, and one from Britney Spears. It's Miley trying to be everything to everyone.
There's ballads, bangerz and a semi-country song. We applaud the ambitiousness, but it feels unharnessed. But that's the stuff of life and music that makes people and artists interesting.
Someone needed to reel this in for the sake of continuity, but they were out to lunch and nowhere to be found.
Essentially, with 'Bangerz,' Miss Miley was allowed to be wound up and let go and to run musically amok as she wished.
Ultimately, she has cast the net wide and fast. Listeners are left guessing who and what the real musical Miley Cyrus is, which was likely her intention. She earns extra points for the ballads -- those are the album's highest points.
1. 'Adore You'
The album opens with a gorgeous ballad, and it's just Miley, her voice and a backbeat, laying her cards face up on the table. She's in love, madly so, espousing, "When you say you love me, no, I love you more." It reeks of honeymoon phase love, when you can't get enough of that person who gives you butterflies in your belly. It establishes that despite all of her antics -- her rapping, her twerking and her drama -- she can sing. There's a yearning and longing in 'Adore You' that is repeated only once on 'Bangerz,' and that's on 'Wrecking Ball.' We sort of like Miley better when she's not trying to be a banger.
2. 'We Can't Stop'
This was the first taste of the album, a slow, leanin' back party anthem about not wanting to go home, likin' to party and dancing with Miley or Molly, whichever diction you heard out of her mouth. Cyrus has not hidden her agenda to be a rapper, or at least to be a credible urban artist. In some of the vocal parts and layers, you can hear that she can actually sing.
3. 'SMS (Bangerz)' Feat. Britney Spears
Cyrus' collabo with Brit Brit sounds epic on paper. The execution is wannabe hip-hop. Miley gets an "E" for effort, but it feels like she is trying a bit too hard. Firing off rhymes about struttin' her stuff sounds like she put a lot of time and effort into making it sound like it was easy and effortless. Brit does a breathy talk-sing thing, and we think she's asking herself, "How did I end up here?" A Hollaback Girl, Miley is not. Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams could get away with this. Miley can't. Not yet, at least.
4. '4x4' Feat. Nelly
Whoa, what the heck is this? It's Miley doing a backyard, handclappin', foot stompin' neo-country song, talking about "p---sing" on herself. This nods to her country roots, since her dad is a country singer and she was born in Tennessee, and Dolly Parton is her godmother. So it only made sense for her to drag Nelly and his 'Country Grammar' into it with her. But it's super strange.
5. 'My Darlin' Feat. Future
'My Darlin' is quiet, and it's a drum and bass-driven song, where Miley's voice snakes around Future's. It's actually the album's sleeper standout, as in it is not as high profile and probably won't get much attention. But it's one of the most intricate and interesting songs on the whole of 'Bangerz.'
6. 'Wrecking Ball'
Regardless of what comes before or after it, 'Wrecking Ball' is one of the singer's best tracks ever. It's emotionally raw and vulnerable, and we believe she was done wrong, that she was "wre-eh-eh-ecked" and we believe everything that comes out of her mouth, especially when she says "Don't you ever say I just walked away" on this song.
7. 'Love, Money, Party' Feat. Big Sean
Quick, someone call Naya Rivera so she can preside over her man's collabo with Miley. We kid, we kid. Her pursuits in this low-riding, hip-hop track are made clear in the title and the lyrics. It's another attempt at being an urban diva. It's sort of a shame that she wastes time rapid firing boastful, chest-puffer lyrics because she can sing. Big Sean does add a fun little verse when he spits his rhymes.
8. 'Get It Right'
Miley offers her take on '70s and '80s NYC soul on this track, which we're beyond digging. It's sexed up, lyrically, since she talks about the things a lover makes her tongue want to do. But we love the whistling and the handclaps. It's got such a Soho-on-a-sunny-day vibe, at least in the sonics.
Miley gets aggressive, vocally, on 'Drive.' There's a buzzy synth under her voice and some kicking, crackling, livewire beats, but it's a breakup track about driving away and dropping the keys off in the morning. We can't help but think, "Liam?" She is clear that she was mislead by a lover and it wre-eck-eck-ed her.
10. 'FU' Feat. French Montana
'FU' is the angriest track on the record. A diss track, if you will. But this one has a cabaret, Broadway musical vibe. It's weird, but we like it. She uses that smoky, husky voice (which is deeper since she picked up her smoking habit) and gets dramatic; it's her Lady Gaga-esque song. She belts out, "What you gotta do / Is go get yourself a clue / Only two letters to choose / One of them is F / The other is U" and we instantly want to quote it. It's soulful track. French spits a few rhymes, too.
11. 'Do My Thang'
If there is one thing Destiny Hope Cyrus did on 'Bangerz,' it's her thing! Southern hip-hop gets an interpretation via Miley here. There are no remnants of Hannah Montana. She didn't go the safe, EDM-lite route for an entire album, like her former fellow Disney pal Selena Gomez. She didn't do clean pop anthems like Demi Lovato. She is the bad girl, drinking under the bleachers and hip-hoppin'.
12. 'Maybe You're Right'
Cyrus abandons hip-hop for a sweeping, epic, lush semi-ballad with this cut. She gets vulnerable, and it's when she is the most believable. It's another track we found ourselves hitting the repeat button for.
13. 'Someone Else'
Echos and synths -- 'Someone Else' is Miley doing EDM, something she doesn't play around with much on the album. But EDM is very right now, and it's as though she thought that she couldn't release an album without at least showing that she knows what's current and hot so she did an EDM-lite track. It feels like filler when it's surrounded by other more worthwhile fare.
Deluxe Version Tracks:
14. 'Rooting for My Baby'
Cyrus's voice is huskier than usual on this slow, simple, Fleetwood Mac-inspired ballad about being there for the love of your life no matter what happens and being the ultimate support system. It's a softer side of Miiley and like much of 'Bangerz,' it has its own unique personality.
15. 'On My Own'
'Bangerz' is not without its bangers, and 'On My Own' is sort of a dancefloor anthem. With disco pop beats, downtown NYC instrumentation and Miley's aggressive vocals, it's a strangely appealing track about looking out for No. 1 and doing you before you do anything (or anyone) else. Is it us or does this sound like a Michael Jackson song?
16. 'Hands in the Air' Feat. Ludacris
Throw 'em up, throw 'em up! Cyrus teams up with rapper Ludacris on this track. It's a rap anthem that we could see Miley performing to get a live crowd of smilers riled up.