Likes: Maybe You’re Right
Overall: Not as awful as expected. Cool music, but just okay lyrics and annoying vocal.
So, guess what? “Bangerz” isn’t the flaming, hot trash mess one might think it would be, given the gimmicky “shedding my child-star image” antics Miley Cyrus has been up to lately. That said, it’s that much more confusing why Cyrus would go to such headline-making lengths to promote the album. Musically, the base of the record is far from her pop and country roots, therefore “Bangerz” would’ve stood out on its own without the silly hoopla. The musical production (Mike Will has majority of the production credits) is quite interesting and is what got my attention first. There’s definitely use of synthpop and techno elements and effects, but it isn’t applied in the usual, formulaic way. Often swinging from quietly sad to charging, the tones are glum, deeper and rougher with southern hip-hop as a main influence (although in the realm of hip-hop, the tracks may come off as generic). The biggest tastes of pop come from “#GetItRight” and “Maybe You’re Right.” I love the melody of “#GetItRight,” but ill-corresponding lyrics and vocal ruin it for me. It’s supposed to be a “stop what you’re doing and get in this bed” song, but the tempo is just too fun and giddy; it’s more joyous and “feel-good” than sexy. Couple that with the gradually rambling lyrics and the acquired taste that’s Miley’s high-pitched and somewhat whiny smoker’s voice and you’re nowhere near wanting to take your clothes off. Her voice is the main reason I wished “Maybe You’re Right” was sung by Pink instead. Pink’s voice is husky, but it’s sexier because it’s not as high and more soulful.
In my opinion, Cyrus’ stronger ability in the past was song-writing, but she faltered (Cyrus co-wrote most of “Bangerz”). The brainless moments are few (even the bump-down-the-street-able “Love, Money, Party” has some sort of meaning), but the lyrics (mostly about failed love) aren’t as fleshed out as they could be. You’re hit with assorted pieces of imagery that never tell a full story, which is disappointing, because there was so much potential. The best example of this is “My Darlin’.” 1st, you get there was a hope to married, followed by making a movie in 3D, a plea for the person to stay, then an ultimatum to accept things a certain way. There are no transitions between these ideas to connect them or inform the listener on what exactly happened in this relationship. The most concept-coherent songs are “Wrecking Ball,” “Drive” & “Maybe You’re Right.” Other tracks that could’ve been delicious if the lyrics were more developed were the theatrical “FU” and the Cotton-Eyed Joe-ish “4X4,” featuring Nelly. The pop-epicness of a fellow Disney brat (i.e. Britney Spears) recording a Salt-N-Pepa sampled song with a younging (i.e. Miley) who is clearly trying to mimic her career steps, never came into fruition on “SMS;” it is the most forgettable cut on the record.
One of the more annoying things about “Bangerz” is Cyrus’ attempt at rapping and her constant cursing. The rapping was just campy and I couldn’t take it seriously. The incessant cursing was unnecessary, didn’t emphasize or enhance any particular point and it just translated as her trying too hard to be, well, hard. The album is kind of difficult to listen to in its entirety. There isn’t anything smooth or pleasant enough in Cyrus’ voice to complimentary counteract the gravel in the music and the lyrics leave much to be desired. I liked the music, I loved that she branched out stylistically and it all fit her better than I anticipated, but it didn’t flatter what Cyrus is working with. Her voice isn’t going to change, so the music will have to be softer in the future. Maybe try R&B-techno instead of hip-hop techno.