Reformed Miley Cyrus makes impressive turn with ‘Bangerz’Posted on October 8, 2013 | by Mackenzie Brady
The self-proclaimed “new and more mature” Miley Cyrus made her album debut with the release of “Bangerz.” With it comes bad news for her detractors — it’s not Hannah Montana hits the club. As much as the pop culture world tries to pin her down, “Bangerz” proves that there is more to Cyrus than we give her credit for. If this album is a train wreck, it’s a train wreck in which the listener doesn’t mind being along for the ride.
There are songs about twerking, popping molly and house parties, but, perhaps shockingly, those do not make up the majority of the album. Cyrus knows what people expect from her, and she is determined to do the opposite. The album seems content to flip from the hip-hop heavy “Do My Thang,” where Cyrus asserts how much she has grown up, to a ballad, “Maybe You’re Right,” that sounds clean and innocuous enough to fit in with her Disney days. As soon as you think you know where she’s going, Cyrus belts out an Amy Winehouse-esque “FU.” She crosses genres without apology and, more often than not, pulls it off.
The exception is the weakest song on the album, “4×4,” which is so ridiculous no parody could prove more ludicrous than the track itself. It is difficult to believe that this song was made in earnest. Listeners will cringe when they hear Cyrus say “Driving so fast ‘bout to piss on myself.”
Hyperbolic moments aside, Cyrus cannot be reduced to moments of caricature. While you’re still hung up on Cyrus urinating on a car seat, she has already moved on to more subtle vulnerability on “My Darlin’,” in which Cyrus croons, “I didn’t pop no molly but you still got me sweatin’.” For Cyrus, a song about a spiraling wedding engagement wouldn’t be complete without a drug reference.
The lyrics are occasionally awkward, and her attempt at rapping sounds absurd, but for an album meant to debut the new incarnation of this pop star, Cyrus’ “Bangerz” has nothing to be ashamed of. The album does not once stop for air. Flailing, desperate and compelling, it requires repeat visits, just like her VMA performance.
As soon as we’ve come to a conclusion as to who the real Cyrus is, she pivots. The song “Someone Else” comes on to remind us that we haven’t a clue. Hannah Montana may be gone forever, but “Bangerz” proves Miley Cyrus is here to stay.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 8 print edition. Mackenzie Brady is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.