Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: 'Bangerz' has its good moments, but two Mileys still hard to reconcile

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I had been trying to avoid the inevitable for as long as I could, but I finally listened to Miley Cyrus's new album. I'm not a Miley hater; I loved her movie LOL, and I think her exaggerated comeback is kind of genius. It's just that I don't mind pretending she doesn't exist. Miley broke free of the Disney Channel mold and then some, and she is obviously trying to shock people out of remembering her Hannah Montana days. But this generation grew up hearing her voice every day on Disney and Radio Disney; therefore separating these two personas is strangely hard.

Miley, no question, has a strong, unique voice. She has never been one of the artists you wonder whether they are really singing. Throughout Bangerz she flaunts her vocal range and in songs such as 4x4 you can hear that distinct Southern twang. My annoyance level with her voice fluctuates, mostly depending on the strength of the production of the song. My Darlin' is weak and seemingly thrown together and it does her voice no favors, unlike #GETITRIGHT. This sunny tune driven by a fun whistle melody seems more layered and clean than the rest.

The lyrics are nothing special. Miley is straightforward with what seems to be the drama surrounding her relationship with Liam Hemsworth, yet very vague. The experiences and lyrics are cliche: "Drive my heart into the night, you can drop the keys off in the morning" in Drive. They speak of struggles but still feel very impersonal.

The album is filled with weird, out of place songs. FU sounds like the awkward number placed in the middle of a Broadway play, also known as the one everyone forgets. The album lacks a common thread to connect the songs to each other. In Do My Thang she raps about being a Southern belle; I mean, c'mon.

Though the album is stuffed with heavy beats and hashtags, it lacks sophistication. Miley will be in Tampa next month and then again in March, and regardless of the mediocrity of Bangerz, she still will draw thousands of eager concertgoers. That's the Miley Cyrus curse — she can produce second-rate art, but something about her wild image, her superficial music, or the two combined, makes it hard to look away.

HANNAH ELLIOTT Robinson High

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