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Bangerz

Way to kill it, Milez. Your VMA performance put the Internet in traction, enraging liberals with its dicey racial burlesque and scandalizing conservatives with its twerking-toward-Bethlehem decadence. You’ve taken raging-bull control of your sexuality, even if it has often looked like LBJ taking control of our policy in Vietnam. And now you’ve sealed the deal with the Rihanna-meets-Gaga-meets-Pink-meets-Britney party grenade of a record your special moment merits.

Bangerz is the sound of Hannah Montana gone Miami Vice. “You think I’m strange, bitch?/Shit’s bananas like a fuckin’ ‘rangutan, bitch,” she rhymes in a sketchy hip-hop drawl on “Do My Thang.” It’s strange but it’s also traditional: Her Disney-steeped voice never takes a back seat to the wide-ranging production (from the likes of Pharrell, Will.i.am and Dr. Luke), and Billy Ray’s daughter rocks a country vocal during several tracks. Some skeptics – let’s call them haters – might argue that Cyrus isn’t wholly comfortable in her new dirty/crazy persona. But that’s part of the strange charm: “We Can’t Stop” undercuts wild-child woo-hoo with dark, uneasy sonic textures, and ballad crushers like “Wrecking Ball” ride the hunger and confusion that make great coming-of-age pop. “I just started living,” she sings on the starkly beautiful album opener, “Adore You.” There’s as much terror as power in that realization. That’s what makes it stick.

In This Article: Miley Cyrus

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