talks about the latest releases in the music world

Chart Chat Album Review : Miley Cyrus – ‘Bangerz’ (07.10.13)

Chart Chat Album Review : Miley Cyrus – Bangerz (07.10.13)

 I have in my hand the latest Miley Cyrus album ‘Bangerz’. I was curious to hear the album in it’s entirety, and try to take a step back from all the hype and try to work out if indeed it is a half decent pop album.  Some of the album art is a little gratuitous such as the crotch grabbing picture on the inside sleeve but that’s only to be expected given her recent videos and photo shoots.  So does sex really sell, or when you scratch the surface is there a bit more to this record? Here are the views of Chart Chat UK as we breeze through the tracks on the standard edition CD.  For those who feel the inclination there is also a deluxe format available containing three extra tracks; ‘Rooting For My Baby’, ‘On My Own’ and the Ludacris collaboration ‘Hands In The Air’.

Adore You  (6/10)

Already chosen as the third although it looks unlikely to replicate the chart topping success of its predecessors despite its sensationalist video.  This would have been fine as an album track but is perhaps not quite strong enough to make it as a single. The video has been viewed over 52m times, and so that alone has to provide publicity for the album. I’m guessing her management team wanted to show a more sensitive side to her vocals but for me I prefer the uptempo tracks on the album. 

We Can’t Stop (9/10)

Strip away the tabloid column inches and this still stands up as a great pop song. Cyrus herself was one of seven co-writers on the single and the hype for once was justified as this entered the UK charts at no.1. The video has become synonymous with the song and has been viewed an amazing 350m times on her Vevo account.  The lyrics also courted controversy with the line “dancing with Molly” as Molly is slang for the drug MDMA.  Liberals were kept happy by a change to the lyrics ensuring it read “dancing with Miley” although it is hard to tell exactly which one she is singing!

Bangerz (featuring Britney Spears) (7/10)

Britney Spears appears on this track, and clocking in at under three minutes this is easily the shortest track on the album. It seems ironic that an artist as iconic as Britney could benefit from appearing with Miley, but she is certainly one of the most talked about artists of the moment and Britney has a new album to promote.  It seems to be that the producer Mike Will Made It has pulled out all the stops to save the track but I can’t help feeling it drops short of what it promised to achieve.

4 x 4  (featuring Nelly) (8/10)

This track was co-written by the golden pen of Pharrell Williams along with Nelly (under his real name Cornell Hayes Jr) and Cyrus herself.  It has a catchy chorus and would certainly make for a future single.  Although it is a dance track it does have almost a country hoedown feel to it at certain points. Aside from co-writingit, Nelly also provides vocals to the track.  He returned to the top forty in 2013 with his hits ‘Hey Porsche’ and ‘Get Like Me’ and I could see this adding to that tally. 

My Darlin’ (featuring Future) (7/10)

This track sees her team up with Future and it’s another possible choice for a future single. Although barely recognisable from the original version, the use of “stand by me / oh darlin’ / stand by me” meant that a songwriting credit to Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller and Ben E King.  Once more Miley co-wrote the track and it’s a decent mid tempo ballad which for me is slightly better than ‘Adore Me’ which was eventually chosen as the slower single.

Wrecking Ball (9/10)

This really needs no introduction, and is another track which may be better known for its video which has been seen over 522m times on YouTube.  Even the audio only version has almost 23m views against its name with the directors cut version notching up 17m views.  And it is another great single which I suspect will be performed by many a future X Factor contestant!  For me tracks like this prove that there is some substance behind the hype – just appearing naked does not get you all the way to the top of the charts, you need a good song too.

Love Money Party (7/10)

The stars keep on appearing as Big Sean is the latest guest vocalist to add his talents to the album.  The repetitive chorus does get inside your head and it would certainly hold its own if it was played in a club. That said it is perhaps not quite commercial enough to be a radio hit and is probably best left on the album. 

#Getitright (9/10)

The track was written and produced by Pharrell Williams, and it shows.  From the slick but repetitive guitar to the breezy uptempo feel to the track, it certainly has his midas touch all over it.  Miley performed the track at the KIIS-FM Jingle Ball in Los Angeles last December and some are predicting that it might yet become the fourth single. 

Drive (6/10)

This was the highest charting of the non singles when the album was released, peaking at no.136 in the UK and no.87 in the US. That said, this is probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album and it’s one I just couldn’t get into.  The track was co-written by producer Mike Will Made-It and Pierre Ramon Slaughter who previously teamed up on the albums lead single ‘We Can’t Stop’. Given the response in terms of downloads this can’t be discounted as a future single but for me there are far stronger choices on the album.

FU (featuring French Montana) (9/10)

This track features the Moroccan born rapper French Montana who also teams up with Miley on the current single. French Montana also co-wrote the track which includes the deliberately provocative lyrics “I got two ooh ooh letters for you / one of them’s F and the other one’s u” and so that may not sit that well for radio play!  However it is one of the more interesting tracks on the album and has almost a 1920’s / 30’s cabaret feel to it.

Do My Thang (8/10)

It’s clear that the record label has spent big on this album and next up is who has co-written and co-produced this track. The outcome is a sleazy slab of r’n’b which is actually pretty good.  Miley has a metaphorical finger in the air at her critics as she crows “we do it / we do it / we don’t give a f***” and “it’s bananas like a f***ing ‘rangatang bitch / don’t worry about me / I got it all arranged bitch”. Is the language all for show? Who knows but it’s a pretty fine track nonetheless.

Maybe You’re Right (9/10)

This is another track which enjoyed some minor success, peaking at no.141 in the UK and no.85 in Canada.  Grammy award winning producer John Shanks picks up a credit here having previously worked with Miley on her ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ album in 2008.  His credits also stretch to Bon Jovi, Westlife, Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion so he certainly has some pedigree. The track is the closest the album comes to a straightforward pop song and for me it results in one of the best songs on the album.

Someone Else (7/10)

The album finally reaches its conclusion with ‘Someone Else’, a fairly standard slice of r’n’b.  It’s fairly inoffensive and actually ends up passing the listener by somewhat.  There were better choices to finish the album and so it does seem to fade out rather than go out on a high. That said the standard doesn’t drop too far and this wouldn’t sound out of place on a Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera record.

In summary it’s a pretty decent pop album.  Actually to try and pigeonhole it as pop is an insult because musically it does criss cross into some fairly obscure territories.  It has an impressive array of writers and producers held together by the talents of Mike Will Made-It.  She is certainly still notching up the tabloid column inches any way she can but it seems to be working.  Everyone is talking about ‘Bangerz’ at a time when the latest Britney released snuck under the radar.


Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

7 February, 2014 - Posted by | ChartChat

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