Bangerz is the guilty pleasure you hide from your loved ones and sneak off to your dorm room to indulge in. Miley Cyrus has produced pure musical crack that is so wrong it feels right.
Bangerz is a bipolar mix of self-aware, wild child anthems and helpless heartbreak, hitting the highs and lows of the 20-something life. The “short hair, don’t care” attitude of “SMS (Bangerz)” and “Love, Money, Party” clash with the familiar pain of failed love in “Wrecking Ball” and “Maybe You’re Right.”
“We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” are the obvious singles on Bangerz. They are the only songs on the record with any genuine broad appeal. Southern hip-hop permeates the album and Cyrus even tries her hand at some rapping — she mentions an orangutan; it is not her finest lyrical hour.
Bangerz is not deep by any stretch of the imagination. Lyrics discuss discovering suspect text messages and preferring a vibrator to a boyfriend, but was anyone really expecting the next “Peace Train” from the woman who performed “Party in the U.S.A.”? “FU” has Cyrus belting it out like some of the great lady singers, and for good reason.
Her recent VMA performance got tongues wagging, for better or worse, in anticipation of the pop star’s fourth studio album. Bangerz fulfills Cyrus’ evolution from the obnoxious, double-lifed hillbilly Hannah Montana to ratchet Miley 2.0, grill and tiny peroxide buns included.
Those who are shocked by her transformation must not know much about 20-somethings. The “me generation” has a bizarre, self-aware wildness that Cyrus brings to the public eye. The revival of the “Pretty Woman” hooker dress, crop tops and super-stacked platform shoes joined with the “I know I look crazy, but I don’t care” attitude create a controlled rebellion of confidence and independence.
Cyrus wears red carpet outfits that could have been easily knocked off years ago through Forever 21 and GoJane. One would witness more risque dancing Thursday night on Sixth Street.
Frankly, Cyrus has garnered most of this criticism because her new persona is not sexy. Rewind to the VMAs – shots of Cyrus playing with long hair she obviously does not have and sticking out that infamous tongue while emerging from a teddy bear. It’s weird, it’s goofy and it’s in no way sensual.
Pop princesses like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera have “grown up” through revealing performances. Remember Spears’ nude and crystal bodysuit at the 2000 VMAs? It was scandalous, yet acceptable because she was sexually appealing.
The new Cyrus has reached sexual saturation to the point where she isn’t the mainstream idea of “hot” anymore. On the track “4 x 4,” Cyrus sings “Driving so fast ‘bout to piss on myself,” which, by most standards, is not sexy. Throw in Cyrus’s guttural Southern accent and you have one big boner-kill.
Bangerz reinforces that there really is room in the pop world for the weird chick in a fuzzy costume and creepers, even among the barely-legal, crystal bikinis and long blonde hair.
Cyrus is transforming into a true force to be reckoned with. She doesn’t give a flying fig and neither should anyone else. Hey, she’s just being Miley.