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After months of sustained controversy that reached a climax with her provocative performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus is once again making headlines. This time, however, the attention has shifted (at least temporarily) away from the twerking and on to the artist’s music.
That’s not to say that Cyrus’ latest album, Bangerz, won’t generate its fair share of controversy. Out Oct. 8, Bangerz represents Cyrus’ first studio release from RCA Records, further distancing the pop star from the more family-friendly style of her previous offerings from Disney/Hollywood Records.
The new album includes singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball,” which earned the artist her first No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. With mostly favorable reviews, Bangerz has already prompted debate about Cyrus’ burgeoning persona and the artistic direction this album reflects.
Billboard‘s Jason Lipshutz explains how Bangerz, “finds Cyrus working with who she wants to work with, singing about what she wants to sing about, as if she’s a kid in an arcade with a pocket of limitless quarters.” As the singer continues to ride this wave of fresh independence, Lipshutz finds that, “more often than not, Cyrus’ daring attitude guides her to invention.”
“Way to kill it, Milez,” writes Rolling Stone‘s Jon Dolan, who describes Bangerz as “Hannah Montana meets Miami Vice.” Dolan concedes that haters “might argue that Cyrus isn’t wholly comfortable in her new dirty/crazy persona,” but believes ultimately, “that’s part of the strange charm.”
“There’s plenty more provocation on Bangerz, which moves away from the glossy electro-pop sound of Cyrus’ earlier records toward a grittier, hip-hop-inspired vibe,” writes the Los Angeles Times‘ Mikael Wood. In terms of artistic persona, Wood insists, “Cyrus has time to develop this inside-out indictment of celebrity culture. As long as we remain obsessed with her antics, there’s fuel for that fire.”
Nick Catucci of Entertainment Weekly gave Bangerz an A-, deeming the album, “utterly fresh, a pop blitz from a hip-hop blueprint, and proof that Miley won’t settle for just shocking us.” There are, of course, those quintessential pop elements, but while Bangerz “may be about breaking up and wilding out … it also agitates for the future.”
Other critics, such as USA Today‘s Elysa Gardner, are less convinced of Bangerz’ originality. Gardner describes the album as, “exactly what [Cyrus fans] should have expected: a collection of competent, mostly generic tunes that juggle self-conscious sass with glimmers of earnestness.” In the end, the album is sure to satisfy the artist’s established fan base. Given its, “predictable mediocrity,” Bangerz, “gives [Cyrus], and her followers, nothing to feel bad about.”
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