Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz is the singer’s latest studio album, and her promotional tactics have been nothing but controversial. Does her new music live up to expectations?

Before I begin, I have to admit that I was one of those people who, back in 2008, couldn’t stand Miley Cyrus or her blonde alter-ego.

It’s strange how now that she’s gathered all of the world’s attention–and gone completely crazy–she manages to produce an album worth some recognition.

We’ve heard “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” enough times, so they’re hardly worth talking about. I simply have to mention that I judged these tracks so harshly because Miley’s mental breakdown took me by surprise, and the music videos were, to be honest, openly awful. But the songs themselves, I later realized, are catchy, cleverly put together, and show an entirely different side of this “American sweetheart” we thought we knew.

The rest of Bangerz comes as a bit of a shock; “Adore You” is a slow-moving, artistic combination of instrumentals (cellos accompany the leisurely computerized beat in the background) with Cyrus’s voice synthed to match the pace of the song. Perhaps inspired by the current EDM rage, Cyrus impresses with this track, as well as with “4×4”, which, despite its strange lyrics (“Driving so fast ‘bout to piss on myself”), still manages to stand as a decent track and shows her country girl side. Later we see that Cyrus and Britney Spears have more in common than their liking to chopping off all of their hair; their voices blend nicely on “SMS” and turn them into a powerful pop duo.

“Stand By Me” gives an interesting twist on the song title which we know has been done and re-done endlessly. Cyrus inserts her own vibe into it, changes the lyrics around, and pairs with American rapper Future to create a distinct, enigmatic sound. “Get It Right” is less hard-hitting and “Drive” is similar to “Adore You” in its melody and lyrics, though the latter is significantly better.

On “Maybe You’re Right” Cyrus (possibly) sings of a recent breakup while proving her vocal range abilities, and here I was thinking she was tone-deaf. “FU” is one of the strongest tracks on Bangerz, and stands as a perfect example of Cyrus’s monumental improvement as an artist. Her collaboration with French Montana makes it all the better, as he picks up the mic when Cyrus needs a break from her passionate lyric-belting. “Someone Else” is another great track that, without the deep bass synths and impressively catchy chorus, would’ve blended into the background of this album.

The only thing I saw a real problem with was “Love Money Party”, as it was just another obnoxious “I’m a party animal” type of song and was basically just Miley telling us what she does on her weekends. Apart from this, this album is an amazing outburst from Cyrus (compare it to “Hoedown Throwdown” if you don’t believe me) and exemplifies her growth as an artist and a young adult in the music industry.

My theory is that this was her plan all along; to wait until she could let herself go and prove to everyone what she could really do (in terms of producing music). She’s tired of being the good girl, and even if the only way she can prove herself as a serious artist is to go completely nuts, I respect her intentions. I do have to tell you this: don’t watch the music videos to these songs, because you’ll hate them. Simply listen to them and you’ll know exactly what I mean. There is no way we can expect Cyrus, now 20 years old, to stay Hannah Montana forever. It was only a matter of time before the wig came off–this time for good.

Score: 8.5/10.

Strongest tracks: “Adore You”, “FU”, “Someone Else”

Weakest tracks: “Love Money Party”, “Rooting For My Baby”

Bangerz drops this Tuesday, October 8.

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