Miley Cyrus sure has grown up. What she’s grown up to be, however, is a completely different matter. The pop sensation released her third album recently, declaring that, after ‘Can’t Be Tamed’, she would change her sound to something more ‘befitting to her tastes’. It’s a good job.
The new album has clear influences; Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Madonna. The techno-pop sound of the album doesn’t suit Miley well, although the almost pop-rock track of ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’, a cover of Poison’s classic, shows where Miley’s musical roots lie. After her second album under the name Miley Cyrus, ‘Breakout’, many were expecting great things from the seventeen year old singer/actor, but the new album really does seem to be Miley desperately pushing to release music; a desperation that is not well received.
After breaking away from the incessant mould of Disney (a mould that still holds acts such Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, among others) the dance-pop sound of the new album is an understandable change. The first single from the album, the title track, is a catchy song upon first listening but does not have the legs to last as a classic hit, even for her die-hard fans.
The album, predictably, has many tracks describing boys and teenage love. Many critics will slate her for this, but, at the end of the day, she’s seventeen; that’s what teenagers think about non-stop. The tracks ‘Who Owns My Heart’ and ‘Two More Lonely People’ are very innocent, romantic tracks. In contrast, the almost raunchy ‘Permanent December’ describes how Cyrus has been to many cities in the world, but no man has ever pleased her. Anyone still believes that Miley is still a virgin?
It almost seems that, in creating this album, Miley’s thriving personality wasn’t really brought through. The album was produced by Antonio Armato, Tim James and John Shanks, three producers who have worked with artists such as Ashley Tisdale, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. The producers mainly create music for the Disney-orientated, and partially saturated, market, which begs the question; if Miley really wants to break away from the squeaky-clean Disney image, does she really want those three producers? Maybe she would be better off working with rock-star father Billie Rae Cyrus, or even godmother Dolly Parton. Maybe she could even work on her own.
Cyrus seems unable to get away from her fictitious alias, Hannah Montana. Her image clearly matters to the singer, although the album artwork suggests differently. The Nashville-born star describes the frustration of being an artist in the track ‘Robot’. “You mistake the game for being smart/ Stand here, sell this, and hit your mark” she sings. This suggests that she does want to create her own sound, away from the continually trending topics of young teen sensations such as Justin Bieber and Hilary Duff. It’s just a shame she continues to make records that follow the long line of identical pop albums.
The heavy use of technology used on the album is sure to draw criticism. It is clear that Miley can sing, so the fact that she uses auto-tune and synthesizers on many of the tracks, most noteably on opening track ‘Liberty Walk’, is quite shameful. However, such are the times of music, this is not exactly unheard of. So I’m going to compliment Miley for this. It takes real guts to do something different and the use of synthesizers is definitely a change in sound for Cyrus. For that, I applaud her.
Miley is repeatedly criticised and scrutinised for her personal life. Photo controversies, famous boyfriends and risqué outfits could have all marred the industry-experienced, yet still oh-so-young, idol, who seems to take everything in her stride and comes out of every problem with a smile on her face. Critics seem to forget that Cyrus is only seventeen and, while many would say she has time to grow up, I say she doesn’t need to. She should be allowed to do whatever she likes, just like any other teenager.
Although the album does not live up to the high standards of ‘Breakout’ or even the Miley Cyrus debut album, ‘Meet Miley Cyrus’, the 2010 album signals intent from the artist. She clearly wants to break free and we, as listeners, need to let her.