It’s hard to say whether Sinead O’Connor or Amanda Palmer is right about Miley Cyrus‘ control over her twerk media circus, but Palmer may be onto something, what with Cyrus’ executive producer status and the benefits already reaped. we’re all paying ridiculous attention to Bangerz, a traditional pop album in that there are two earworm singles surrounded by repetitive garbage that rips off classics, sometimes without credit.
Bangerz also signals her well-publicized transition from Hannah Montana to a twitchy, MDMA-gobbling soundalike of Rihanna (although Cyrus still makes better decisions). While her over-sexualized, style-over-substance life philosophy runs free on the record, there’s a transformative plot, too. So goes the new Miley world order according to Miley in five Bangerz lyrics:
The album’s opener is a straight-forward love song to ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth, a central figure throughout the record. It turns out that she was right to say she “love[d him] more” since he left her, but the writing of Bangerz spanned both the before and after of that split. This remnant represents her smitten side:
Then she dumped her management and reinvented herself as a young, irresponsibly rich party monster who does “line[s] in the bathroom.” Even though she made the 2010 Forbes 100 List, we’ve never cared as much about her as we did when she decided to “Do Her Thang,” which was subsequently burned into our retinas at the VMAs. But, Hemsworth didn’t want that to live in a “house” like that – Cyrus, however, under the impression she could pull any crazy stunt she wanted, because her man would still be at home:
The two split, and Miley gets angry enough to completely jack Cee Lo‘s famous 2010 theme as well as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘ timeless song “I Put a Spell On You.” While previous track “My Darlin’” was the most butchered rendition of “Stand By Me” ever made, at least she gave Ben E. King writing credit on it. Anyway, blatant plagiarism aside, we see Cyrus try to be cute and angry simultaneously:
We have argued too much about whether her tongue acrobatics, foam finger fetish, and soft drug promotion come off as empowering, demeaning, childish or just short-term business savvy. The fact is, we know it’s the last two, and it was enough of a spectacle to drive Hemsworth into the arms of someone slightly older. For the first time in the album – after several breakup songs – Miley begins to accept some responsibility for the split, which shows just the briefest glimmer of maturity. Which, in the real world, immediately disappeared via her grotesquely reprehensible rebuttal to O’Connor’s criticism:
Both the ‘teddybear Hannah Montana’ appeal and the ‘nude party girl’ failed to keep Hemsworth around, but she’s already made her transformation. Now Cyrus has to sleep in the bed she made (at least until her grows out and the next album cycle comes around). It’s nice to know she actually “can stop” long enough to reflect on mistakes and strive for actual, human self-improvement. Still, the two split so many times, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re being together for the last stretch wasn’t just part of the album’s marketing (gotta sell those ballads, too!):