Album Review: Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

This is the second post from our contributor Dan. Check out his previous post here. Thanks for reading!

What a year 2013 was for Miley Cyrus.  She went from almost falling off the face of the planet through sheer irrelevance to becoming the biggest pop culture phenomenon of the year.  Following all her ridiculous/attention-getting antics at the VMAs, Miley released her first album in 3 years.  Bangerz is exactly what it wants to be – an over the top pop album with synth-beats on almost every track and some big names in the Rap game (Big Sean, Future, etc).

One of the four album covers for Bangerz. The rest can be found here.

One of the four album covers for Bangerz. The rest can be found here.

I will be giving my overall grade (on a scale of 1 – 10; 10 being the best) of the album at the end, but instead of reordering the songs into ‘best to worst’ order I will be using colors to visually demonstrate which songs I like the most, least, and the songs I am apathetic about.

If a song is green – I like it more than others; if a song is blue – It’s listenable; if a song is red – I don’t really like it. I will be adding purple to the list as well; purple will be for my favorite song on the album.

I have written a short review of every song and highlighted it based upon the scale above.

Track List

1. Adore You
2. We Can’t Stop
3. SMS (Bangerz) feat. Britney Spears
4. 4×4 feat. Nelly
5. My Darlin’ feat. Future
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Love, Money, Party feat. Big Sean
8. Get it Right
9. Drive
10. FU feat. French Montana
11. Do My Thang
12. Maybe You’re Right
13. Someone Else

Cyrus performing on December 2013. (Source)

Cyrus performing on December 2013. (Source)

Track reviews

 1. Adore You

This was the opening song on the album, and it quickly bored me.  Not a great way to start an album, but lucky for Miley she was able to pull the rest of this album out of the rubble.

2. We Can’t Stop

Not a bad song.  Initially I did not like this song when I heard over the summer because it was not Party in the USA but it has eventually grown on me.  It’s green because as hard as you try to avoid this song, hearing it is inevitable.  Very catchy, very Miley.  This was the first everyone saw of Nu-Miley.

3. SMS (Bangerz) feat. Britney Spears

The first really cool sounding song on the album.  Very cool feature of Brittney Spears.  Still pretty repetitive.  First time I’ve listened to a Miley Cyrus song that she said a swear word. She is no longer Hannah Montana and that’s okay.

4. 4×4 feat. Nelly

There is a very interesting instrumental track for this song.  Almost sounds a bit country at times, which makes the Nelly feature make so much sense.  You really get to hear the Southern roots of Miley in her vocals for this track.  Nelly continues to do Nelly things, makes me miss ‘Country Grammar.’

5. My Darlin’ feat. Future

There is a lot of emotion put into the first lines Miley has in the song, but then Future comes in and ruins it.  Honestly, any other feature would make this an okay song.  The lyrics shift from pretty emotional and heart broken at the start, to “we gon’ make a movie, its gon’ be in 3d.”  This song had potential, but it just couldn’t keep me interested.

6. Wrecking Ball

Everybody and their mother knows this song and video.  There really isn’t anything I can say about this song that hasn’t already been said.  Pretty good lyrically, pretty catchy.

7. Love, Money, Party feat. Big Sean

Miley is channeling her inner Ke$ha on this song.  The words “Love”, “Money”, and ”Party” are repeated over and over and over.  Kind of gives me a headache.  If it wasn’t for Big Sean’s verse on this song I think this would have been a red song.

8. #GETITRIGHT

This song reminds me of a Robin Thicke song, with Miley playing the role of Thicke.  When you think of the song like that it is pretty interesting. The similarities to this song and ‘Blurred Lines’ are apparent.

9. Drive

Miley opens this song showing off her impressive vocal range. I am a big fan of the instrumental track used.  It made me want to freestyle at times, which is always a good thing.  Lyrics follow the heartbreak of most of the album.

After listening to the whole album, I have decided that this song is my favorite.  This song is good summary for the album.  It is very catchy at times, but it’s coming from a place of pain.  Miley is weak, confused, and scared.  To me, this song shows that.

10. FU feat. French Montana

This is another pretty cool song.  French Montana is another poor feature, but he doesn’t do a whole lot, so it doesn’t affect the track a whole lot.  The vocals are grandiose over a very dub-by instrumental – which sounds like a weird combination – but it ends up working for the song.  The lyrics are slightly goofy at times and don’t really go with her vocals, but it still ends up working.

11. Do My Thang

Stop trying to rap on trap beats Miley; I don’t think it works for you as much as you think.  A lot of “bitch rhymes with bitch” rhyme patterns… Weak.

12. Maybe You’re Right

Meh.  The whole ‘every song is about Thor’s Brother’ thing is getting a little boring at this point in the album.

13. Someone Else

I enjoyed this song.  I couldn’t tell you what I really enjoyed about it, but I know that I liked it.

The bracelet on Cyrus's knuckles reads 'NICK.'

The bracelet on Cyrus’s knuckles reads ‘NICK.’

Overall:

2013 was Miley Cyrus’ year as far as popularity goes, but it also has been a year full of heartbreak and self-destruction for the young pop star.  She dealt with the end of a marriage proposal, which is never an easy thing for anyone to do.  She came back from all that to release an album that was nothing like anything she had done before.

Personally, I enjoyed a chunk of the album.  Miley has amazing talent when it comes to singing.  There are times when I see her have the vocal range of someone like Christina Aguilera, which is amazing, but there are also times where she feels that she would rather rap.  I was not a fan of the latter.  The album was filled with “Bangerz” that you would typically hear at a college party or a club, but if that is not your scene then this album is not for you.

 Final Grade : 7/10

Too much of the CD was boring, or repetitive, to the point where I couldn’t see myself giving a much higher rating, but overall the CD was not terrible.  Miley is still young, so I can see her making many more albums following this; lets just hope the next one isn’t all about Thor’s Brother.

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Music Genres Represented on the Billboard Top 100 Charts

Below is an infographic that I created illustrating the lack of parity in the Billboard Top 100 Charts.

Here are the numbers:

  • Pop – 30 Songs
  • Rap – 9 Songs
  • Hip Hop – 23 Songs
  • Rock – 8 Songs
  • Country – 24 Songs
  • Electronic – 6 Songs

As you can see, Pop, Country, and Hip Hop genres have a stranglehold on the Top 100. These three genres make up 77 of the 100 songs on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.But does being on the Top 100 mean the song is ‘good’ to the general populace? Let’s look at how the Billboard Top 100 charts are tabulated.

This is from a September 29th, 2013 article named ‘Ask Billboard: How Does The Hot 100 Work?’ 

Article writer, Gary Thrust, replies to the question with this:

As we wrote in January when YouTube data was added to the Hot 100’s equation: “Generally speaking, our Hot 100 formula targets a ratio of sales (35-45%), airplay (30-40%) and streaming (20-30%).”

Of course, that’s an overall target for 100 songs each week. That mark can change week-to-week. This week, though, the Hot 100 breaks down in line with the formula’s intent: sales, 39%; airplay, 34%; and, streaming, 27%.

And, week-to-week, some songs show largely along those percentages, while others skew noticeably toward any of the chart’s three metrics.

So it is hard to determined what ‘good’ is in this instance, or really any instance, because songs from already popular artists will get the most airplay, likely the most streaming, and the previous two ‘metrics’ will eventually lead to an uptick in sales. Yet each of the three metrics can make up any percentage of the equation (the above is just a ‘general’ example), and each metric fluctuates every week as Thrust continues:

This week [September 29th, 2013], points for the Hot 100’s leader stem 50% from streaming, 43% from sales and just 7% from radio airplay. No surprise: the song drew a whopping 14.3 million U.S. streams in the chart’s tracking week, according to Nielsen BDS. (The No. 2-streamed song, Katy Perry’s “Roar,” garnered 7.3 million.) “Ball” ranks at No. 3 on Digital Songs with 301,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Conversely, as airplay for “Ball” is just beginning, its low Hot 100 points percentage reflects its No. 31 spot on Radio Songs (via 38 million all-format audience impressions, according to BDS).

‘Wrecking Ball’ is the song that usurped Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ because of breaking a YouTube record of first day views (12.3 Million), which demonstrates the shift from radio to Internet for music that has been happening for over a decade. It is just more recognizable now because of the large difference between 50% streaming and 7% radio airplay; it also helps that Cyrus has an, ahem, ‘interesting’ music video that draws the streaming views.

So what are the keys to reaching the Top 100 in the Billboard charts?

  • Create a captivating music video
  • Have a generic sound and cheap lyrics
  • Put more importance on online streaming and sales than radio airplay (What Millennials willingly listen to the radio?)
  • Build a loyal and enormous fan base
  • Not always necessary but helpful if you are a part of Country, Hip-hop, or Pop genres

If you would like to make an infographic, use this nifty site called Infogram!

Five Collaborations I Would Love To See

Music collaborations can be fantastic for the fans, the artists/bands involved, and for music in general – when done right. Collaborations that are done correctly fuse elements of genres into a perfect musical cuisine that tastes just wonderful in your ears. Sorry about that, I’m a wee bit hungry while writing this! But the best collaborations are done when artists/bands from vastly different genres, yet a collaboration can be successful when putting together similar genre artists/bands.

Here are examples of collaborations have been done correctly:

Eminem & Elton John – ‘Stan’

Run DMC & Aerosmith – ‘Walk This Way’

Michael Jackson & Eddie Van Halen – ‘Beat It’

Kid Cui, MGMT, & Rattat – ‘Pursuit of Happiness’

Gorillaz & Del tha Funkee Homosapien

All of the above are exemplary examples of collaborations done right, and there are MANY more that I could have listed, but I decided to stick with examples that are well known.

Here are five collaborations that I would love to see:

Miley Cyrus & Arcade Fire

Sara Bareilles & Counting Crows

Childish Gambino & M.I.A. (this would be FIRE!)

A Day To Remember & Azealia Banks

Beck & Slipknot

All of those may seem to be outrageous to be paired together, but that is what I believe could make a collaboration stick out and be great. Pushing the limits of their own genre, while trying to keep a balance with the person/band they’re collaborating with could produce music that would end world hunger! Hyperbole, I know, yet I still would love to see all of that happen – world hunger ending, especially.

NME: 30 Heinous Crimes Against Music

NME asked its viewers (over Facebook and Twitter) what they (the viewers) believed to be the most heinous crime against music? It resulted in thirty hilarious quotes that are listed below. Here is the original article. The quotes posted are exact quotes, and there likely will be misspellings.

  • “Mike Flowers Pops covering Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ “
  • “Pitbull sampling A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ synth-riff on ‘Feel This Moment’. It’s simply painful.”
  • “Has to be Wyclef Jean’s cover of ‘Wish You Were Here’! Still makes me shudder!!!!”
  • “But The Scissor Sisters mutilation of ‘Comfortably Numb’ was worse.”
  • “What Does The Fox Say is more of a crime…” in reference to a Nickelback comment.
  • “Nickelback
”
  • “Music could and should be used more in education, and where’s the love for music teachers/lecturers at all levels?”
  • Any of the TV singing talent shows, they are all horrible and are responsible for promoting people with no talent and boring sanitized pop music.” YES I AGREE SO MUCH WITH THIS COMMENT.
  • “Cowell’s bastardisation of ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Many Of Horrors’ [as covered by Matt Cardle] must be pretty high up there.”
  • “Will.I.Am
”
  • “Anything that takes a hook from a song you love to make a cheesy dance track or generic r and b track”
  • “That fucking awful Bastille version of Rhythm Is A Dancer. Or just Bastille in general. Or Radio 1.” Yikes, I like Bastille!
  • “[Green Day] for their awful cover of The Clash.”
  • “Justin “Mfck” Bieber singing “Fade To Black” AND Metallica saying its OK”
  • “The fact that Miley Cyrus released a song called Wrecking Ball… it’s a crime against The Boss.”
  • The video for dancing in the streets with Bowie and Jagger dancing about like a couple of fannys was a crime”
  • Headlining for the number one spot this weekend is Lily Allen’s cover of the insipid Keane megahit. (Not a quote, but a statement from someone at NME?)
  • “[E]verything Coldplay made after ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ has been, let’s face it, a bit shit with the subtleties of ‘Parachutes’ traded in for flatulent stadium rock.”
  • Courtney Love for “taking the Nirvana name for everything it’s worth. Cheap move.”
  • “That whole Dubstep thing. What even is that?”
  • “Celine Dion might have a goddamn amazing set of pipes but she shouldn’t be let anywhere near AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.”
  • “Mickey Bubbles. He’s just got a punchable face, hasn’t he? Quite aside from the elevator jazz he peddles.”
  • “Queen, along with a couple of others. I just can’t see why people like them” Wow. What a blasphemer, but different strokes for different folks!
  • “Beady Eye covering Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ is up there in the most heinous crimes known to man. In fact it’s an unforgivable sin.”
  • “Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘what do you want for tea, I want crisps’ is an unsurpassed crime.”
  • “One Direction plagiarising The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go was unforgivable.”
  • The quality of the iPod’s ubiquitous white buds have long been questioned by music-lovers.
  • “How about Devlin and Ed Sheeran teaming up to desecrate both Bob Dylan’s and Jimi Hendrix’s versions of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ last year?”
  • “One of the worst musical transgressions of recent memory was the idea that Mick Jagger plus Joss Stone plus Dave Stewart of Eurythmics equals great supergroup.”
  • “Fall Out Boy’s horrible cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Whiney singing, lack of melody and the overall removal and meaning of what I think is one of the most moving and powerful sings ever written.”

Wow. So that’s a lot to handle in just a few minutes of reading. There’s a lot I agree with, and a lot I disagree with here in this list, but that’s what’s great about music lovers – not everyone loves the same things so we have more variety.

What do you think is a crime against music?

November 11th: Music News

Music news from several different media outlets from today.

Alternative Press: Get 24 issues (2 years) of AP for only 63cents an issue! Great gift for a music lover. Offer ends 11/17

Alternative Press: Obey The Brave release “Full Circle” music video

Buzzfeed: How Selling Out Saved Indie Rock

It always amazes me when Buzzfeed writes an insightful piece, even more so when that piece doesn’t involve a MEGA popular music figure.

Highlight Magazine: No updates, but their new issue is out November 21st

Kerrang!: Kerrang podcast featuring Pierce the Veil

Music Connection: “The providers of music no longer dic[t]ate how fans should consume music.”

Current cover of the magazine Music Connection. (Source)

Current cover of the magazine Music Connection. (Source)

NME: Check out the new video from Superfood

NME: Eminem’s childhood home burns down before MTV EMAs

Rolling Stone: Watch Miley Cyrus strip down in Future’s new video for “Real and True”

Just kidding. No need to showcase that drivel, and, yes, that is a real RS story.

Rolling Stone: The Drive-By Truckers have a new album on the way, one they recorded in just two weeks

Rolling Stone: Metronomy’s new album is called ‘Love Letters.’ Listen to the first track “I’m Aquarius”

SPIN Magazine: Hear dubstep godfather Joker go bass-glitch for his free-streaming ‘Head Top’ EP

SPIN Magazine: Gunman kills three, himself, in dispute among Brooklyn band Yellow Dogs

As always, if you have any pertinent music news, or want us to post more about a certain artist/band/genre/magazine, let us know in the comments section!

Here’s Kid Cudi’s ‘Pursuit of Happiness’:

I apologize for not being able to post most music videos for songs because most music videos are put up by VEVO, and VEVO code doesn’t work in WordPress for some reason.

October 30th: Music News

Here is your daily supplement of music news!

Alternative Press: A Lot Like Birds – No Place (Album Review)

Alternative Press: Justin Yost, formerly of Everyone Dies In Utah, releases solo song

Buzzfeed: Nothing.

Highlight Magazine: Skytown Riot Stream New Song

Kerrang!: Who’s heard the new track by one of the most unlikely musical pairings of the year?

Music Connection: “You want the music to not be musical wallpaper. You have an obligation to move things forward.”

NME: Arcade Fire dub themselves the ‘black sheep’ of the music industry

NME: 20 songs you really should hear this week, featuring Warpaint, Loom, Kurt Vile, Sky Ferreira and Mogwai

NME: Should big gig venues introduce free wi-fi?

My Answer: Yes, but it likely will cause fans to be on their devices more than enjoying the show.

Rolling Stone: Lou Reed record sales and airplay have spiked since his death

Rolling Stone: Chris Brown has checked in to rehab, just days after his latest run-in with the law

Though his actions have been deplorable, I hope he gets help.

SPIN Magazine: Hear Grizzly Bear’s ‘Shields’ B-side “Listen and Wait” simmer like an A-side

SPIN Magazine: See Best Coast host a skater-punk party in “I Don’t Know How” video

Here’s a picture of Miley Cyrus wearing a wig. She looks much better with long hair. Some women can pull off the short hair look, but alas Miley cannot. Crap, I posted about Miley Cyrus again.

As always, if you have any pertinent music news, or want us to post more about a certain artist/band/genre/magazine, let us know in the comments section!

Here’s some Phoenix to make your day better.

October 29th: Music News

Here is your daily pile of steaming music news!

Alternative Press: Rumored My Chemical Romance 2014 release is a “Greatest Hits” compilation, says Gerard Way

Alternative Press: Sleeping With Sirens debut “Congratulations” video featuring Matty Mullins

Buzzfeed: Nothing… Guess Beyoncé, Britney Spears, or Miley Cyrus didn’t do anything “interesting” today.

Highlight Magazine: The Mast Announces New Album

Kerrang!: Have you heard Green Day frontman Billie Joe’s new musical project yet? Listen here

Music Connection: Expert advice: Recording Tips For The Indie Artist

NME: We had some ear-splitting responses when we asked you about the loudest gigs you’ve seen. The best suggestions here.

NME: Lady Gaga’s ‘X Factor’ performance receives 260 complaints

NME: Jonas Brothers announce split

Rolling Stone: Stevie Wonder is gearing up to perform all of ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ live for the first time.

Rolling Stone: Thirty Seconds to Mars talk fame and LA with Kanye West and Lindsay Lohan in a new short film

SPIN Magazine: Dear world, please stop confusing Lou Bega with Lou Reed. It hurts our souls

Oh my word. This hurts my soul as well.

SPIN Magazine: With Halloween on the horizon, we gathered first-hand stories about monsters of rock: music’s scariest frontmen

As always, if you have any pertinent music news, or want us to post more about a certain artist/band/genre/magazine, let us know in the comments section!

Here’s some My Chemical Romance, since they have announced a ‘Greatest Hits’ album due out in January: