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.

It’d be great if you followed the blog on Twitter and Facebook, and if you became a follower on WordPress. It’d be wonderful if you told your friends about us too!

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!

Musician Of The Week: Sara Bareilles

This is my third installment of the singular ‘Musician Of The Week.’  My first ‘Musician Of The Week’ was the Kiwi Kimbra, and the second was country singer Jake Owen.

Sara Bareilles released her song ‘Brave’ over four months ago, but it is still one of the best songs of the summer, even if it has too much of a poppy vibe to it.  Nonetheless, Bareilles flexed her musically talented muscles once again, and has succeeded once again, just like she did when she started to gain mainstream attention in 2007 for ‘Love Song.’  She is one of the few pop singers that actually writes her own music, and plays her own music.  I find that to be tremendous today for any musician, considering most pop singers are given a slew of writers and producers around them to create ‘original’ music.

Sarab

Sara Bareilles at an MTV in 2008 (source).

Along with writing her own music, Bareilles plays the piano, the harmonium, the guitar, and the ukulele – she sings as well.  She is incredibly talented, and does her job just as well as the next pop musician – I’m truly unsure of any other ‘pop musician’ that puts this much into their music nowadays.

 

Here is one of my favorite songs by Bareilles, ‘King Of Anything.’

 

What’s your favorite Sara Bareilles song?

Do you believe she is worthy of ‘Musician Of The Week’ or do you believe someone else should get recognition?

Let me know in the comments!