Review: Younger Now by Miley Cyrus

Younger Now by Miley CyrusI almost called it a trend, but it isn’t really; rather, it’s more like a parallel, down to the Dolly Parton collaboration. But Kesha and Miley Cyrus have different situations. that necesitated reinvention. The former went off a very tangled legal battle when she released Rainbow, rediscovering her roots. The latter… well, it’s unclear why she needed to shift back to her country roots now, not after actually striking gold with her debauched, ultra-sexualized Bangerz phase, but now she’s saying she’s uncomfortable with it, so there’s that. Younger Now is a title that suggests a return to innocence, but it also lays out an unsure future for Miley. What exactly does she want to do? There’s a tinge of exploration in the record, with decidedly uninspiring results. Me, I don’t mind whether she goes ultra glossy, or extra trippy, or downright homey – I’m drawn to Miley because of the conviction she has whatever message she has to deliver. In Younger Now it’s all glossed out, drowning in hokey production and that feeling she has to assert that she’s a nice girl now. “Miss You So Much” and “I Would Die For You” are exceptions – sparse by comparison, it allows Miley’s voice (which she always had – why was “The Climb” such a hit?) to shine. The rest, it’s inoffensive, yes, but forgettable, even pointless. [NB] | 2/5

Review: Bangerz by Miley Cyrus

Bangerz by Miley CyrusWell, something’s working: I wouldn’t usually review an outright pop album, but here we are, and here you go. Say what you want about how Miley Cyrus is testing the (blurred) lines of decency, but Bangerz – her “debut” record, as it’s her outright shedding the constraints of Hannah Montana – is a decent one. Some want to think it’s a trainwreck, but it isn’t. While it isn’t consistent, there are some things that make you go, “well this isn’t so bad after all”: the chorus to “We Can’t Stop”, the surprisingly powerful start to “FU”, the unforced feel of “#GETITRIGHT”. Well, that’s my highlight, precisely because it feels unforced; not glossy the way Miley likes it, but not tedious. The rest of the record is just okay, but it will wear you down, at least until you’re convinced that Miley is grown up. Which is probably the point. And what we should expect, considering how everybody’s not talking about the songs, like with similarly controversial Lady Gaga. [NB] | 3/5

“It’s been seven hours and fifteen days…”

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor | Since I started this blog I’ve been waiting for forever to have a chance to write about this song. (Actually, the initial plan was to write about the Prince original, and then this one, and then another cover, maybe this one from, umm, Capital Cities.) But thank you, Miley Cyrus, because now you’re unwittingly in a feud-ish with Sinéad O’Connor, who penned an open letter addressing your tendency to stick your tongue out but not your tits, to which you responded by being such a Bieber-level douchebag, to which she responded with a few more expletives, and a defense of Amanda Bynes. My goodness. I shouldn’t stoop this low. And I should write about another Sinead O’Connor song. But you love this song, girl, and now… umm… no, not your tits, I don’t want your tits, no. Also, Miley, you deserve a few more expletives for implying that being different should be shunned. Fuck. You. [NB]

Pop goes the early noughties, part one: The first singing Disney star

“So Yesterday” by Hilary Duff | I mentioned this song last week, proceeded to watch the music video again, and had a flashback to the time when I was a 14-year-old with raging hormones. Or maybe it;s the tank top Hilary’s wearing here. Yeah, definitely that. Back in the early 00s, when pop radio played a varied bunch (and was thus listenable), the idea of Disney stars making a jump to singing wasn’t that prevalent. To me, at least, Hilary started it all, with the release of 2003’s Metamorphosis, and this song, a pleasant pop ditty that doesn’t really push the envelope – because, really, it’s pleasant, and what else do you have to do? Hilary isn’t the best singer, so might as well bank on her image, right? That didn’t quite work for everybody else. Lindsay Lohan followed her footsteps (and led to one of my favorite songs, “Over”) but pursued a slightly grittier route (“Rumors”, anyone?) and then went on a downward spiral. Miley Cyrus, mindful of the Disney tag holding her back, went the same route, resulting in this earworm and this other thing. And then there’s Selena Gomez, who’s going the Hilary Duff route (only rockier?) but is having a bit of a difficulty because, well, everybody fapping to her hates Justin Bieber. As for Hilary, well, she’s happily married. (Tomorrow: I remember a time when hip-hop sounded more tolerable. Or maybe it’s just me.)