STREAM THE QUEEN’S NEW ALBUM ON ITUNES HERE NOW AND AMAZON: LISTEN TO SMS BANGERZ DUET WITH BRITNEY SPEARS ABOVE! UPDATE: USA TODAY TRASHES BANGERZ! It surely doesn’t matter to many of the gawkers who have followed former tween idol Miley Cyrus’ every calculatedly provocative move that her latest album, Bangerz (** out of four), now streaming at iTunes ahead of Oct. 8’s official release, is exactly what they should have expected:
A collection of competent, mostly generic tunes that juggle self-conscious sass with glimmers of earnestness. Teaming with assorted name collaborators she provides celebrity watchers plenty to sustain her ubiquity. SONGS ABOUT LIAM via E!: ‘My Darlin': ‘We were supposed to be together/ Take me as I am or not/ I can’t breathe without you as mine/ Oh darling stand by me.’
‘Drive': ‘What did you say forever for if forever’s out the door/ I’ll ignore when you call/ I was crazy thinking you were mine/ It was all just a lie.’ ‘FU': ‘It seemed like everything was going fine then I accidentally saw a few things in your cell/ I don’t really have much to say/I was over it the second that I saw her name/I got two letters for you/One of them is F and the other is U because what you gotta do is get yourself a clue.’
‘Maybe You’re Right': ‘You might think I’m crazy that I’m lost and foolish leaving you behind/ & Maybe you’re right/ It’s too late for us to try to be in love right now. ‘Someone Else': ‘He left with my heart they both walked through that door without me/ If you’re trying to find pretty well you need to look somewhere else /Because I surely can’t help you/ I’m hurting myself I’ve turned into someone else.’
REVIEW CONTINUED: Was the spacious but lush Adore You written for Liam Hemsworth before they broke up? Is the darker FU, featuring French Montana, one of several electro-savvy tracks that flirt with industrial textures, a shot at her former fiancé? Fans and haters, debate!
‘I’m a female rebel,’ Cyrus declares on the thumping 4×4 (featuring Nelly); she plays the good-girl-turned-wild-child on various other tracks, from the thumping Do My Thang to SMS (Bangerz), which finds her talking dirty with another former child star, Britney Spears.
But on the more reflective Someone Else, Cyrus sings, ‘I’m hurting myself/ I’ve turned into someone else.’ And on the spare, pulsing My Darlin’ (with Future), the 20-year-old who has spent her youth in the spotlight, enabled by her parents and an increasingly prurient media, sees ‘the shadow of a broken-hearted girl’ in a puddle. After all this time, crying in public may come naturally to Cyrus. But in its predictable mediocrity, Bangerz gives her, and her followers, nothing to feel bad about.